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The Portable Phonograph
Transcript of The Portable Phonograph
Multiple theme's and messages can be take out of "The Portable Phonograph", but the two that resonated with me deeply was that you should never take things for granted as they could disapear whenever. Another theme is that you don't fully appreciate what you have until its gone.
Characters + Dialogue
Only four characters are mentioned throughout the story. Doctor Jenkins is the main character, the wisest and most resourceful of the group, and a dynamic character. He is the owner of the Phonograph and the small dugout. Three other men are with him at the dugout. Two middle age men who are reading books are flat supporting characters. Lastly, a young, dynamic musician who is a main character in the story and very anxious to hear the phonograph.
This story takes place in a post apocalyptic world. A nuclear war has recently happened and the world has changed significantly. Reminemts of a past civilization and bomb creators are found all around. The actual story takes place in Doctor Jenkins refuge, a small dugout with a canvas door. The social setting holds the ritual of listening to the phonograph very high.
By: Jason Knorr
In "The Portable Phonograph" the point of vew is third person. We are knowing what Dr. Jenkins is feeling and thinking. Multiple, yet subtle hints of foreshadowing are present throughout this short story. "His voice had in it a suitable quality of deep, reverent despair, yet perhaps at the moment, a sharpness of selfish satisfaction."Resulting in Dr. Jenkins hiding the phonograph and keeping it for himself. Literary techniques such as symbolism are also used in this short story. The four books that the Doctor possesses each represent different aspects of humanity. Moby Dick is about the need for thrills and adventure, Shakespeare is about the love and tragedy we come to face in our day to day lives, the Bible is about religion and finally Divine Comedy is about the inner soul on its search to heaven. The true irony in the story is when the Doctor grabs the lead pipe for violence when he is trying to save humanity by keeping the Phonograph. Using violence is what destoryed humanity in the first place.
In the introduction of "The Portable Phonograph" the author starts to describe the setting as a old war torn field with bomb crators everywhere and the blown up remains of old roads. The reader also learns that in a small dugout there is a small fire burning. It is surrounded by four men.
The four men sitting around the fire are each survivors of a post-apocalyptic world. The oldest of the group was Doctor Jenkins. He is the primary resident of the small burrow and the wisest. The youngest, was a young musician who was currently sick. They are reading some of the Doctors books while sitting around the fire. Anxiously they wait till Doctor Jenkins suggests that they listen to the old phonograph, but only because a young musician was with them. All of the men are in awe then they see it.
When the Doctor pulls out his phonograph, each of the men admire it. He mentions that it is only listened to once a week, so to not ware it out. The young musician ends up picking out a record for them to play. He selected a Debussy nocturne, a classical piece which all the other men liked also. The men are blown away with the phonograph and wish they could hear it again.
After the song was finished, the musician silently rose from his seat and promptly left. The two other middle-aged men slowly stood up and we to leave also. They bowed their heads slightly, as to thank the Doctor. He told the to come back in a week, and that they would listen to "New york." Before he went back inside, he spotted four shooting stars which impressed him.
Doctor Jenkins quickly closed his canvas door after looking if any of the men had came back and hurried back into his small encampment. Quickly, he opened the small niche he used to store his phonograph in. After thinking for a breif second, he countineus to put his four books into the small niche as well. Settling down for bed, he sets his sleeping spot up so that he can see the canvas doorway. He drifts into sleep comfortably holding a lead pipe.