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Analysis of Russell Banks’ Short Story, Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story

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Stab in the Heart
A stab in the heart by one’s own hopes is truly the cruelest way to leave this world. Sadly, that is exactly what happen to Sarah Cole in Russell Banks’ short story entitled, “Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story.” The man who dated Sarah for a short period of time tells the tale. He calls himself Ron, for Ron could have been him, but he doesn’t want to say who he is for fear of looking cruel. He wants to believe what he did was right when he left her. They both didn’t handle their differences properly. The relationship could have been different if they communicated to each other what the relationship meant to them, if Sarah wasn’t so aggressive, and if Ron could let go of his vanity. All these aspects together caused the metaphorical death of Sarah because how Ron ended the relationship it killed all of Sarah’s hopes to having a better life.
Communication is something important in any kind of relationship, but not conversations that degrade one another. Ron and Sarah had a hard time engaging in meaningful conversations. “When he returns to the kitchen, the woman is putting away her groceries, her back to him. ‘You sure are quiet today Sarah,’ he says in a low voice. ‘Everything ok?’ Silently, she turns away from the grocery bags, kisses his mouth, rolls her torso against his hips” (11). They’re always uncertain of what to say to each other. They feared they would run out of things to talk about, so instead they would fornicate. Since they started of with sex, Ron saw nothing more. “‘ Friendship you owe me. And respect. Friendship and respect. A person can’t do what you have done with me without owing them friendship and respect’” (14). Sarah did only want friendship she wants to have the p...

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...ff. His vanity along with his pursuit of the perfect life led to the relationship’s demise. Dealing with a drunken Sarah was not the picture of the perfect life. When he calls her a “disgusting ugly bitch,” it kills her. Sarah thought Ron was different, he respected her, truly cared for and even though he was of higher class, she believed that he never leave her. But, Sarah was mistaken. Ron’s three parting words destroyed all that Sarah had become and all hope of a new life. “It’s not as if she has died, it’s as if he has killed her”(18). She lost all confidence, self esteem, and thought herself to be worthless. With her hopes and dreams for the future shattered, Sarah returns to the only security she knows, her old life of an abused wife. Ron did do a bad thing. Initially, he did not realize the power of his words but in the end he did kill Sarah Cole.

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