Story Under Analysis
The short story under analysis is “One of These Days” written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This story reveals several conflicts and various parts of society using the characters of the story. The author thoroughly creates the image of the city Dentist making the reader see the main things through descriptions and later realize the bigger story behind the scenes using simple analysis and thinking over the story. The paper discusses the usage of various literary elements of the short story in the process of revealing the main idea and the leading character of the story.
The story begins with the description of the day; it is the beginning of the working week, Monday. The weather is warm and rainless as it is described by the author, supposing pleasant moments that happen when office opens and becomes filled with aromas of coffee and nice talks about spending the weekend. However, these pleasant thoughts are roughly ruined by description of the daily routine that the city Dentist has to do as part of his practice. The action of the story takes place in one house, to be more specific, in one room. The room description is scattered through the whole story. The author gives additional details of the Dentists office by portions, revealing the general image of the room, profession and the doctor. Description of the Dentists work is given in an extremely calm tome, with steadiness and relax. The doctor looks through the window, thinks about the weather and possible rain, performing his everyday routine work in a manner specific for a person who knows his job very well. It is interesting that in the end of the story the Mayor mentions the cobweb with spider, its eggs and dried insects on the ceiling of the Dentists office. This small descriptive detail suggests the idea that Aurelio does not care much about the look of his working place due to having a lot of work, as the reader understands that he is the only Dentist in the city and he has a lot of work to do every day. Another idea is that people in the city are not rich and the Dentists income is not large that he cannot afford having a clear or Aurelio has more important questions to solve then cleaning the dust and taking off the cobweb in his office.
Point of view
The story is narrated in the third person what helps the reader look at the situation depicted in the story from the side to be able to observe the conflict and the sequence of events in detail. At the same time, the authors tone is rather neutral making it possible for the readers to make the analysis and draw conclusions during the reading. The narration is unemotional, simple, as the author uses descriptive elements and reveals the characters dialogues without giving them evaluation and not pointing out the emotional part of the conversations. Such easy tone of description lets the reader see the story with the significant attention to detail getting the full image of the events and making specific conclusions during the story.
The language of the story is rather dry strict and ragged. The sentences are short, abrupt and the information given by the author is not full. This method provokes the reader for imagination use and most of the ideas appear in the brain during the reading. It is essential to mention that most of the pictures are clear and bright as the language that Gabriel Marquez uses is simple yet capacious. The dialogue between two men is perfectly given using the short sentences, with lowest level of emotions possible. Some critics mention that the story lacks emotional and descriptive character, however, the author professionally uses the images and character descriptions to create the main idea that he was willing to discuss with the reader.
The main idea of the short story is to show the readers the conflict and give space for imagination to let the thought to develop and to build a solid picture and real view of the situation. The problem of corruption, disrespect and social difference is used with the purpose to show that these problems exist in the world and the conflict takes place in human life. However, people do not try to solve the conflict and say their thoughts openly to the eyes of their opponent. The feeling of discontent between the poor people and the authority is eternal but some people can express their thoughts openly, while most of the citizens cannot. The only thing they can do is to say their true ideas behind the back, make small revenge and never be able to stand out for their interests. At the same time, Gabriel Garcia Marquez points that the authority would always use the citizens for their private purposes. The money that should be spent of social needs will be taken for authority specific needs. Moreover, people who decide to protest will suffer and some of them can even die like the twenty people that the Dentist was reminding the Mayor about.
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After the reader becomes acquainted with the main character of the story Aurelio Escovar, a city Dentist the author sets the initial conflict of the story. The doctor is an ordinary person of the middle class; he learned how to be a Dentist on his own and achieved everything in his life due to his personal traits of character. As the author puts it, Aurelio is an early riser as he is ready to work at six oclock in the morning. He performs the drilling of teeth for two hours without a break, making his job professional and high quality. He is the only Dentist in the city and he has a lot of work to do. However, his routine work is interrupted by the unexpected and unpleasant visit of the city Mayor. Aurelios son announces that the Mayor asks about a possibility to pull his tooth. Aurelio does not like the Mayor and refuses to help him. It is revealing how he emphasizes the fact that he knows that the Mayor can hear him saying that he does not want to pull the Mayors tooth. So much the better. was the Dentists reply to his sons notion that Mayor could hear him speaking.
