English 245: Modern Fiction

a collaborative exploration of pervasive tropes, themes, and concepts in contemporary fiction



To Real, To Soon

Well, upon the continuation of the reading for Tuesday, I was struck by the story that explained the loss of Quig’s family. There is this common knowledge type idea that the narrator gives us about the way people live in these charters. In the charter that Quig runs, people know quite a bit about each other, but they do not know much of Quig before he came to the charters.

I thought it quite unfortunate that Quig’s profession as a veterinarian was done away with when the plague infected all animals and the animals had to all be put down. It also seems unfortunate for those whose pets weren’t infected “…all pets and animals in the affected villages were ordered destroyed, whether sick or not…Families who tried to hide and save their pets were made examples of and banished to the open counties; soon enough every last animal was tendered (Lee, 136).”

With this done, Quig’s job was nonexistent, which can do a number on a family, especially for the life-style that Quig’s wife, Glynnis. She takes it so hard, that she resorts to selling Quig’s medicine that would otherwise have been used for his profession “…as there was no market for them, and to her surprise her friends offered to buy the drugs at an extraordinary price”. This is where the trouble begins because Quig is mad at her at first, but then allows her to continue selling them, even with the threat of exile “Glynnis convinced him to allow her to continue selling the vials, which she did, and once their former stocks were exhausted, she got him to contact his old partners and other collegues to replenish their supplies (Lee, 140).”

However, their scheme does not last long because they get caught “Quig and Glynnis were tried and convicted. Within a week, the family was forever banished from the charter, allowed only what they could fit into their wagon (less confiscated cash) as their worldly estate (Lee, 142).”  I feel because of their selfish ways of thinking, that the trouble that befell them was pretty much self-inflicted. However, that does not include the terrible fate that Quig’s family along with other families suffer at the inn.

When Quig and Glynnis seem to come up with a plan to secure their future and bring it up to Landon and Dale, the owners of the inn, utter ruin befalls them, resulting in the death of Quigg’s fretful wife and beloved daughter, the saddest most tragic part of the book so far, in my opinion. Quig and Glynnis plan to operate the inn by taking over the payments and maintenance of the inn to secure their future. However, this falls apart when a drugged shooter and an accomplice hold up the inn. This results in the shooting of all patrons, including Glynnis and Trish “And before he could say a last good word to them, the one with the shotgun stepped over the threshold and began blasting away (Lee, 163).”

When I read that, the words seemed to jump off the page and into my mind. It brought me right to that inn, watching death take its claim over the innocent. It hurt to read it. You know, Quigg’s story seemed very intriguing when you didn’t know what was happening. But when you find out, its really something that makes you think. It calls out on reality because that is a parallel to our world. How many times have we read that people are out to a movie, spending time together with their families and they get shot up in the blink of an eye. People walk out of church after worshipping on a Sunday morning, thankful for their lives, and then they loose them when they get gunned down. The world is filled with these tragic circumstances and what can we do, what do we say?

Reading that section really left me with a sense of grief for Quig. Kind of like when the Father died at the end of “The Road.” It left me breathless, but I had to move on with my life and go to my next class. And that’s what Quig had to do. He had to move on, he had to go forward. I haven’t yet read the whole book, so I don’t know the overall effect that this scene has over Quig and the story as a whole, but I do know that this somewhat lifeless story became to full of life, to real, to soon.







Dancing With Death

After reading “Tenth of December” by George Saunders, I immediately felt that this is a story that displays how the actions of two different people can lead to a connection. Two completely different people, a child and a grown man, end up to be each others saviors, after both of them danced with death, just barely getting by. It also shows how one must think there decisions through carefully before they go through with them, and think about the impact they make on others. This is especially true of Robin and Don.

There was two very opposing reasons for the two being out in the woods. And if they had not both been out there, the both of them would have died slowly and painfully. If Robin had not been out in the woods fighting the nethers, then Don would not have been saved from taking his own life. The same is true for Robin. He would have been dead instantly, after falling into a river through the ice. There would have been no question.

The two of them both stand in the very presence on death’s knife, yet they escape it by the grace of God. This story really builds on a very good topic: that things happen to us for a reason and sometimes, even in the most tragic of circumstances, the most amazing things can happen. A boy is saved from death by hypothermia by Don. Don was saved from taking his own life by a little boy. And the most amazing thing is, Robin sought out for a heroic adventure and Don wanted to be selfless. In saving each others lives, these qualities were made present.

The circumstances that lead to this outcome were not the wisest decisions. I am not an advocate for children walking on water or the taking of one’s lives, yet they were both saved by the others bout with death. The connections that were made in this story can be representative of how we are all in each others lives for a reason and how every action has an equal or opposite reaction. And as tragic as Saunders made this story out to be, the elements that made it that way led to its calm resolution. Yes, Don will still die of his disease, and Robin may not learn from the experience he contended with, these things remain uncertain. But what is certain is that both of them were there for each other, and had it not happened that way, then the story would not have played out as it so wonderfully did. I really liked this story.


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