Essay on the short story ” Crossing”
The short story ”Crossing” from 2009 written by Mark Slouka canters around a ritual trip where a father, suffering a life crisis, wants to show his son how to beat the difficult opponent that Nature is and there by strengthen the relationship between them and once again find meaning with his own life.
We see a father trough a third limited narrator who is on a difficult path to see things right in his now current life, after a divorce from his wife.
This has led him in-between things in his life, and he does not know where to turn or to go. Now he’s trying to find something in his life there matters, and trying to get a relationship to his son.
“When he looked at her she shook her head and looked away and at that moment he thought, maybe—maybe he could make this right” ( l. 19-20 ) The Father believes that shearing some of his own memories will bring them closer together.
The narrator knows what the fathers thoughts is, what he is feeling, and that is perspective we get on the things. The reader gets all access in the main characters emotional life, and thoughts. “Where had it come from – this slide into weakness, this vision of death…” (l.68-69) “You never see it, he thought.” (l.117)
In the novel the time jumps back and forth between past and present. The trip to the river is present and the past is where he picked up the son from his mother. The reader has to be concentrated with the leaping style in the novel, so the reader knows what time we are in. “He’d been at the house by dawn, as he’d promised.” (l.13)
“He could see him, standing in the river hacking his lungs out, laying out an eighty-foot line.” (l.25)
There is used excessive force on the tension if we see it purely tell
technical. The reader gets the feeling that something bad will happen form the start of the novel to the end. “ It was raining… “ (l 1. )
“ A black road…” (l 3-4)
“The line of the open sky in the east was razor sharp.” (l. 6) This tension – building is often achieved because of the setting or the mood.
The river is located around and in the novel so the river is on of the central things in the setting. The river is bigger and stronger than the main character remembered. ”The river was bigger than he remembered it, stronger.” (l. 34-35)
“He had thought the river sounded louder even before they came out of the trees, and it did.” (ll.97-98)
The river also contains ominous signs, and it helps to build more excitement. When the boy and the father stands in front of the river they see a branch there is stocked in a vortex, but it looks like something dead, something that has been shot. “”Downstream, a branch caught in a deadfall reared up like something shot, then tore loose.” (l.38-39). The river looks bigger than the boy.
The father tries not to look at they boy, because he thinks he looks very small compared to the river. At this point the reader is hardly in doubt what there is going to happen with the to characters. “He tried not to look at the boy sitting where he’d left him on the opposite shore because there was something about the smallness of him in his blue shorts against the bank of stones he didn’t like…” (l.110- 111)
The question readers make themselves when we look at the ending is: doing they above the river? It is an open ending, so it’s up to the reader to interpret if they going to make it or not. The narrator leaving them in the river between safety and danger. But with the father’s description of the situation in the river suggesting that they do not make it.
”He wanted to scream for help. There was no one – just the rushing plain of the river, the trees…Everything had come together. He couldn’t move. He was barely holding on. There was no way.” (l.145- 148 )
The novel ends with the father remember the story about the medieval priest who kissed those sentenced to death and then set fire to them. Like the priest himself performs the operation could this story illustrate that the father is considering doing the same. Calm and comfort the boy and then take him to the death.
“And at that moment he remembered hearing about a medieval priest who, personally taking the torch from the executioner, went down the line of victims tied to their stakes and kissed each one tenderly on the cheek before lighting the tinder.” (l.151-154)
The kiss could also be seen as forgiveness like the father wants. The priest being forgiven when the priest kisses the men, for the things he would do to the men. The father is ashamed of what he did, so he wants forgiveness for this act. ”For a second, he felt the hot, shameful fire of remorse and then un- ending pity – for himself, for the boy on his back, for the world – and at that moment he remembered hearing about a medieval priest…” (l.150-152)
The title is not “The crossing” or “Crossing over the river” it is extended time “Crossing” in the process of crossing the river. A non – closed action.
This interpretation shows precisely that the end is unfinished; they are stocked in the middle of a current. The title can also interpreted as a transition from the living to the death. “Crossing over” also means to go over to the death. This interpreted is also related to the father’s earlier thoughts about it to die, and to see the light. The father and the boy die if this interpretation is used.
If we look over the whole novel can it be interpreted as a modern man and his
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