The Stone Boy: Short Story Summary, Analysis and Review

The Stone boy is a short story by Gina Berriault. It was first published in 1957 in Mademoiselle magazine. The story revolves around a nine-year-old boy who accidentally shoots his older brother, but is freakishly calm about it later on.

The short story catapulted its author, Gina Berriault, to international fame when the story was made into a movie in 1984. Before this short story became so popular, her first collection of short stories – The Mistress, and Other Stories – had helped a great deal to establish Gina as a consummate writer.

The Stone Boy: Summary and Plot Analysis

The story is about a nine-year-old boy, Arnold, who lives with her mom, dad, sister and an elder brother, Eugie. Although not very expressive, he admires his elder brother, Eugie in his heart and hopes to grow up to be like him.

One morning he wakes up early to pick peas in the fields with his brother Eugie. He wakes him up and goes downstairs. He then picks up the rifle his dad gave them a few days ago to shoot ducks.

Eugie comes downstairs too, reminds Arnold that it isn’t duck season and the two boys leave the house for an early morning trip to the fields to pick peas.

They come to the wire fence that divides the fields from the lake. Eugie passes through the fence first. Arnold follows suit, but his gun is stuck in the wires. In an attempt to untangle it, he jerks at it and accidentally fires a shot.

Feeling foolish for making this mistake and bracing himself for the impending
teasing from his brother, he reluctantly walks on but notices that his brother is lying on the ground. Unable to understand this behavior, he looks more carefully and sees blood on the back of his head.

He realizes that the shot that he accidentally fired ended up killing Eugie.

poster of 1984 movie the stone boy
Poster of the 1984 movie The Stone Boy, which is based on the short story.

Instead of running to his family, informing them about the accident and seeking their help, he stays on in the field to pick peas as if nothing had happened.

To him, it was reasonable to complete the task that he came to do in the first place. Leaving the task incomplete for something that was beyond his control doesn’t appeal to his reasoning, logical mind.

He stays on, finishes the task and goes back home. He dreads breaking the news to his family but does so with amazing calm.

Quite unsurprisingly, his family is devastated.

While his mother finds it hard to come to terms with his elder son’s death and Arnold`s pathological calm, her sister completely ignores his presence. His father, in addition to arranging for his son’s funeral, has to take Arnold to the County Sheriff.

Upon being asked to narrate the incidents from the morning that day, Arnold explains everything to his father and uncle Andy. However, he is at a loss of words when asked why he didn’t run back home to announce the news.

His father is puzzled by his cold demeanor, and Arnold starts to feel even more distant and aloof. The spell of silence finally breaks when the Sheriff arrives. He asks Arnold a series of questions including why he had the gun in the first place and if he had a good relationship with his elder brother.

Although his answers seem extremely cold which is disconcerting, he concludes that there is no foul play and the shooting was indeed an accident. He lets Arnold and the family go. However, he does mention that the extreme reason that Arnold exhibited are markings of a young criminal mind.

Uncle Andy agrees with Sheriff’s explanation and goes till the extent of mocking his reasonableness. His cousin taunts him as well saying that his father might have punished him severely if he did the same thing to his brother.

He keeps growing uneasy and even more distant, the weight of judgement from everyone around weighing heavily on him. At night, he eventually goes to his mom’s room to explain to her in person about the events that transpired earlier that day, but his mother, who is still grieving, turns him away.

He feels more and more like a burden on his family, an unwelcome presence and with his brother gone and everyone else around him grieving, he shuts himself off completely, vowing never to be vulnerable again.

The following morning, when his mother asks what he wanted from her, he says “nothing” with a freakish calm, leaving his mother terrified.

The Stone Boy: Analysis and Review

Gina has managed to pack so much power in this short story – it’s unbelievable! She makes you root for the boy, but not without questioning his judgement (or worse without judging him once). The fact that his reason is mistaken as being completely unfeeling is so inexplicably daunting.

There are certain incidents from the story that are so beautifully human yet painful, such as:

1 – “What did he mean “good friends”?

Arnold was clueless when the sheriff asked if he was ‘good friends’ with his elder brother, whom he had accidentally killed earlier that day.

It’s heart wrenching to see how this young boy who had so much love and admiration for his brother, unable to express himself in a socially acceptable form – is perceived to be a criminal in making and stone-cold, a stone rather.

2 – Arnold never tired of watching Eugie offer silent praise unto himself

Arnold loved watching his brother look into the mirror, inspecting himself and feeling proud. He secretly wondered if he could ever be able to fill his shoes. If his parents never called him, he thought, he would stay up in the loft forever, out of the way.

When Arnold broke the news to his parents, who disbelievingly went out of the house to see for themselves, Arnold sneaked out to the barn. He was ready for the punishment in case his parents never call him.

He would be prepared to forever live in the same space and stay out of their way. In that very instant, Eugie playful young brother had transformed into someone wholly guilt-ridden and prepared to face the consequences of his actions.

Gina Berriault once said – Short stories and some short novels are close to poetry–with
the fewest words they capture the essence of a situation, of a human being. It’s like trying to pin down the eternal moment.

She has done just that with Stone Boy.

Movie based on ‘The Stone Boy’

If you are one of those readers that love watching movie adaptations of your favorite reads, you are in for a treat. The movie, The Stone Boy, was released back in 1984 and had Robert Duvall as one of the lead actors.

This movie was one of the reasons why her short story catapulted to instant fame.

The Judgement by Franz Kafka: Summary, Analysis and Review

The Judgement is a short story written by Franz Kafka. It was first published in 1912. The story revolves around a young merchant and his relationship with his father. Franz Kafka was running a business while writing this story, which limited his literary creativity. This conflict inspired the protagonist of ‘The Judgement.’

“So now you know what else existed in the world outside of you before you knew only about yourself!”

The Judgement by Franz Kafka is one of his most prominent works, also perceived as the closest to his autobiographical memoir – the relationship between a father and son – one that resembles closely to his own.

The story was first published way back in 1912 as Das Urteil, in Arkadia (a literary yearbook) owned by his friend and close confidante Max Brod.

The Judgement: Summary and Plot Analysis

The protagonist of this story is a young merchant, a man called Georg Bendemann. It opens with him writing a letter to an unnamed friend, who left for Russia a few years ago to start a business – one that showed a lot of promise initially but is now in a fragile state.

