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Analysis Of Two Short Stories Happy Endings And An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge

1381 words - 6 pages

Literary elements on numerous occasions play a massive role in the meaning of a story. Two distinct cases being in the short stories “Happy Endings” and “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge.” In these particular cases the literary element that depicts meaning is internal conflict. In “Happy Endings” the conflict lies within the character Mary who is in love with John, but he is not in love with her. A similar circumstance is in the story “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge”, where the main character Farquhar wrestles with the idea of evading him imminent death. In the extent of the short stories “Happy Endings” and “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge” the literary element of person versus self- conflict with some of the main characters creates theme.
In “Happy Endings”, Mary’s interior conflict fabricates meaning. An example of this in the text is when Atwood narrates, “Mary falls in love with John, but John doesn’t love Mary” (Atwood 1). This excerpt is an explanation of her conflict with John. Being that she is deeply in love with John, although John contains little to no feelings for her. A significant part of this sentence from the story is when Atwood writes, “John doesn’t love Mary” (1). This phrase indicates what produces Mary’s inner conflict. Following the idea of the first quotation, another key point in the story is, “Inside John, she thinks, is another John, who is much nicer” (1). A word in the above sentence that stands out is the word, “Inside” (1). This depicts that what Mary is conflicted with is inside, thus making it her inner conflict. The over all noteworthiness of these quotations from the novel is that they convey Mary’s person versus self-conflict.
Equally worthy of attention is another excerpt from “Happy Endings” that further defines Mary’s person versus self-conflict. How John treats Mary when they are together. Describing also the way of how John takes advantage of Mary. Atwood writes, “He comes to her apartment twice a week and she cooks him dinner, you’ll notice that he doesn’t even consider her worth the price of a dinner out, and after he’s eaten dinner he fucks her, and then falls asleep, while she does the dishes so he wont think she’s untidy, having all those dirty dishes lying around, and puts on fresh lipstick so she’ll look good when he wakes up, but when he wakes up he doesn’t even notice” (1). One note worth piece of the above lines from the story is the phrase, “Puts on fresh lipstick so she’ll look good”. This phrase is significant because it renders what Mary does in hopes of getting Johns attention, however when she does this he never gives any regard to it. When John does not give Mary any acknowledgment of her makeup this makes Mary’s conflict deepen because, John makes her feel unnoticed. In addition to this quotation another snippet that is important is the phrase, “Fucks her, then falls asleep”. This stands out because it connotes that when Mary is intimate with John he treats it as nothing, and...

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