A Plot To Kill Essay

1371 words - 5 pages

Kirk StatenProfessor OvEnglish 102Essay #706 Nov 2013A Plot to KillDubus' ordering of the story events non-chronologically create room for several plot devices to be presented. Plot devices such as suspense and in medias res warrant intrigue on behalf of the reader because he/she is left in the dark as to why events and actions occur the way they do. They are also part of a unifying whole that explains the context of the story. Plot is a progression of events that are purposely connected that lead to a resolution. In "Killings," Dubus wants the reader to immediately feel sympathy for the grieving family. Yet he does not give any information as to how Frank dies. Only threats and gestures are revealed to show some of the emotions expressed by the family. This lack of knowledge regarding the circumstances of Frank's death builds suspense and curiosity within the reader to make he/she want to read more. The reader can only speculate as to what happens later and why. If the entire story were told in a linear, chronological fashion like the second half of the story where Dubus shows a methodical pattern of events committed by the protagonist, the story would not entail the aforementioned plot devices that are integral to the plot. Since those aspects of the story would not be present, "Killings" would not be as appealing or interesting to the reader. With his ordering, Dubus emphasizes intrigue, suspense, and a element of surprise thatthe reader would otherwise ascertain before events happen.The story begins in medias res as each family member grieves in his or her own way for the death of Frank. "I should kill him"(Meyer 81). This is the statement made by Frank's brother, Steve as the story opens at the funeral. In his grief and anger he repeated the statement. This immediately invokes suspense because the reader does not know whom Steve is speaking of or if he will follow through with the threat. "Beneath her eyes there was swelling from the three days she had suffered"(81). This is the pain seen on Ruth's face by her family as she laments. Ruth means compassion or pity for another and she most definitely exudes those characteristics. "I don't see him. I'm in the store all the time. Ruth sees him. She sees him too much. She was at Sunnyhurst today getting cigarettes and aspirin, and there he was. She can't even go out for cigarettes and aspirin. It's killing her"(82). Matt admits this to his friend, Willis Trottier, at Willis' diner. The author doesn't really present Matt as the woebegone father in the beginning but rather shows the reader as the story unfolds. Dubus grabs the readers attention with such an emotional plot to expound the actions of the protagonist, Matt, in the second half of the story. Dubus is perhaps trying to gain support for Matt to justify his actions because the heart wrenching pain of losing a child is something that a parent should never have to endure. Matt very badly wants to relieve the pain especially for his wife...

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