On the contrary, Georg has been having tremendous success in managing his own business. Although, until now, he has only been giving his friend little pieces of information – and that not that frequently either, he decides to let his friend know about his upcoming marriage to Freida Brandenfield, a girl from an affluent family.

Georg decides to check on his father and let him know of his intention and seek his approval to break this news to his friend.

Although, quite ill and heartbroken after his wife’s death – his father appears huge to him.

His father questions the existence of his friend and blames Georg for keeping him in the dark in his business dealings. He also attacks him personally saying that the death of his mother didn’t impact Georg as much as him.

Although hurt by his father’s accusations, he insists that he lay on bed, rest for a while and get his strength back. But the father claims that he’s asking him to lay on the bed because he wants him dead.

In a fit of rage, he also admits to knowing all about his friend and that he has been informing his friend about everything that has been happening in Georg’s life. He ridicules Georg about his fiance, mocks her and implies that he doesn’t value anyone but himself. He completely disregards Georg’s love and care.

Georg, deeply hurt by his father statements, recoils.

His father anger still rages on. He calls him selfish and sentences him to death by drowning. Georg feels a strange but powerful force that pushes him out of the room. He then runs out of the house and onto a bridge. Then he swings himself off the railings and jumps to his apparent death, wherein the sound of the jump is muffled by sounds of traffic.

The Judgement: Analysis and Review

This story from Kafka stands out for the parallels drawn to his real life. There are a few examples of that:

1 – Kafka’s relationship with his father

Kafka’s father, Hermann, had a very forceful personality that had a deep impact on him. I couldn’t help but notice how frequently Kafka’s protagonists are shown to cower in their father’s presence, which closely resembles to a fearful reverie.

When Georg goes to meet his father (whose health is failing), he still appears huge to him. All the care and devotion towards his father is met with scathing contempt.

a portrait for author franz kafka
A portrait for Franz Kafka – the author of ‘The Judgement’

2 – Kafka’s relationship with Felice Bauer (his fiance)

Similar to how Georg’s upcoming marriage is a significant plot point in the story introducing tumult, so does Kafka’s relationship to his real-life girlfriend and later,  fiance, Felice Bauer. In the story, Freida is the indirect cause of Georg’s death. In real life, Kafka both dreaded and loved Felice for the impact that she had on his art.

3 – Kafka’s seclusion and Georg’s bachelorhood

Georg has been shown to love his fiance, but at the same time has also been shown indifferent in some aspects – even going to the extent of considering it as a mistake or liability at some point.

Exhausted by Georg’s comments when Freida suggests that he should not have been engaged at all, Georg replied by saying -“Well, we are both to blame for that.” Same has been known to be true for Kafka’s relationship with Felice as well.

Kafka’s curse of writing in seclusion is coupled with the idea that an association with her is only going to drive him further away from his path of writing – that he considered life’s only reward.

4 – Similarity in professions

When Kafka was running his business, he was continually pressed for time to satiate his creativity cravings, hardly getting any time to write. This was an inspiration behind the protagonist character.

The poet W. H. Auden once called Franz Kafka “the Dante of the twentieth century”.

I couldn’t agree more.

 

The Bear Came Over The Mountain: Summary and Review

The Bear Came Over The Mountain is a short story by Canadian author and nobel laureate Alice Munro. It revolves around Grant and Fiona, an elderly couple who have been married for several decades and their struggle with Alzheimer’s and infidelity.

“I don’t think there is anything to worry about. I expect I am just losing my mind”- Fiona, an Alzheimer’s patient says to her husband in this poignant short story by Alice Munro.

The story was originally published in The New Yorker in their 1999 edition. In 2006, the story was adapted into a film Away From Her directed by Sarah Polley.

The Bear Came Over The Mountain: Summary and Plot Analysis

The story revolves around Grant and Fiona, an elderly couple who have been married for several decades. Grant is a retired University professor who is taking Fiona to a residential facility for patients with dementia, despite resistance from her.

He recalls how their journey together started one day, when she had whimsically proposed marriage to him wondering if it would be fun. The residential facility where Fiona is scheduled to be staying, has a policy of patients to have no visitors
for a month.

Grant, although troubled by this, goes through this period with help from Kristy, a nurse who keeps Grant posted with Fiona’s status – health and otherwise. Grant skis and dines alone in the meantime, constantly remembering these occasions from the past with Fiona in them.

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage book cover
The Bear Came Over The Mountain is a short story within a book of short stories by Alice Munro. The book’s title is ‘Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage’

Grant has a lot of time to ruminate about his past during the day to the extent that he dreams about them as well.

One of those incidents was when his decision to end a relationship with one of his students had driven her to commit suicide. This eventually ended up having him socially ostracized at the university.

He eventually escaped the environment by promising his wife to retire early and start a new chapter in their lives by moving to a Farmhouse Fiona inherited from her father. This, he thought, was a chance life had given him to work on his marriage, and he felt grateful for this perfectly-timed opportunity of avoiding losing Fiona.

With his one month wait period nearly coming to an end, he prepares to meet her at the facility. On the day of the meeting, feeling the anticipation as that of a fresh affair, he buys a bouquet of flowers for her.

He meets Kristy, who directs him to Fiona’s room. Unable to find her there, he moves to the communal area, only to see a different Fiona, with her short hair and a few extra pounds. He sees Fiona playing bridge with a man called Aubrey. Although she is friendly to Grant and answers his questions, she is eager to return to Aubrey’s side.

Grant comes to know that Aubrey is a temporary resident at the facility and will be leaving upon his wife’s return from vacation. Grant tries to gather more information from Kristy about his wife’s new relationship but is quickly told that it is a common occurrence among patients.

His wife’s behavior towards him continues to be the same – polite yet distant while her intimacy with Aubrey continues to grow.

Although he is happy to see his healthy wife, her close association with Aubrey – walks in the hall and co-dependence continues to bother him. He drifts back to incidents from his past, where he was not true to the marriage, having initiated an affair with a married woman.

He thinks of himself a philanderer, although not liking to label himself that way.

Grant returns to the facility to see his wife again, only to find both her and her companion distraught at the thought of separation. Aubrey’s wife, having returned from her vacation, has arrived to take Aubrey back home.

Scared that this separation might adversely affect Fiona, he seeks Kristy’s counsel and feels relieved when told that patients usually recoup once the separation is over.

Unfortunately that does not seem to be happening to Fiona, who continues to be distraught long after, has given up eating and refuses to leave her bed.

