Short Story Analysis.docx

Beginning with dead beavers the storys theme of death

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Beginning with dead beavers, the story’s theme of death continues with the narrator’s dead parents, his sister dying as a child, Rimney’s wife’s debilitating stroke, dead bodies being found, and two murders in the end. It is no secret that this story is about death and illness, however, the story is also a reflection of other crucial topics such as humanity, love, and hate as demonstrated in part through the battle between Rimney and Giff and the intense compassion each character has for their loved ones. Two forms of love are demonstrated in this story, self-centered love and selfless love. The love shown predominately throughout is self-centered. The narrator loves his parents, and as revealed later, has been keeping them as ghosts because he doesn’t want them to go.
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Rimney unshakingly loves his wife Val, even after her stroke, and devotes his life to caring for her; however, his love is not emitted to anyone else around him. And finally, Giff reveals his battle with loving his wife and his son after finding out his son is not biologically his. This love is still self-centered, as he comes to terms with his wife through his religion not in a selfless desire to support them no matter what. Employed in the same office as the narrator, Rimney and Giff add to the chaos of the story. Rimney is an arrogant, cynical man and disliked by his coworkers; though the narrator seems complacent about his feelings towards Rimney. The biggest feuds in the office come from Rimney and Giff. An uber Christian, Giff preaches his beliefs relentlessly, much to Rimney’s dislike. “’You and your wife are in the prayers of me and our church,’ he [Giff] says to Rimney. ‘Despite of what you may think of me.’ ‘You’re in my prayers too,’ says Rimney. ‘I’m always praying you stop being so sanctimonious and miraculously get less full of shit.’… Rimney hasn’t liked Giff since the day Giff suggested Rimney could cure Mrs. Rimney if only he’d elevate his prayerfulness.” (Saunders 201-202). This feud plays a heavy role in the conflicts woven through the story. A mysterious smell in the office where the narrator works marks the beginning of the story’s major drama. Rimney approaches the narrator, ‘“Thing I like about you, you’re a guy who understands life gets complicated,” he says. “Got a minute? I need to show you something”’ (Saunders 205). Rimney then brings the narrator to a closet and reveals a rotted foot wrapped in bubble wrap. It is revealed that Rimney discovered bodies on the excavation sight of Dirksen. “The Dirksen Center for Terror is the town’s great hope.” (Saunders 204). The narrator is forced to make a decision, “I do an Actual Harm Analysis. Who would the reburial hurt? The mummy
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guys? They’re past hurt. Who would it help? Rimney, Val Rimney, all future Dirksen employees.
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  • Fall '18
  • Michael Jauchen
  • Short story, George Saunders, Giff

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