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The White Circle
Transcript of The White Circle
"The fork’s whizzing descent was accompanied by that peculiar
ripping noise. Anvil must have jumped instinctively. The fork missed
him by several feet.
For a moment Anvil stood absolutely still. He turned around and
saw the fork, still shimmering from its impact with the floor. His face
became exactly the pale green of the carbide we burned in our
acetylene lighting plant at the house. Then he looked at me, at the
expression on my face, and his Adam’s apple bobbed queerly up and
down, and a little stream of water trickled down his right trouser leg
and over his bare foot.
“You tried to kill me,” he said thickly.
He did not come toward me. Instead, he sat down. He shook his
head sickly. After a few sullen, bewildered moments he reached into
his shirt and began hauling out my apples one by one.
“You can have your stinkin’ old apples,” he said. “You’d do that
for a few dried-up little apples. Your old man owns everything in sight.
I ain’t got nothin’. Go ahead and keep your stinkin’ old apples,” (Clayton-4) The Excerpt Setting About the Author Character Study Tucker, chose an apple tree as his 12th year birthday gift instead of the fine colts his father was offering him. When his friend-Anvil, eats the apples from the tree and they get in a fight, Tucker decided to kill Anvil using a pitchfork and in the end, instead of being angry, Anvil becomes really sad and walks away. Plot Summary This story is a modern realistic formula and consequently has flashbacks. Most of the story is shown by the two boys' action, but there is a little bit of summary exposition about their friendship's background. The theme of how one person effects another is perhaps represented by how Anvil's father who is half crazy, temperamental and rude is what Anvil grows up to be. Anvil also has an impact on Tucker, because Tucker also becomes mean when Anvil treats him in the such manner. For example Tucker says, "“Uncle Sweetie . . . Uncle Peetie, Tweetie Son-of-a-bitch Anvil," (Clayton-2). Theme Diction There are two major themes in this short story. They are: Tone Narrative Point Of View Clayton, John Bell. "The White Circle". Points of Departure. New York:Bantam Publishing, 1967. 31-39 Work Cited John Bell Clayton Short Story Analysis Loss of innocence is shown by Tucker when he plans to kill Anvil. This loss of innocence is shown by,"I was lying there with a towering, homicidal detestation,planning to kill Anvil—and the thought of it had a sweetness like
summer fruit," (Clayton-2). He goes through archetypal rite of passage because he changes from a nice and caring to angry person and the reason behind this change might be the transition from childhood to teenager. John Bell Clayton was an American author and is the author of this short story “The White Circle”. Clayton was born in Craigsville, Virginia in 1907. In 1947, he won the O. Henry Award for “the White Circle”, 10 years later the story was made into a television series called Rendezvous. Perhaps because he grew up in a farm, he could connect Tucker's life with his own and therefore make the story more realistic and engaging. This story is written in “First Person Point of View”. First Person Point of View is a narration in which the story is being narrated by one character. In this story, Tucker is narrating the story because he refers to himself as “I”.
“There were times when I had no desire to kill Anvil. I remember the day his father showed up at the school. He was a dirty, half crazy, itinerant knickknack peddler. He had a club and he told the principal he was going to beat the meanness out of Anvil or beat him to death. Anvil scudded under a desk and lay there trembling and whimpering until the principal finally drove the ragged old man away. I had no hatred for Anvil then,” (Clayton 34). •The characters are speaking in a typical, rural slang.
•However, the two protagonists, though from the same rural setting, are somewhat of a difference in speech. Tucker’s speech is more proper English wherein Anvil’s is typically rural slang. This can be stereotyped by saying, that Tucker’s speech is more proper because of how much more financially stabled Tucker’s father is than Anvil’s father.
•“I let go with the rock and it hit a limb with a dull chub sound and Anvil said, “You’re fixin’ to git it—you’re real-ly fixin’ to git it,” (Clayton 33).“I would like to have the apple tree below the gate,” (Clayton 32).
•Perhaps, Clayton had wanted the reader to have a change in perception about Tucker's personality because even though, Tucker comes from a more financially stable family, he still had somewhat of an "evil" mind. Symbolism •The Number ‘13’ - is typically considered unlucky by the English (Tucker’s ancestry). There are 13 apples on the tree every year, which could represents that there is going to be something unlucky happening because of the apples.
•The Apple - is a symbol of temptation, the fall of man, and sin. Tucker had always tried to be nice and patient with Anvil even though, he often harassed Tucker. However, when Tucker found Anvil eating the apples off his tree he suddenly felt he’d had enough of him.
•The White Circle – is a symbol of evil intention, and therefore the setting of hell. The White Circle is also, ironic because generally, white is a symbol of purity but, in the story the hayfork's landing is inside the white circle. •The setting of “The White Circle” by John Bell Clayton can be described as “HELL”.
•“Hell” because an apple is a symbol of temptation, the fall of man, and sin. This symbol relates to “hell” as, you could say that it was the reason that each of the characters portrayed “evil” intentions at some point in the story.
•Tucker’s father had offered that he takes any of the finest colts of Augusta County, Virginia but, Tucker had picked the apple tree instead. Consequently, the conflict was caused by the apple tree.
•“Now do you suppose,” he asked, in that fine, free, good humour, that if I were to offer you a little token to commemorate this
occasion you could make a choice," (Clayton 1)? The effect of one person on another Loss of innocence Clayton had used symbols to have a strong effect on the reader. This effect of the symbols also relate to the setting of “hell” as, it is a place of evil, rage and sinful actions. Anvil:-
-He is a protagonist, who struggles to find food, shelter and a sense of belonging, who is possessive. You can tell that he is hungry because he eats one apple and saves the rest for later.
- “… now there perched Anvil, callously munching one of my thirteen apples and stowing the rest inside his ragged shirt…,” (Clayton 31).
-He didn’t have a place to call home, unlike Tucker who comes home to a farm, a house and a loving father. “I remember the day his father showed up at school. He was a dirty, half crazy, itinerant knickknack peddler,” ( Clayton 34).
-He felt like an outcast and felt no one liked him for his dad. “They hate me because my old man’s crazy,” (Clayton 35).
-Is also a protagonist, who is kind but is over protective of the only thing that is fully his, and that is his apple tree.
-Tucker was the only one that likes Anvil even though he was mean and abusive just like his father.
-“They don’t hate you,” I lied. “Anyway I don’t hate you.” “That was true,” (Clayton 35).
-To tucker, both Anvil and the apple tree meant something, but to the rest of the world they were not needed, useless thing. But when compared, Tucker had more possession for the apple tree rather than Anvil, because he tries and kill Anvil for the apple tree. -One of the tones in this short story is suspense. -You remain unknown of what is going to happen, quite a few times in this story, for example when the hayfork was dropped.-The question that rises when you read that part is, “Is the nice, sweet Tucker who once saw Anvil as a friend, can go to the point where he felt he had to kill his friend over some apples?”
-“I was lying there with a towering, homicidal detestation, planning to kill Anvil- and the thought of it had sweetness like a summer fruit. There were times when I had no desire to kill Anvil.” Clayton 34).