"The Amish Farmer" By Bourjaly. Essay

913 words - 4 pages

"The Amish Farmer" is a powerful tale that expresses the importance of point of view. Just as the plaintiff and defendant's testimonies create new perspectives to a court case, the narrator brings new meaning to his story with his point of view. The narrator of "The Amish Farmer", Vance, is a conflicted narrator. Although his point of view seems emotionally unattached and he refers to himself merely as the "raconteur" of the story, the narrator is torn between his true nature, similar to Noel's, and his desire to be like Daniel.There are many instances in "The Amish Farmer" that suggest Vance is depicting Noel in the story as he would if he were the main character. This is evident at the beginning of Vance's tale. The narrator has the power to choose when and how to begin his story. This choice is very important, as it determines the point of view of the story and how the characters are to be viewed by the readers.By starting the tale when Noel states that Daniel had tried to kill him, Vance seems to seek the readers' pity for Noel and presents contempt towards Daniel. These initial characterizations can be seen as Vance attempting to defend Noel, much as he might defend himself.Vance further justifies Noel's character when he states, "He probably looked archaic to some of his peers, but he looked just right to me" (p.480). It seems evident that by creating a sense of purity, naivety, and integrity in Noel's character, Vance is attempting to make up for any feelings of vulnerability that came from telling the story again.Vance is even more vulnerable in that he does not understand women and falls victim to surprise and devastation from them. This misunderstanding is seen throughout the story and is most evident at the end, when Katie Jay says to Vance, "Oh, I need that Amish farmer. Don't you see?" (p.493). It is clear that the last line can be interpreted as being said by Dawn to Noel, and just as Noel does not understand Dawn's affair with Daniel and her need for the Amish farmer, Vance does not understand Katie Jay's response and the appeal of the Amish farmer.When Vance is speaking with his students on the importance of point of view in the story, he asks the students to drop his (the "raconteur's") point of view and tell it from Noel's (p.491). Vance's declaration of being just a "raconteur" could be considered as an attempt to ease the vulnerability caused by telling the story, opening himself up to judgment and ridicule by his students. In choosing Noel's point of view as the ideal perspective for the narrator, the idea is further...

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