The hospital staff, seeing her complete lack of willingness in participating in the recovery program are thinking and propose to move her to the intensive care section of the facility. Completely disheartened to see his wife in the sorry state, Grant decides to discuss the situation with Aubrey’s wife Marion to work out an arrangement with her.

Grant visits Marion at her place. The two discuss about their experiences managing illnesses of their respective partners. Grant comes to know that Aubrey has been pulled out of the facility by Marion for financial reasons and Marion has no plans to bring him back. Grant requests Marion to bring Aubrey to the facility once a week. He thinks this will help heal his wife and aid faster recovery.

Marion rejects Grant’s request. But when he returns to his house, he finds two voicemails from her proposing the idea of going to a singles dance. Puzzled by this, Grant wonders what could have changed that led to Marion reaching out to him.

He thinks it to be a great opportunity, thinking that spending more time with Marion could lead to a change of heart for her and she might ultimately accept Grant’s request for Fiona.

Grant decides to call her back. He eventually visits Fiona again, this time with Aubrey. Fiona recognizes Grant this time and not Aubrey.

She thanks Grant for not deserting him as they embrace.

The Bear Came Over The Mountain: Review and Theme

Like any other Munro story, this story will leave you thinking and smiling, leaving you with a lesson or two. There are quite a few things in the story that got me thinking.

1 – The title of the story

Why is the story titled “The bear came over the mountain?”

When I read the title of the story for the first time, I imagined it to have something to do with children. After all, what does a childrens’ rhyme have anything to do with dementia and that too in much older adults?

Turns out, everything!

There is not much left once you are atop the mountain except to come down from it, symbolizing the descent downhill. In many ways that signifies the journey of an
elderly alzheimer’s patient.

So much depth and meaning hidden in a child’s rhyme. Thank you Alice for bringing it alive, in a way only you can!

2 – (A)typical love

Although it has been shown that Fiona and Grant love each other, their relationship does not fit the conventional mould by any measure. Difference in their financial status, Grant’s infidelity, Fiona’s blatant and somewhat inhuman disregard for a student’s suicidal attempt – all screaming that it is a perfectly imperfect relationship.

This does not, however, stop Grant from doing whatever he possibly can – going to
the extent of potentially starting an affair with Aubrey’s wife, to bring Aubrey to Fiona, even when he knew it meant that it might drive Fiona further away from him.

Flawed yet sweet, I was at loss to decide if I would ever want a Grant in my life.

Courtesy New Yorker, the story is available to read online for free.

To those of you that love comparing books/stories with their movies, I bring good news! This story has also been adapted into a film by Sarah Polley, back in 2006.

About the author – Alice Munro

Alice Munro (b. 1931) is a Canadian writer who has numerous literary awards to her credit including but not limited to Nobel Prize in Literature (2013) as well as Man Booker Prize (2009). She is mostly known for her collection of short stories. Almost all of her stories are set in Canada, mostly small towns. The stories navigate lives of ordinary people in the most extra-ordinary ways.

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Story, Summary, Review

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage is a short story written by Alice Munro. This story was published in a book of the same name which contained a few other short stories by Munro. This story revolves around the life of Johanna, a plain-looking, poor but a dedicated unmarried woman. She works for Mr McCauley, a reticent old man known in the community.

“Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” – this remarkable piece from Canadian Nobel Prize Laureate Alice Munro is a short story that lets you peek into the lives of her characters –almost all of them humane, flawed and endearing.

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Summary and Plot Analysis

Mr McCauley has a granddaughter Sabitha who has now moved to a big city, taken in by her aunt Roxanne. Sabitha’s mother Marcelle has deceased a long time ago and her father Ken Boudreau, having changed jobs multiple times, is on the verge of bankruptcy and currently lives in Saskatchewan. Johanna is the housekeeper and takes care of Sabitha.

Sabitha’s closest friend is Edith, who is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs.Schulz, owner of a shoe shop in the city and friends of Mr McCauley.

The story starts with Johanna arriving at the train station to enquire about shipping furniture from Ontario to an address in Saskatchewan, she also enquires about the journey there and finalizes her tickets. Her exchanges with the station master are curt, and he considers the journey as well as the shipment pretty uncharacteristic.

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage book cover
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage book cover

She then goes on to shop for a fancy dress, which she considers rather expensive, and later tells the store person about it being her possible wedding dress. She rushes back home, leaves a letter for Mr.McCauley and leaves the house for her trip to Gdynia in Saskatchewan.

Johanna likes Sabitha but doesn’t like her friend Edith much, because Edith seems too clever for her taste. She gets to meet Ken Boudreau, McCauley’s son in law when he comes down to meet his daughter.

Ken frequently reaches out to Mr.McCauley for financial assistance. The most recent instance was when he asked Mr. McCauley to sell his own furniture and lend him some money. Mr.Mccauley, irked by this, disregarded the request altogether.

Sabitha and Edith, close friends in their early teens – in one of their characteristic naïve conversations, come up with an idea of forging love letters from Ken Boudreau to Johanna.

Having been shown interest from a man, which she seldom gets, Johanna starts to respond to the forged letters, and the girls keep forging letters from Ken. With each progressive exchange between Johanna and the girls posing as Ken, the messages become more and more personal and intimate.

Johanna ultimately decides to help Ken by shipping the furniture and running away to be with him but didn’t write a letter to Ken to inform him of this.

Johanna finally makes her way to Ken, who lives in what seems to be a dilapidated construction in the middle of nowhere.

Ken, down with a terrible cough aggravated by his intense smoking habits, is unable
to notice or question her unannounced arrival.

Johanna takes charge of the situation – she sets up the place and devotedly nurses Ken back to health. As he gets better, he thinks of having a conversation with her about her sudden and unexpected appearance in his life, but looking at the money that she has brought with her – decides against it.

Impressed by Johanna’s resolve, substantial savings and meticulous approach – all of which he lacks – Ken surrenders to her will.

Several years later Edith comes to know that Ken and Johanna are married and have a kid.

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Review

This is a fantastic short story for several reasons:

1 – ‘Human’ characters

The characters in her story are so amazingly ‘human’; all flawed yet intriguing. Who would not respect a person in control of their life, a person that makes things happen – our Johanna did a great job at that.

Sabitha – just another directionless adolescent, not very clear about what she wants but doesn’t much care for it either.

Ken – a person who cannot flourish without someone guiding and assisting them throughout, sometimes even to the extent of being a parasite.