The reader can see the professional use of contrast, as the characters of the story are very different people. Aurelio Escavar is a clean, humble, and experienced Dentist yet without a professional diploma. He performs his duty of a city Dentist with special pride and honor, trying to make his work perfect and using the instruments according all the rules. The Mayor, however, is a very aggressive, oppressive, and power abusive person. Mayor of the city not only takes the city money, bringing corruption to the city but also kills people directly or not if they start speaking about his corruptive activity. Besides, the Dentist has the name Aurelio Escovar, while the Mayor does not have the name and is referred in the story by his position. In this little detail, the reader can see the real attitude of the author to the main characters of the story as the attitude to the Dentist is full of respect what cannot be said about his attitude to the Mayor of the city.
Plot (Conflict, Climax, Resolution)
The story begins with the Dentist refusing to let the Mayor enter his office, then the Mayor threatening to shoot him. The reaction of Aurelio to this saying is brilliant, as he just calmly and as the author puts it with an extremely tranquil movement he opened the low drawer with a gun in it and agreed to accept the Mayor with the words Tell him to come and shoot me. It is evident that the Dentist is in conflict with himself, as he does not want to help the Mayor and agrees to accept him after the threatening. Another contrasting element here is that Aurelio makes his words and actions contradict with each other as he agrees to let the Mayor in to shoot him, but keeps the drawer with the gun opened.
After that, the author lets the reader see more of the Dentists character as when he sees the Mayor and his face that is half shaved and half has five-day-old hair on it, he becomes softer. The Dentist is a human being and he experiences pity for his patient who was suffering tremendous aches for at least five days. As it is mentioned about the Mayors state: …many nights of desperation in his dull eyes, after this view, the Dentist closed the drawer and decided to help the man in pain.
The conflict of the story started with the Mayors words to shoot the Dentist and has a continuation when Aurelio announces that the sore tooth has to be pulled away without anesthesia. The words that were told to the Mayor at that were: Now youll pay for our twenty dead men. The Dentist decided to use his power in the current moment when the Mayor was under his control. Although many specialists mention that there was no irony used in this short story, it seems that it can be seen in several specific moments. The moment when Mayor becomes suspicious about the decision of pulling his tooth without anesthesia, he asks the Dentist why, however, the latter is ready with rather ironic answer: Because you have an abscess. The answer is totally ironic reason as the doctor could use anesthesia especially when the patient is suffering abscess. Finally, the Dentist is ready to pull out the tooth and experience some sort of revenge that he was able to produce on Mayor. Aurelio hates the Mayor with significant passion and cannot hold his words about the twenty men that were killed due to Mayors actions. The author, however, does not give the reader all the reasons and explanations of the events, and the real situation can be revealed by guessing and supposing. By the end of the story the reader should think that the main themes are revenge and power of hate, but in fact the main theme of the story is harmonious use of structure elements of the story that create tension from the very beginning until the end of the story. The climax of the story is tense yet the narration is rather dynamic and fast as it is a short story.
After the Mayor has recovered from pain, he leaves, asking Aurelio to send the bill. Answering the question about the address where the bill should be sent, the Mayor replies, “Its the same damn thing”. Aurelio asked an alternative question with two destinations, one of which is the Mayors house and another one the city office. In this moment the revenge is happening on the Mayors side when the letter stresses that the city money are under his control and that the pain he suffered paying for twenty dead men is paid and he is free to continue corruption in town without the slightest feeling of remorse. The resolution of the story is revealing as both characters remained with their own interest and power. The Dentist is now able to continue his work and the Mayor can come back to his corruptive actions. The short period of time when the power belonged to Aurelio ends with the final phrase of the story. The conflict of the poor dentist and the Mayor of the city who is free to do whatever he wants is over. The revenge takes place from both sides, leaving just a slight feeling of satisfaction for the Dentist and constant feel of power for the Mayor.
