Analysis Of Gina Berriault's Short Story 'The Stone Boy'

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Gina Berriault’s short story, “The Stone Boy”, is a sorrowful tale, primarily about a young boy who is misunderstood when he performs questionable actions after a great tragedy takes place within his family. Nine-year-old Arnold and his brother, Eugie, live in the deep south where it is their chore to rise at dawn and pick peas while they are still cool. After a tragic occurrence happens one morning Arnold is confused with his emotions and is criticized by his parents for his actions, making him shut down. “The Stone Boy” is an exceptional name for this fictional piece of literature because it is representing a metaphor relating to how Arnold acted after the tragic incident that accrued; like a stone.
Why does Arnold continue to pick peas
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It is obvious that Arnold is scared of how his parents will react to the news, for when he returns home he puts off telling his parents that Eguie is dead until they ask where his brother is (Berriault 387). Arnold's family, including his brother, do not seem to be the most caring folk in the first place. Berriault notes, “Feeling foolish, he lifted his face, baring it to an expected shower of derision from his brother”(385). This passage gives the reader an idea of how the family reacts to others mistakes; with disapproval. When Arnold's parents hear the news they give no attention to him, instead, they go their separate ways to grieve. At this moment it is apparent to Arnold that his parents are upset at him, so he begins to separate himself, as Berriault illustrates in this passage, “If his parents never called him, he thought, he would stay up in the loft forever, out of the way” (387). When Arnold's father and uncle, Andy, decided to ask him what happened, they are dismayed by Arnold's answer and proceed to give him a deathing silent treatment. They take him to the sheiff's office, where innocent Arnold is questioned like a criminal. The Sheriff reported back to Andy and Arnold's father stating that he was too reasonable of a boy, making not feel anything (Berriault 390). Throughout the day Arnold was continued to be ignored and shamed by not only his parents but other family and friends as well instead of being comforted (Berriault 392). Berriault writes that at dinner Arnold's mother could not even look at him (391). Arnold's parents are not understanding that Arnold is just a boy who does not know what to think in a time like this, so they make him an outcast, leaving him in the turbulent waters of his own

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