2 – Plain adults and cunning children

I absolutely loved how the adults and children were portrayed in the story – Johanna, dedicated and meticulous and having lived a hard life, immediately succumbs to the feeling of love, easily trapped by a child’s prank. So much so that she completely went on a different path in her life- something she would never have imagined.

Even while I was reading the story, I was heartbroken in the anticipation that Ken
will break her heart. Lo and Behold! They actually marry and are a happy couple. The power that Munro gave to the child’s prank is humbling.

3 – Ego

McCauley’s transformation after the ‘smell of betrayal’ is so real. Shown initially as a very reticent guy, mostly apathetic to the things happening around him, he completely transforms into a bantering old man; people couldn’t recognize this man (“something’ has gotten into him”).

And all because a housekeeper left, the one that he could not recall the age or build of. I am amazed at the power ego exercises and Munro has done justice to this monster in her work here.

4 – Superbly titled story

When I first picked up the story I read the title of the story multiple times to understand what it might mean. In addition, to be a mouthful to speak, it had a certain childish ring to it- an endearing one at that.

Only when I read the story did I realize that growing up we played a variation of that too! I quickly drifted to my childhood days where games like that made dollops of sense. I believe any writer who can have you traverse through your own life reading their words- is a force to reckon.

While accepting her Nobel Prize, Alice Munro remarked, “I want my stories to move people”… and move she does, with this gem of a story!

If You’re Not Yet Like Me: Summary, Plot Analysis and Review

If You’re Not Yet Like Me is a short story written by Edan Lepucki. It is a story of a single woman – Joellyn – who lives alone in an apartment in New York. Joellyn happens to be narrating the stories of her (failed) romance with an unemployed, terribly-dressed man named Zachary to her unborn child.

If You’re Not Yet Like Me: Summary and Plot Analysis

Joellyn is a very relatable vision of a woman in her mid 20s to early 30s – a woman that is insecure yet boisterous, independent with a burning desire of companionship, compassionate yet indifferent, funny yet grappling with solitude. A woman that seems smart at some occasions and lost in others.

Joellyn is an independent, confident woman living in the big city when one day she comes across an unremarkable gentleman Zachary at a crowded coffee house – one of those days where people order complicated coffee and the barista is cornered with a backlog.

She strikes a conversation with Zachary, who was right behind him in the queue. Although Joellyn finds nothing remarkable about Zachary, she ends up setting a date with him later that night against her better judgement.

She keeps her end of the bargain and shows up for the date only to re-affirm that Zachary is still as invisible a guy, as the one she met earlier that day. She carefully observes the events of their date, Zachary ordering beer and a salad with onions – making her think if he already found her as repulsive as she did.

When he offers to buy another drink , she does not decline and ends up making another impulsive decision to invite him over to her place, despite the precautionary measures she takes earlier in the day to avoid this scenario.

They end up having a good time together; although Joellyn’s impression of Zachary does not change much, she begins to soften for him over the time they spent together.

Over beachwalks, pinatas, Imagine- land and pinatas , she starts to bond with Zachary, starts feeling warm and cozy in his presence and begins imagining his husband like behavior towards her, only to have the relationship end one day over Zachary not seeing how this could work out for them.

Instead of trying to salvage the relationship, Joellyn ends up putting the blame of the failure of their relationship on his ‘invisibility’, driving a final nail in the coffin. Although she is heartbroken, instead of composing herself and starting afresh, she ends up making a mistake with an ex and ending up pregnant with his child.

If You’re Not Yet Like Me: Review

The story is told by Joellyn to her unborn child perhaps as a lesson for her not to make the same mistakes as her mother did.

Although the story and the characters seem a little less developed to begin with, Lepucki does a good job to make up on the relatability front. The characters are quite relatable and so are the struggles of an adult still trying to find her bearings. The humor in the story did muffle the blow of the tale of a failed romance.

If You’re Not Yet Like Me: Quotes

There are some quotes from the story that made me laugh to myself, because I did find them relatable-

“The coffee table covered with Venn diagram stains of cup’s past”

This would probably apply to any anti-coaster adult that has lived alone at some point either in hostels, dorms, or hotel rooms. It brought back a flurry of memories from my college days where we had a variety of geometrical shapes adorning my study table, coffee table, bedside table – you name it.

I remember quoting University of Minnesota research to my friends about how people with cluttered desks are geniuses actually, and as such, they should be left alone devising their genius plans to make the world a better place (atleast for them!)

“The ending changes everything that came before it”

This is what Joellyn tells her unborn child when revealing who her father is. She blatantly announces that she did not shed her superficiality after the heart break.

Although it did seem to her at one point that her story could have been one of the Happy Ever Afters, but it never became that. The sad end to their short lived romance is all that stuck in her mind, the beautiful journey before that faded away into oblivion.

I guess whether you will like the book depends on what you care for more – the destination or the journey.

I Am The Lion Now: Short Story, Summary, Plot Analysis and Review

I Am The Lion Now is a short story by Edan Lepucki. It revolves around a pregnant woman that lives in LA with her husband. The couple lead an ordinary life until a possum shows up at their door. 

No, I am not talking about the famous incident at the Bronx zoo where a woman jumped into a lion’s enclosure and seemed to taunt him.

I am going to talk about Edan Lepucki’s short story – ‘I am the lion now’.

I Am The Lion Now: Summary and Plot Analysis

The story revolves around a pregnant woman named Margaret who lives in an apartment in LA with her husband Toby.

They seem like a pretty average LA couple differing in one aspect of sexual activity. Margaret maintains a journal of their date of their ‘deeds’ thinking to herself that someday a biographer would find that significant piece of information worth recording while her husband bakes a second cake for her after burning the first one, to satiate her pregnancy craving.

While Margaret is left to her own thoughts whiling away her time in her bath tub, her husband finds a possum (which he mistook for a rat initially) and in the ensuing chaos, a book burns in the bathroom while a possum runs all across the kitchen with an almost chubby man on its tail.

Toby comes to like the little possum and even convinces his ‘cold’ wife to provide food and shelter even for one night. The baby possum is later located by its family but having seen it touched/tampered by the humans is left alone.

A few weeks after the episode, Toby sees the possum, who is a teenager now, only to have it hiss at him.

He is the lion now.

I Am The Lion Now Review

The story is pretty ordinary story until you take into the account how it has been said. This story is written by Lepucki in a very interesting omniscient third person point of view. The style that has been seen on and off in English literature for a long time.

