WorldLit1 - Story The Stump-Grubber by Torgny...

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Story: “The Stump-Grubber” by Torgny Lindgren (Sweden) Family/Gender Roles: The main character of the story is Jacob. Jacob is a father and husband, married to “Gerda, Jacobs’s Gerda” (373). This possessive introduction of his wife seems to be more affectionate than jealous. Everything Jacob does in this story from cutting down the pine tree (374), to buying the stump-grubber (374), to spending all night trying to get the stump out (378) has been for Gerda. Every time that Jacob thinks of stopping or even resting he just thinks that “Gerda is watching” (377). Jacob has the persistent desire to prove himself to Gerda. It seems like all Jacob wants is to be assured of Gerda’s love for him. As Jacob is dying, he compares the pain to the “unbearable heat of love” (379). Gerda’s last words to Jacob “Dearest love Jacob! You must be careful!” (379) parallel what Jacob’s mother calls to him when he has his accident as a child, “Jacob mustn’t lift the hooves, it’s dangerous” (373). Gerda’s similar call could in a way be reaffirming Jacob’s mother’s love for him. Indeed, Jacob is able to die with a smile on his face, simply because he knows how much Gerda loves him. Economic/Historic/Politic Concerns: There are not any historic or politic concerns within the story. The only mention of money comes when Jacob buys the stump-grubber. He has to buy it on an auction for cheap (374). This does not necessarily mean that Jacob and his wife are poor, but given their farm lifestyle it could be so. Urban/Rural Lifestyles: Jacob and Gerda definitely live a rural lifestyle. They lived on the smallholding in Inreliden. They had bought the partition in 1918. He had himself sawn the wood for the house and built it, and he had cleared and cultivated two fields so that they fed a cow; in the winter he was out in the timber-forest, and in summer he hewed charcoal-wood for the farmers. He had built the cowshed out of old timber that he had bought. (373) Jacob built their house and the buildings on their property. Even if there is no mention of crops that they grow they have two fields, which seems a bit excessive for just one cow. They would have to grow at least some of their own food. It is unlikely that they would be able to live off of just one cow and money from selling wood. Culture: The very brief mention of culture comes in the talk of Gerda’s corduroy hanging on the wall of the house. The hanging simply reads “The mystery of faith in a pure conscience” (374). It then goes on to say that it was “probably taken from the first epistle of Timothy” (374). What is interesting to me is that part of the line is missing. The full line from 1 Timothy 3:9 of the King
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