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"The Glass Roses"

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Martinik Olguin

on 27 February 2014

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Transcript of "The Glass Roses"

Very little setting description suggests a close mindset within the characters.
The father confronts Stephen about Leka
"You seem to be gettin' awful chummy with that Polack"
"He ain't no special friend of mine,"
"Some of the men's laughin' about him pattin' and pokin' you. I don't like to hear anybody laughin' at my son."

Clashing of ideals/beliefs Must make decision

At this point Stephen is on the fence, however for him the is no middle ground, he either choose to be his own man or his father's man

The Polack/Leka
Internal Conflict (Man vs Self)

"He thought of the dozens of trees they would have to fell before the end of the day, the millions of trees he would have to fell before he died. For as long as he lived, he would kneel beside a tree, a slave to the monotonous rhythm of the pulpsaw."
He doesn't want the lumberjack life for himself
His desire to become a man his father would be proud of and fulfill his dreams of experiencing the world
Conflict arises when he decides to become a man

Desires ""I'd like to see Poland and France and Italy. I'd like-" He left the sentence unfinished. He was not certain what he felt.""
He didn't know what he wanted, because he had never had the chance to actually explore new ideas or goals for the future besides becoming a lumberjack.
Alden Nowlan
"The Glass Roses"
Stephen's father
However Leka's Stories provide different perspectives
"The wind had fallen somewhat, but it was still raw enough to lacerate Stephen's temples. The cold gnawed at his legs and forced watery mucus from his nostrils."
Harsh winds & cold snow are working against him
Due to the climate and physical work he has to do he is exhausted
Unlike the other men, this then makes him feel weaker

His father creates an environment of fear by warning him that the work of a pulp cutter "...is not a kids job..."

The stories that Leka tells Stephen provide another setting for the story. One where Stephen feels happy and fills him with desire to explore the world and be himself.
Symbols & Motifs
"Stephen hesitated for a long time before he reached out to wake him."

By ignoring his father, who told him to stay away from the Polack, Stephen made the decision to become his own man .

This however raises suspicions on whether or not Stephen and the Polack are homosexuals.

He realized the Polacks intentions behind his actions when he would touch Staphen's cheek, etc. however he did not change his actions (waking him up from a nightmare), even though there was some slight hesitation on his part.

Ukraine logging partner

Exposes Stephen to a different perspective on how to view the world, than the one that he was raised in by his father

Through Leka, Stephen's desire to be independent begins to grow

As the relationship between Stephen and Leka strengthens, he begins to realize that his and his father's views are completely different

"No, I don't think I want to talk about Wiesbaden. Ill tell you more about Tarnpool and my mother's glass roses. It is better to talk about things like that."
Leka wants to keep Stephen innocent by not telling him stories about the war - protects him
"The more he observed the easy strength of these men, the oftener he worked himself into aching exhaustion at the end of a pulpsaw, the more certain he was that he could never become a man."
thinks himself as weaker and lesser than the other men

"He thought of the dozen of trees they would have to fell before the end of the day,the millions of tress he would have to fell before he died. For as long as he lived, he would kneel beside a tree, a slave to the monotonous rhythm of the pulpsaw."
He feel that if he becomes the man that his father wants him to he would be unhappy (slave to the pulpsaw).
He doesn't see himself as a lumberjack

"...feeling a little twinge of guilt. He was a man now. Men did not tell one another fairy tales about cathedrals. But his father and the men at the bunkhouse need never know-"
He decided to give up on what he wanted in order to please his father
Stephen's desire to feel secure not only in himself but in his father's eyes as well, he however can not accomplish both
Doesn't want to be like his father, but wants to be recognized as a man
""You got to start actin' like a man if you want to hod down a man's job," he had warned. "There ain't no room for kids in the pulp woods." The boy winced, remembering the too-familiar squint of doubt, hard knots of disappointment above the cold grey eyes."
confronts Stephen daily with demands that he should fit the 'Lumberjack Mold', by doing so he implies that if Stephen doesn't become a lumberjack he wont see him as a man

"In his world, men did not tender apologies."
narrow and close minded views

"When his father worked an axe, it was as though the blade grew out of his arm."
Stephen's admiration of his father, he associates being a man with the characteristics that he sees in his father
"His facination with tale of far places had attracted him to the Polack."
the stories that are told by Leka give Stephen a sense of hope
the stories are what move Stephen to want to become independent
""Pretty little flowers made of red glass...She would let no one touch them."

""There is not much room in the world for glass roses,""

""The roses that got smashed,""
Stephen is the rose and Leka wants to keep him from getting 'smashed' by his father, who forces the lumberjack ways onto him and implies that if he were to choose to not become a lumberjack he would not see him as his son
The beauty in the roses is the beauty in Stephen's innocence and desires to go experience the world
Changing himself he loses himself.
"The axe made him feel stupid and ridiculous. It did not belong to him. He could not think of himself as a woodsman. In using the axe, he was pretending to be something he was not, something he might never be."
The axe is a constant reminder that he is not as strong as the other men, and a constant reminder that he is not good enough which does not help his self esteem. It is what holds him back from being a man
Theme Statement
In the short story "The Glass Roses", Alden Nowlan suggests that one should not conform to what society expects one to become but instead to choose to be ones self.

physically weaker
en touched with his feelings
openly kind and compassionate
the war had a big impact on him, which is seen in his nightmares
warmed by the memory of his past

the Father:
detached from his emotions
lacks compassion
hard and rough both physically and character wise
seems to be unaffected by the war, however it could be why he lacks emotion

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