She has presented the point of view of the animate and inanimate objects alike. It is like a breath of fresh air. Consider the following quotes from the story –

“The Possum glares and hisses, ‘I am the lion now'”

There is a reference in the story where Margaret recalls a novel that she recently read about a bunch of zealots in an Afghani zoo where one of them cut a bear’s nose because its beard was too short, while another jumped into a lion’s enclosure and announces himself as a lion, and eventually gets killed. I love how she gave voice to the possum.

“But I am worth it’ – whispered the book”

While Margaret lies in the bath tub thinking the book that she is reading is too challenging, and longs to look at a tabloid containing pictures of pregnant celebrities. The book then reads her mind and thinks itself to be worth Margaret’s time.

A place where books can actually speak with me, for real, oh! that’s what I call dreamland!

This one cracked me up –

“They were married, and passion was not greater than cake”

This references to Toby’s second attempt at making cake for his wife and deliberately not putting the timer on. Simply because he knew that when in the act, they would consider stopping it a more likely scenario than ruining the cake. Laugh-worthy reality of our times, folks!

“Let the squeamish suffer their fear, let them live without really living. Margaret was safe in her risk taking.”

This references to Margaret’s bath tub: grimy and rusty near the drain, but that doesn’t scare her, because she does not wash her fruit either and kisses dogs on the mouth. This in Margaret’s mind, is risk taking personified. The life of a modern outlier, eh?

“All crises, once averted, become jokes”

After dousing the fire and seeing the remnants of her charred book, Margaret quips ‘Oops, I guess I won’t be reading this’. I couldn’t help but stroll down my own memory lane and smiled.

Bartleby The Scrivener: Summary, Analysis, Quotes, Review and Free PDF

Bartleby The Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street is a short story or novella written by American author Herman Melville. It was first  published in two parts in the November and December 1853 issues of a magazine. It tells the story of Bartleby – a scrivener (a clerk or scribe) who works for a Manhattan lawyer and grows increasingly enigmatic as the story progresses.

“Happiness courts the light, so we deem the world is gay, but misery hides aloof, so we deem that misery there is none.”

Seeing what we want to see and feel commands so much power on us humans that we are even more blinded to what we don’t want to see or feel widening the gap between happiness and misery disproportionately.

This is an excerpt from ‘Bartleby the scrivener’ the first short story by the American writer Herman Melville, first published in Putnam magazine, way back in 1853.

Bartleby the Scrivener: Summary and Plot Analysis

The story revolves around an unnamed Manhattan lawyer and his mysterious new hire, Bartleby. As their relationship revolves, the personality of Bartleby still remains an enigma to the narrator and the readers alike.

The narrator of the story is an unnamed, unambitious elderly man that has a snug law-copying business He has two scriveners in his employ already: Turkey and Nippers, both of whom are eccentric – while the former is more civil in the first half of the day, while the latter in second. Another employee, Ginger Nut, who is a young office boy completes the staff.

As the business grows, the narrator advertises for the position of another scrivener- Bartleby: more forlorn and calmer than his other staff. In the initial period of his employment, Bartleby seems very meticulous producing high-quality work in high volumes, never taking lunch breaks and continues to remain reticent and oblivious to the banter or the tantrums of his other colleagues.

Bartleby the Scrivener book cover
The cover of Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street

One fine day, upon being asked by the narrator to proofread, Bartleby responds with ‘I would prefer not to’, and after that, it becomes his response to pretty much everything that is asked of him. This irks the narrator as well as the other employees, but Bartleby’s stance remains steadfast in that matter.

The volume of his work declines at a steady pace until one point where he does absolutely nothing but stares at a brick wall out of his office window all day long. Having had to come to work one Sunday, the narrator notices that Bartleby had started living in the office premises.

The mystery surrounding his constant presence in the office premises and his continual staring at the brick wall deepens and the narrator, thinking that if word spread it could bring bad reputation for his business. In order to devise a plan to mitigate this risk, he makes several futile attempts at trying to know more about him or reason with him to leave the premises.

Neither money nor the prospect of working someplace new appeals to Bartleby and he continues to live in the office. The narrator was compassionate enough not to have him forcibly removed from the premises.

Left with no choice, the narrator moves office to another location without letting Bartleby know the whereabouts.

Although thinking the narrator rid himself of Bartleby, the mystery surrounding his permanent presence at the premises is not solved, until one day, the new tenants come to mention to him the inconvenience that Bartleby’s presence was causing them – he continued to sit on the stairs all day and slept in the doorway at night.

herman melville portrAIT
Herman Melville – the author of Bartleby the Scrivener

The narrator is again brought in to reason with Bartleby, going to the extent of inviting him over to his own residence to live with him, but his request fall on deaf ears. The narrator eventually comes to know that he was forcibly removed from the premises and imprisoned nearby in the Tombs.

He goes to visit Bartleby in prison, to find him even quieter than usual. He bribes the turnkey to make sure that Bartleby gets enough food. He comes back later another day to check on him only to find out that he died of starvation.

He comes to know afterwards through rumors, that Bartleby used to work in a “dead-letter” office (a dead letter office is a facility within a postal system where undeliverable mail is processed). 

The narrator attributes that to be the reason why a man of his temperament, having worked in an even darker environment, might have sunk deeper into depression.

The story closes with narrator’s exasperated sigh “Ah Bartleby! Ah humanity!”

Bartleby the Scrivener Analysis

To think that all this novella received was critical disdain at the time of its release confuses me and pains me at the same time. I couldn’t help but draw parallels between Bartleby’s and author’s life – if Bartleby’s dispassionate No to the kind of work that he didn’t want to do was any indication of the kind of work that was demanded of Melville- but maybe that’s taking my imagination too far.

Regardless, this short story raises many poignant themes- As relevant as they are now, almost two centuries from when Melville first brought the story to life.

Bartleby The Scrivener Quotes

I might give alms to his body, but his body didn’t pain him –it was his soul that suffered, and his soul I couldn’t reach.

The narrator feels- and rightly so- that Bartleby doesn’t respond to any requests or temptations because his soul is broken. His complete denial to accept any assistance or to find solace in sharing leaves him completely isolated-leaving little chance for people around him to be able to help him, feeling guilty and helpless themselves in return.

“Nothing so aggravates an earnest person as a passive resistance.”

How many times have I seen a person being driven completely crazy , and I mean grinding-teeth crazy -by someone that only resists passively, no debating, no reasoning, no active participation in the argument, but sitting back peacefully and saying No to everything that is asked.

