Reflection of Short Story Mercy

Topics: Horse, Narrator, Joyce Carol Oates Pages: 3 (1152 words) Published: November 5, 2012
Hunter Hendricks

Mercy Essay

Professor Malloy

17 October 2012


In Pinckney Benedict’s 2008 short story “Mercy,” the narrator and his father both take pride in their family’s ranch. The narrator works hard for his father each day, taking breaks only to sneak treats to the miniature horses being kept on the neighbor’s ranch nearby. The narrator’s father; however, does not show the same compassion for the animals as his son. He is adamant about keeping the horses off of his land and warns his son that he will shoot to first to intrude. The narrator views his father in a very austere manner. When we are first introduced to the narrator’s father we find that he has a no-nonsense view of life. He does not like foolishness and likes to get right down to the point. Often the narrator is even afraid to offer his point of view in certain instances because he does not want to offend his father nor for him to think of him as childish. For instance, when the horses arrive the narrator’s father repeatedly calls them ponies, “Ponies, he kept saying, ponies ponies ponies, like if he said it enough times, he might be able to make them go away” (119). The narrator responds in a quiet tone “miniature horses, I told him. Not ponies. I kept my voice low, not sure I wanted him to hear me” (119). The narrator does voice his opinion to his because he is afraid to have an opposing view and is scared how he will react. Although the father comes off as very harsh in this example, there are times when he seems light-hearted. Throughout this short story, the father shows countenance, compassion and forgiveness towards his son. First, the narrator’s father shows approval of his son. For example, when the father and son are out by the horses one day, the father notices that the fence is in poor shape and gives his son the job of keeping it upright. A job he knows that his son will enjoy, but will also keep him working. He warns at the end, “Remember, my...

Cited: Benedict, Pinckney. “Mercy” The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction. Joyce Carol Oates and Christopher R. Beha. New York, New York: Harper Collins, 2008. Print. 119-131.
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