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The Stone Boy

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Rebekah Galante

on 25 October 2013

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Transcript of The Stone Boy

The Stone Boy by Gina Berriault
Significance of Title
The theme of the "Stone Boy" is death. It is shown not only in the literal death of Eugene, but also the death of the man that Arnold so aspired to be. Eugie's loss means that Arnold no longer has a role model upon which to base his own life. By the end of the story, Arnold goes through a "metaphoric" death of his own. He realizes that his family has no faith in him and seems to want to just shut him out. He isolates himself from himself and from the world. He loses his soul. "... it's come to my notice that the most reasonable guys are the mean ones. They don't feel nothing." -The sheriff (Berriault 253)
Arnold's physical separation is symbolic of the emotional distance that increases throughout the story. Arnold's separation from his family corresponds with the increasing sense of responsibility that he tries to deal with in total isolation. When arnold's family discovers Eugine's body, the narrator states that "sounds sharp as knives were rising from his mothers breast." (Berriault 250) When Arnold hears this, the narrator describes Arnold as "laying still as a fugitive." (Berriault 250) The anguish that the mother expresses is directly opposite from the withdrawal and isolation that Arnold feels.
The stone boy is about a young boy who deals with the death of his brother in a much different way than do his parents and uncle. They grieve blatantly, while he isolates himself and shows little emotion because of his intense shock.
"But when they asked him why he hadn't run back to the house to tell his parents, he had no answer."
"...And it was then that he had felt his father and the others set their cold, turbulent silence against him." (Berriault 251) It shows the different ways people deal with death and tragedy and how the certain way they deal with it can be looked at as weird, uncaring and cold. It shows that not everyone suffers the same way and shows sadness and grief in the same ways. I feel like people can connect to this particular feeling because everyone is different and chooses to deal with hardships in ways that can help them cope but might not always be in ways that others around them understand.
Writing Style
In the writing style, there are different languages, descriptions, and more. For descriptions, the narrator describes the setting, and the looks and actions of the characters. For example: "Arnold was nine, and his brother, Eugie, was six years older" (Berriault 246). That shows that Eugie must know more than Arnold That is important because it lets the reader not only read the story, but also to feel it, and see it. Figurative language is important because it details certain topics through out the story.
Uncle Andy: He is the brother of Eugene and Arnold's mother. He is very fond of Eugene because the boy was very much like him. After the death of Eugie, he immediately sided with the sheriff and regarded Arnold as cold, cruel, and someone who could care less of his own brother. "Andy had taken Eugie hunting an ad given him a knife and a lot of things, and now Andy, his eyes narrowed, sat tall and stiff beside Arnold." (Berriault 251)
Arnold: Arnold is the protagonist of the story. He is the youngest of the siblings and feels unequal to Eugie. Arnold both looks up to and dislikes Eugie because of the power imbalance between them. "Arnold never tired of watching Eugie offer silent praise unto himself. He wondered, as he sat enthralled, if when he got to be Eugie's age he would still be undersized and his hair still straight." (Berriault 249)
Eugene: The oldest child and the older brother of Arnold. He is very fondly regarded by his family and younger brother. Arnold looks up to him and wants to be like him when he grows up. "The very way he slipped his cap on was an announcement of his status; almost everything he did was a reminder that he was eldest-first he, then Nora, then Arnold." (Berriault 247)
The significance of the title is the fact that Arnold kills his brother, Eugie, and he has no way of actually reacting to it. He acts as if he were made of stone. He doesn't rush to go tell anybody, including his parents, and he continues to walk down to the garden to pick peas. When he comes back up to the house he blatantly tells his parents "Eugie is dead" (Berriault 250) when they ask what happened.
The Conflict is that Arnold accidentally kills his older brother, Eugie. He doesn't do it intentionally, and when he does it, he does not immediately return to tell his parents until an hour later when he is finished picking peas. "Arnold set his rifle down on the ground and stood up. He picked up the tub and, dragging it behind him, walking along by the willows to the garden fence he climbed through" (Berriault 249). There is no actual resolution to this conflict.
Conflict and its resolution
The story takes place on a farm. There is much of an impact due to the setting. Since they live on a farm, they go out to the garden to pick fruits and vegetables. Eugie and Arnold went out to the garden to pick peas, and Arnold had brought his gun in case they saw ducks. When Arnold slipped under the wire, "his rifle caught on the wire and he jerked at it. the air was rocked by the sound of the shot" (Berriault 249)
Setting and its impact
The point of view in Stone Boy, was presented by the narrator or third person, to capture the 'view' of all of the characters combined. It is also to make it emotional and intensify the story. Although it is told in third person, the narrator only reads off Arnold's thoughts. For example, the narrator says Arnold thoughts: "He was feeling the same discomfort he had felt when he had watched Eugie sleeping" (Berriault 246).
Point of View
This story depicts the human heart in conflict with itself because deep down Arnold knows that the way he is acting about the situation isn't normal. He realizes that he isn't handling it the way that everyone else is. He comes to the realization that he doesn't remember why he didn't rush up to his parents after Eugie died, all he knew was that he had to finish picking peas.
"It seemed odd to him now that he had not run back to the house and wakened his father, but he could not remember why he had not." (Berriault 253) This shows the shock that Arnold feels, and how this shock contributes to how he copes with the situation. Arnold is the one responsible for the death of his older brother, and therefor feels more guilt and chooses to deal with his guilt by isolating himself even though he knows the way it makes him look. He doesn't know any other way to express his feelings.
The human heart in conflict with itself
The human race
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