If I was the narrator I would have gone crazy far before Bartleby dies of starvation.

“I would prefer not to”

Maybe that was the only thing that Bartleby felt he did, that made him empowered. Having the ability to say Yes or No to things that he did or didn’t want to do. Bartleby is an enigma. Offices should be kinder to their Bartlebys. I am going to be kinder to myself.

Thank you, Mr Melville, for giving me that voice.

I can now say ‘I would prefer not to’ aloud.

“Happiness courts the light, so we deem the world is gay, but misery hides aloof, so we deem that misery there is none.”

Seeing what we want to see and feel commands so much power on us humans that we are even more blinded to what we don’t want to see or feel widening the gap between happiness and misery disproportionately.

Bartleby The Scrivener PDF Free Download

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The Most Dangerous Game: Short Story, Summary, Characters, Theme, Plot Analysis

The Most Dangerous Game is a short story written by Richard Connell. Also known as “The Hounds of Zaroff”, this story was originally published in 1924. It revolves around an American man passionate about game hunting who realizes, after a series of events, what it means to be a hunter or a huntee – and the ethicality surrounding it.

“The world is made up of two classes – the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters”

This is a statement from Sanger Rainsford, the protagonist of Richard Connell’s remarkable short story The Most Dangerous Game. This one statement is intensely significant as it underlines the carelessness we experience as hunters; but once the tables turn, it’s a different story.

The Most Dangerous Game: Summary and Plot Analysis

This story derives inspiration from the big game hunting that was very popular among affluent Americans back in the 1920s.

Rainsford, a big time game hunter from New York is travelling to Rio de Janeiro in a yacht. In a conversation with a fellow passenger Whitney, Rainsford reveals that he believes that the world is only made up of hunter and huntees and prides himself in being a hunter.

While Whitney does show a little remorse about games they kill and wonders if the prey feels fear, Rainsford stands by his indifference to his prey and is prideful about being a hunter and not a huntee.

Noticing the jitteriness of the crew, Whitney wants to sail past the mysterious island as soon as possible. He theorizes that sailors can sense danger and that is because evil “emanates in waves like light and sound”. While Whitney retires for the night, Rainsford stays back on the afterdeck to smoke his pipe.

Three gunshots in the distance make him curious, and after losing balance ends up falling into water. The yacht quickly disappears into the night leaving him stranded in the middle of nowhere.

He decides to swim in the direction where the gunshots came from and finds himself hearing an animal in agony silenced by a pistol shot. Thoroughly exhausted, he falls asleep.

Once awake, he sets off searching for food in the jungle and chances upon a chateau (a large house). He knocks on the door and finds himself face to face with a burly guy named Ivan who is just about to show him the way when another man General Zaroff ushers him in.

Rainsford finds Zaroff very welcoming, having been offered a room and lavish dinner. The general’s dining hall showcases mounted heads and trophies flaunting his prize from his hunting adventures all over the world.

In the conversation that ensues, Rainsford comes to know of general’s childhood in Crimea, his game exploits all over the world and how he feels that game hunting had become progressively more boring for him over the years.

He also goes on to point out that this monotony had recently been alleviated for him since he figured out a new kind of animal to hunt- the one he believes has courage , logic and reasoning.

Rainsford eventually connects the dots and realizes that the general is referring to human beings and is horrified and indignant at Zaroff’s inability to see hunting humans as a murder. He politely declines General’s request to come hunting with him and goes to bed, terribly disturbed.

He meets Zaroff at lunch again and comes to know that the sailors that he lures to the island for hunting do not present enough challenge for him to exercise his hunting skills. He is now excited by the idea of hunting a world renowned game hunter – Rainsford himself!

Baffled and scared by General’s request, Rainsford asks to leave the island, a request that General immediately denies, instead approving his leave in return for a 3 day hunt, with Rainsford being the prey.

On Day 1, General identifies Rainsford’s location easily but chooses not to kill him to prolong the duration of pleasure he derives from the hunt. This leaves Rainsford terribly scared with very little hope to be able to escape the island.

On Day 2 , Rainsford puts up more of a challenge to Zaroff using the Malay mancatcher (a kind of booby trap to catch a human), doing so much as wounding Zaroff, who promises to kill him him the next day.

What happens at the end of the story of The Most Dangerous Game?

On Day 3 – the final day of the hunt – through a series of events, Ivan (General Zaroff’s assistant) is killed and hounds are let loose that push Rainsford to the edge of the cliff. He chooses to jump into the ocean than handle the hounds.

Upon return to his room later that night, Zaroff finds Rainsford concealed behind the curtains. Zaroff congratulates him on winning the game, but he insists that the game is not over yet and that he intends to fight Zaroff. Zaroff accepts his challenge and declares that the loser of the fight will become food to the dogs while the winner will sleep in Zaroff’s bed.

The story concludes with Rainsford saying that the General’s bed was more comfortable than anything that he had ever slept on (which suggests that Rainsford killed General Zaroff).

The Most Dangerous Game Characters

Sanger Rainsford: The protagonist. A world-renowned big game hunter from America. He’s a level-headed, intelligent and experienced man who combines his mental and physical ability to outsmart General Zaroff.

General Zaroff: A Russian expatriate who lives in a big house on an island. He is an accompolished hunter who has lost all interest in hunting animals because it has gotten ‘boring’ over the years. Now he enjoys hunting prey that are smart and have a formidable mental abilities – humans.

Ivan: General Zaroff’s assistant. He is mute and has a formidable physical stature. His stature is so fear-inducing that Zaroff’s captives prefer to flee and give Zaroff a chance to hunt them down than a certain, torturous death at Ivan’s hands.

Whitney: Hunter and Rainsford’s travel companion. Feels a little remorse about killing prey and suggests that the hunted feel fear while Rainsford is completely indifferent to how the prey feels.

The Most Dangerous Game Theme

The main theme of The Most Dangerous Game is fear, competition and perseverance. The author has a done a remarkable job at blurring the line between the hunter and the hunted. He has shown – through the protagonist’s journey through the story – that the one thing the prey always feels, irrespective of who it is, is fear.

In the beginning of the story, Rainsford is shown to be oblivious to the fear of the prey he hunts. In fact, he prides being such an accomplished hunter. But as the tables turn and Rainsford ends up becoming a prey himself, he realizes the nerve-wracking fear of a prey which gives him perspective and a real taste of what’s it like to be the hunted (instead of the hunter).

