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The Half Skinned Steer Essay

1507 words - 6 pages

The story "The Half-Skinned Steer" by Annie Proulx could be classified in the Return to the womb arch-type. It fits that unit theme very well, mainly because the main character in the story, whose name is Mero, returns to his place of birth and childhood almost sixty years later. The one major event that leads him back home is the death of his brother Rollo. Mero had left the country out by Cheyenne, Wyoming to go and live in New York City. Over that time he had grown to become a fairly rich man. He had everything that a man could possibly ask for at that place in time. He had a Cadillac, a cellular phone, lots of money, and a nice house. Although he wasn't very successful in his marriages because he was married several times, he was successful in politics. The story says that he got in local politics and out again without a scandal. So, maybe he followed the rules there or just never got caught. This tells us that he is a fairly intelligent man. He had went many years without contact from his family out on the ranch in Wyoming and then one day he gets a phone call from Rollo's wife that he has been killed and he decides to make the trip half way across the country to see his brother laid to rest. Annie Proulx does an excellent job of structuring her sentences to where they fill our minds with countless images that we can see happening in real life, well almost everything. The sentences are very descriptive. That is one example of how her style comes into play with her writing. Also she can use the characters and she arranges the story in chronological way that makes you go back after you have read the story and re-arrange the events to where they come out in order. The style of Annie Proulx is somewhat like that of William Faulkner in that they both use very in-depth sentence structures and a lot of black humor. One example from the story was the very first sentence that reads: "In the Long Unfurling of his life, from tight-wound kid hustler in a wool suit riding the train out of Cheyenne to geriatric limper in this spooled out year, Mero had kicked down thoughts of the place where he began, a so-called ranch on strange ground at the south hinge of the green horns." In this sentence alone we are able to depict his whole life story. From there we are going to learn how he made the transformation. One more example is when Proulx is telling us about the breeding herd at the ranch: "The breeding herd was down to eighty-two, and a cow wasn't worth more than fifteen dollars, but they kept mending fence, whittling ears and scorching hides, hauling cows out of mud holes, and hunting lions in the hope that sooner or later the old man would move to Ten Sleep with his woman and his bottle and they could, as had their grandmother Olive when Jacob Corn disappointed her, pull the place taut. In this giant sentence alone we know that the farm has fallen on hard times. Also we can picture the characters performing each of the jobs,...

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