The main idea of the story is to show the conflict between two different social layers that are trying not to interact in everyday life. It is revealing that the Mayor was suffering for more than five days and spent nights without sleep and was trying to overcome pain in his chin, as he was not willing to come and see the doctor. The Dentist at the same time, does not want to see the Mayor who takes all the city money and causes deaths of other poor people for the sake of his prosperity. The conflict between the classes proves that human beings are unique creatures that can exist in one social group in the state of constant tension. The tension is the leading atmosphere of the story. The same as the feeling before the rain, when the person experiences advanced atmosphere tension right before the rain. The description of weather adds this feeling to the story in general. The starting sentence mentions that the weather is rainless. After that, Aurelio has a thought that closer to the afternoon it rains and finally after the Mayors tears the conflict settles down and the tension of the story decreases.
The Mayors response gives characteristics to the positions he occupies in town and the authority he holds in the city. The last phrase of the story shows the final and current situation in the city. No matter which place the Dentist chooses to send the bill, the city and its poor citizens will be the ones who pay that bill. The dialogue between the father and son supposes the continuation of the story and it becomes evident for the reader that the Mayor will finally receive the Dentists help.
As it was mentioned earlier, many critics do not see the use of irony in this short story. However, there are a few moments that are rather ironic or seem to be with the shade of irony. The first ironic statement was in Aurelios phrase of allowing the Mayor to come and to shoot him. Nobody can be serious when giving permission to other people to come with the arms to their office or house and having the purpose of shooting the owner. This irony is strongly covered with tension of the whole situation as the Dentist also had the gun and was ready to use it. At the same time, the Dentists phrase shows that he is a kind person with the sense of humor but ready to every possible development of actions. The second episode where the author is using the irony is when Aurelio gives the Mayor the reason of not using anesthesia. The answer was rather ironic and the reader becomes confused whether it is a true or fictive reason. The Mayor was also confused but he agreed to suffer the pain for the short period in order to become relieved from his bigger pain.
The short story usually does not have many symbols that have significant importance and meaning to the story, however, Gabriel Marquez mentions to use the most intense symbols here. First symbol is the eyesight and the eyes of the main characters; however, this symbol is interlaced with another symbolic element of doors in the Dentists office. In the beginning of the story the Dentist says rudely that he is not home and that it is good that Mayor hears his words and see that the Dentist is not afraid of him. However, when the Mayor enters the office, Aurelio cannot say the rudeness anymore and he immediately decides to help his patient. From this moment, the eyes of the Mayor are constantly on the Dentist while the latter tries not to look on the Mayor and hardly speaks to him. Eyes symbolize true relationship, real attitude and here the reader can see that both characters can express their real attitudes towards each other only when they do not see each other. The same situation happens in the end of the story when the Mayor does not look into the Dentists eyes when saying that the city money and his finance are the same. Probably the Mayor experiences some remorse for his actions and for his high level of authority in the city but he does not want to be responsible for his actions as well. His refusal to look into the Dentists eyes and the word “damn” that he uses in his phrase, show that he is probably not pleased with the truth and he is not ready to reveal it openly to the Dentist. Hence, in such a way the Mayor proves the fact that he has significant authority, he maybe even fells guilty at this moment but at the same time, he is in the state of resignation to this fact.
The short story written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez reveals the conflict situation between two main characters of the story the Dentist, Aurelio Escovar and the Mayor of the city. The story is written in a specific manner of Gabriel Garcia Marquez that makes it possible for the reader to use the power of imagination and analytical skills in order to see the real story between the lines. The author reveals the problems of corruption, revenge, humanity and the power of the system. The poor will never be able to understand the authority and there will always be a conflict between them. The author shows that the conflict can be open but social roles, class and position of people in the society will always shadow it. The author manages to use the literary elements to their full capacity to produce the solid effect upon the reader. All structural elements of the short story including theme, idea, plot, characterization, symbolism and other are used to reveal the single idea of the story and the message of the author.