The story also indulges in the idea of competition. Both General Zaroff and Rainsford are skilled hunters, which is demonstrated at regular intervals in the story. On the first day of the ‘hunting game’, the General effortlessly locates Rainsford but chooses to ‘spare’ him. The subsequent days, Rainsford fights back and ultimately trumps the General.

Furthermore, The Most Dangerous Game is a story of perseverance and survival. The protagonist never gives up despite the challenges that he’s faced with one after the other.

Is The Most Dangerous Game a true story?

The Most Dangerous Game was published back in 1924, around 100 years ago. Till that point, there was no true story or reported case on which the story could have been based.

But decades after its publication, there was a particularly notorious case in Alaska which involved multiple victims hunted by the perpetrator – Robert Hanson.

Known in the media as the ‘Butcher Baker’, Hanson was an American serial killer who was caught and convicted in 1983. He was then sentenced to 461 years and a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He died in 2014. (Source)

The Most Dangerous Game Movie

8 years after the publication of the story, a movie of the same name was released in 1932. The film is based on the same premise of a big game hunter who lives on an island and hunts human prey for sport. The film stars the lead stars of King Kong – Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong, alongwith Joel McCrea and Leslie Banks.

the poster of the movie the most dangerous game
The poster of the movie The Most Dangerous Game

Another movie, The Frozen Ground (2013), is loosely based on the story of The Most Dangerous Game. The film stars Nicolas Cage and John Cusack in lead roles. It tells the story of an American serial killer who abducts and kills female victims to satisfy his sadistic ‘thrill’ of hunting.

The Most Dangerous Game Review

This power packed story line from Richard Connell never ceases to amaze me. It will not be an overstatement for me to say that this book rekindled my faith in short stories.

Not to forget, the ethical dilemma and the amazing quotes the book presents. If I had to pick quotes from the book that stood out the most for me, those would be.

“The world is made up of two classes – the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters”

And Further in the same conversation…

“Don’t talk rot, Whitney, you’re a big-game hunter, not a philosopher. Who cares how a jaguar feels?”

Connell has so brilliantly given an altogether differing spin on the perspective that was used when this line was first said in the story.

The journey from Rainsford being an acclaimed hunter, absolutely indifferent to his prey’s feelings, to him being the hunted – shocked and terrified – is an amazing journey to follow and learn from.

What I really like about this message is its poignance and relevance to our everyday conversations where our own viewpoint is all that we care about.

In my random readings, I have come across this phrase very often: “the world does not revolve around you.”

I guess I need to pause and take notice.

A Man Called Ove: Summary, Plot Analysis, Review and Quotes

A Man Called Ove is a fiction novel that was originally published in 2012. It is written by Fredrik Backman – a Swedish writer and blogger. The novel was first published in Swedish language and then translated and published in English in 2013. The novel revolves around a 59-year old man whose name is Ove. It tells the story of love, friendship, compassion, grief and the importance of friends and community in coping with loss.

“He had never understood the need to go round stewing on why things turned out the way they did. You are what you are and you do what you do, and that was good enough for Ove. He didn’t quite know what he should say to avoid seeming uneducated and stupid, but it proved to be less of a problem than he had thought. She liked talking and Ove liked keeping quiet.”

That’s Ove, I say this name like I know the person, I have talked to this person, I have met this person in passing, I have seen this person in a mall. Hell! I have even been this person at times (minus the age – I would like to call myself younger than him, added to the fact that women don’t age!).

I am talking about A Man Called Ove (Swedish: En man som heter Ove): it is a 2012 novel by Fredrik Backman, a Swedish author, columnist, and blogger. It was published in English in 2013.

The English version reached the New York Times Best Seller list 18 months after it
was published and stayed on the list for 42 weeks.

A Man Called Ove: Summary and Plot Analysis

A Man Called Ove is a story of love, friendship, compassion, grief and an ultimate ode to the importance of friends and community in coping with loss.

Meet Ove (pronounced oo-vaa) – a curmudgeon, i.e. a bad tempered person, especially an old one, the kind of person who will call a idiot an idiot on his face, ‘who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window’.

He is a creature of habit with unrelenting principles, routines and temper ready to go off at the drop of a hat. A man with zero political correctness and zero tolerance. People in his community call him – ‘the bitter neighbor from hell’.

It is very easy to mistake him for that, unless you start looking closer.

picture of the cover of a man called ove
The cover of “A man called Ove”

What you will find on closer inspection will certainly throw you off… your expectations.

You look at this human portrait a bit closely and you start noticing that there is a sadness in his life manifesting in a variety of forms – a difficult childhood, absence of a motherly figure growing up, being orphaned at a very young age, losing of a baby, having wife suffering from a life altering accident, losing friendship of a close friend, losing his wife and a series of failed attempts at taking his own life.

You begin to realize that it’s a miracle for this man to be alive, let alone having the amount of sanity he does. He is convinced that he is going to end his life, it is simply a matter of when until one day, where a chatty young couple – his new neighbors – accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox.

From that moment on, things begin to change.

What’s unravelled is a comic yet heartwarming tale of defiant cats, unexpected friendships, unwanted roommates, playful little girls with lots of crayons, rescued
friendships and finding, exposing the Ove that his wife had fallen for.

You not only start to understand why Ove is who is, but love and start rooting for him.

3 Reasons why you should read “A Man Called Ove”

I picked up this book as my typical romance dose of the month having read rave reviews about it, but came to like it for reasons far beyond than that, to the extent that I might even sound like a raving barking lunatic going on and on and on about it.

1 – Funny One Liners

I literally rolled on the floor laughing when I read these – “that time Rune drove a Volvo, but later he bought a BMW. You just couldn’t reason with a person who behaved like that.”

Here’s another one:

“Ove feels an instinctive skepticism towards all people taller than six feet; the blood can’t quite make it all the way up to the brain.”

I like this quote for two reasons; first- it makes me one of the smarter people as per Ove’s definition and second, I get the required ammunition to get back at all my tall friends for years of teasing me over my ‘minuscule’ stature.

2 – Timeless wisdom

I – “Ove, only a swine thinks size and strength are the same thing. Remember that.” And Ove never forgot it.”

This piece of wisdom imparted to Ove from his father reiterates something that I have always known but seem to forget as the years passed me by. I am sure this would have come in handy as a reinforced principle of thought growing up amongst a bunch of bigger bullies.

II – “And if you don’t know the story, you don’t know the man.”

