The Weather In San Francisco And Corporal By Richard Brautigan

1312 words - 6 pages

Richard Brautigan’s short fiction stories incorporate protagonists that are recognizably fictionalized versions of the author himself. He writes in order to extract his own struggles of the past and the difficulties of discovering himself in the present. Through the characters in The Weather in San Francisco and Corporal, the portrayal of his optimistic view of life as a consequence of the rigors of daily life, and the use of symbols, Brautigan presents his personal story through the words on the paper.
The characters in Brautigan’s stories The Weather in San Francisco and Corporal exemplify similar interpretations of the author and his own life stories. As an author early on, Brautigan ...view middle of the document...

Every character faces hardships that appear unavoidable. Through these hardships, the characters begin to lose hope for a future. The butcher exchanged money with the old woman and “went to the back of the poultry section to get a hold of his nerves” (The Weather in San Francisco 120). He let his frustration from not being able to sell the hamburger meat to anyone prior to it ruining exhaust him. The boy in Corporal “took [his] goddamn little private’s stripe home in the absolute bottom of [his] pocket. [He] didn’t even bother to have it sewed on [his] coat. [He] just threw it in a drawer and covered it up with some socks” (Corporal 1). To him, receiving the private stripes was not something to be proud of. It wasn’t until one obtained the general stripes that it was a noteworthy status. In the same way Brautigan became depressed and lost hope from his diminishing friends, work, and money.
In his writing, Brautigan has a tendency to remove himself from the rigors of daily life because “deprivation seems to have been a part of his heritage” (Brucker 4). He views writing as a mental diversion that is an escape from the perceived unpleasant and lonely aspects of daily life. “His works transcend worldly hardships to offer an ultimately optimistic view of existence”(Contemporary Authors Online 3). This optimistic approach is evident in how Brautigan writes about the weather in The Weather in San Francisco. The story opens by saying, “it was a cloudy afternoon” (The Weather in San Francisco 119). The butcher tries to convince the old woman to buy hamburger because it was a cloudy day. However, the old woman refuses because she is confident it will be a sunny day. The story ends with a piece of liver on “a cloudy silver platter that soon changed into a sunny day” (The Weather in San Francisco 120). The boy in Corporal also exemplifies hopefulness in the midst of a struggle while trying to collect paper for the paper drive. When he first thought he had collected enough paper to become a general, he was saddened by the fact that paper could be so deceptive. However, “[he] didn’t let it throw [him], though. [He] marshaled [his] energies and went out and started going door to door” (Corporal 1). His determination persisted because his goal of becoming a general was all consuming. He continued to “[spend] the next few days cynically looking for paper”, which led him to the corporal stripes (Corporal 1). Those stripes of honor joined the others, hidden in the sock drawer. The boy didn’t want to be seen with any stripes besides the ones of a general. However, he never did get the general stripes. He instead, with confidence, “admitted defeat and entered it” (Brucker 7). His willingness to accept defeat with a head held high rather than sulking on “the disappointments that constitute...

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