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Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Farmer's Children by Elizabeth Bishop

A farmer, his wife (step mother to boys), and two son's Cato and Emerson, and three daughters, Gracie Bell, Lea Leola, and Rosina, the farm hand, Judd, and an assortment of farm animals make up the cast of the story. One night Cato and Emerson are playing with Gracie Bell only to make her cry. Because the farmer and Judd are away to town that night, Cato and Emerson take over keeping watch over the farm equipment in the barn. The mother on the other hand makes sure the girls have extra blankets on them for the long cold night. The hired man, Judd must have taken the blankets out in the barn, because when the boys get there, there aren't any for them. Cato brings into the story the children's story of Hansel and Gretel, which plays into part of the storyline. There are several side stories being told in this short story, which the reader must be aware of (ie Hansel and Gretel come to mind when Cato takes bread and drops pieces on the ground while they walk to the barn)
The boys cuddle up to keep warm that night: "He turned to Emerson and called his name, but Emerson only moaned in his sleep. So he fitted his knees into the hollows at the back of his brother's and hugged him tightly around the waist."
I don't want to ruin the ending to this story, so you'll have to read it to find out how it ends. Also, think about relationships between the farm implements and Cato and Emerson, and why does Cato drop the bread?

2 comments:

lechelle said...

You should seriously look into a job as a book jacket writer.

shersy said...

I'm enjoying reading through the stories you've mentioned - I liked the way the one about the old man from Russia ended. Old Zelig.