Simple, yes, but hits the right spot. It is very easy to judge a person for what they are or have done to us today completely ignoring the story behind it. I have been guilty of doing that way too many times in my life than I would like to count. This reinforces my belief that a little patience and empathy goes a long way in having better conversations and relationships, no matter what kind they are.

III – “Has never liked the feeling of losing control. He’s come to realize over the years that it’s this very feeling that normal folk like and strive for, but as far as Ove is concerned only a complete bloody airhead could find loss of control a state worth aiming for. He wonders if he’ll feel nauseated, if he’ll feel pain”

Pardon my use of strong words but I am in complete agreement with Ove’s viewpoint here. Or maybe I am saying that simply because I am a ‘chicken’? I like to be in control and the idea of losing it completely freaks me out. Maybe time will change that. Who knows?

But for now, Ove wins!

3 – Sarcasm

“His heart is too big.”

If you thought that Ove was always on the giving end of sarcasm, you are wrong. He was on the receiving end as well and when that happened, it was twice as hilarious. When Ove was hospitalized for a medical emergency and doctor tells Pravaneh that it’s the size of his heart that is the problem, she almost rolls on the floor laughing.

“Ove points at him with exasperation. “You! You want to buy a French car. Don’t worry so much about others, you have enough problems of your own.”

I am not sure if this is Ove or Fredrick Backman himself , but this cracks me up every single time. Ove’s biting sarcasm on everything auto is mesmerizing as much as it is laughworthy.

4 – Of Love and Loss

“It’s a strange thing, becoming an orphan at sixteen. To lose your family long before you’ve had time to create your own to replace it. It’s a very specific sort of loneliness.”

“Then Mum died. And Dad grew even quieter. As if she took away with her the few words he’d possessed.”

“One finds a way of living for the sake of someone else’s future. And it wasn’t as if Ove also died when Sonja left him. He just stopped living.”

I loved the book for its sarcasm, laughter, fun and friendships, but I hated it too. Although, the reason for it is more personal than literary, this book made me cry. I was quick to judge Ove for the harsh person he was in the initial pages of the book, but as more and more was revealed about his past making him what he was, it teared me up.

As if losing his mother at such a young age was not bad enough, losing his father and all family before he was barely an adult is such a sad state for a child, or anyone for that matter to be in. I was happy when he found the love of his life, but then having lost a child and then losing her to a sickness again was so saddening.

All in all, this book led to be a major eye-cleanup exercise for me.

In all these years, I have realized that a book is much more powerful when you feel all the emotions the writer intended for you to feel.

“Love is a strange thing. It takes you by surprise.”

And so does this awesome novel by Fredrick Backman.

The Missing Piece Meets The Big O: Summary, Meaning and 4 Life Lessons

The Missing Piece Meets the Big O is a short story (conveyed through poems and drawings) written by Shel Silverstein. It was first published in 1976. The story revolves around a “Little Piece” who is looking for its perfect match that would ‘complete’ it.

“I was hoping that perhaps I could roll with you…”

“You cannot roll with me,” said the Big O, “but perhaps you can roll by yourself.”

This exchange between the Little Piece and the Big O captures the essence of a heartwarming tale of self-love and discovery in ‘Little Piece meets the Big O’ by Shel Silverstein.

He nudges us lightly to the unexplored lane of self-love. His genius lies in the simplicity with which he has relayed his heartwarming tale. Behind his simple words lies the profound truth that there is no such thing as a perfect match.

The Missing Piece Meets the Big O: Summary, Meaning and Plot Analysis

The book is centered around Little Piece – who is looking for its perfect match that would complete it.

Cover of The Missing Piece Meets The Big O
Cover of The Missing Piece Meets The Big O

He saw all kinds of pieces coming up to it; some fit but couldn’t roll and some that could roll didn’t fit. It learned to avoid the hungry and fragile ones, found and let go of the over-analyzing ones and even tried to make itself attractive for the ones it liked.

None of that worked until she found one that fit, atleast at the start. All was well until the missing piece began to grow. Both of them were not expecting or ready for that to happen.

This was heartbreaking for the missing piece and eventually they both part ways, making the missing piece alone again. The Missing piece again finds someone that it thinks might be a perfect fit. She has now found the Big O.

It proposes to roll with it only to be told that she could tried rolling by itself. It finds the idea strange, the idea of a pointed missing piece to be able to roll by itself, nevertheless, she tries to explore that idea and Lift-Pull-Flop… Lift-Pull-Flop…. it was able to roll by itself!

an image of a page from missing piece meets the big O

Why I love it?

This tale is an amazing testimony to the simplicity with which Silverstein has driven the profound message home in so few words, the way he has named these characters: the Missing Piece, the Big O… it’s genius!

The number of myths that this tale has busted, the quintessential silver lining and not to forget the happy ending!

4 Life Lessons from The Missing Piece Meets the Big O

There is no perfect match

While the missing piece feels alone waiting for something that will come along and complete itself, it inherently assumes that it is not complete by itself. It thinks that something more is needed for it to feel good about itself and it fails to look at the world without that assumption embedded in it.

How many times have we turned into a ball of wax when we see Tom Cruise confessing to Renee Zelleweger in Jerry Macguire – ‘You Complete me?’

Don’t stop trying

Other pieces took advantage, ran over her, some were too fragile to have plopped right in front of her; some it scared away with its flashy behavior, but never once did our little missing piece quit.

image of a page from the book the missing piece meets the big O
A page from The Missing Piece Meets the Big O

It kept the faith alive and even resorted to tricks to make her dream more achievable, like making itself attractive, it tried to solicit interest, it even asked people explicitly if they would take it along.

Be open to experimentation

Believe that what you end up getting might be different from what you envisioned but in no way does it mean that what you end up with, is any less than what you had in mind before.

Every relationship, bitter or sweet, has a place in our lives

The Little Piece learnt from being ignored that it needed to do something to attract attention, when attracting too much attention, it realized that it was scaring the shy ones away.

When trying to appear attractive, it realized that it was taken advantage of and while Big O didn’t take it along with her, it learned the very important lesson of self-discovery and contentment.

Every experience, bitter or sweet makes us a better person.

We might start off in a relationship believing firmly in our hearts that this is the best and that nothing could go wrong with it. This may not be the case, as many of us find in the course of our lives.

People grow out of their relationships… that’s the truth. While this realization is painful, it nevertheless makes us prepared to take our lives forward, when that happens.

Albert Einstein once famously remarked “The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.”

He might very well be referring to Shel Silverstein.