Essay about The Drunkard By Frank O ' Connor

Essay about The Drunkard By Frank O ' Connor

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Short stories are a common literary form that allows the author to convey much in a condensed manner. Short stories can vary greatly in their purpose and structure. In a comparison of the stories "The Swimmer" and "The Drunkard," it is clear that the former is the superior literary work, as it utilizes literary elements more thoroughly in order to convey more significant themes.

"The Drunkard" by Frank O 'Connor is a humorous story that chronicles the experience of a boy sent to accompany his father at a funeral in order to keep him from getting drunk. The point of view of the story, that of a young, innocent boy, plays a powerful part in showcasing its irony. The narrator is revealed to be an observant child who is well-aware of his surroundings and the people close to him. He understands his father well and is able to predict his behavior in the cycles of his drinking. He notices that as his father laughs at the other men who drink regularly, he "was becoming stuffed up with spiritual pride and imagining himself better than his neighbors. Sooner or later, the spiritual pride grew till it called for some form of celebration. Then he took a drink... That was the end of Father"(340). This narration reveals not only the boy 's understanding of his father 's drinking habits, but also a great deal about how he views his father. He sees his father as a hypocritical man who is capable of restraint but weak in humility and discipline in the long run. The father 's inevitable bouts of drunkenness always spell misfortune and humiliation for his entire family, and his son knows that he is only going to the funeral to "act as a brake on Father," though he admits that he has so far had little success in this duty (341). At the funeral, the n...


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...shocked to learn the truth at the end, and may afterwards be tempted to read the story a second or third time to search for details that may have gone unnoticed at first. Upon reading more closely, the story is revealed to present a tragic journey of a man who has lost his sanity but seeks solace in the materialistic comforts of his old life. The story succeeds in making a number of statements about human nature: that wealth is the most powerful measure of social status and anyone without it will face ostracization; that denial of one 's mistakes and unfortunate circumstances only leads to more pain; that even the most optimistic people can hold dark secrets and emotional turmoil inside them. All of these themes compel the reader to ponder their real-life implications long after the story is over.
“The Swimmer” is a superior short story to "The Drunkard" in that it

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