Tragedy In Chris Crutcher's Athletic Shorts

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Someone’s whole world and sense of comfortability can be shaken by one moment. Often, these are tragedies. These tragedies can affect their mental and emotional state. Depending on the severity, they can affect someone temporarily or for their entire life. Unfortunately for Lionel and Neal, just fourteen year old kids, the tragedy they experience will stick with them for the rest of their lives. In the novel, Athletic Shorts, author Chris Crutcher uses the literary devices, characterization and tragedy, to set a dark mood for the story, which contrasts with the bright atmosphere created early in the book. Characterization plays a very large role throughout the storyline. Lionel and Neal, the two main characters, undergo many changes as the novel develops. Lionel begins going into high school as a comedic, fun kid who tends to annoy his father. His father is on the more serious end, while his mother seems to better understand Lionel. His mother describes him as “a dreamer”, which paints a clear picture of Lionel as a fourteen year old. As Lionel said early on in the story, “With me, Dad shook his…show more content…
He eventually forgives him, which make both characters’ lives a bit better as they try to move on. However, the novel never returns to the bright mood that the author created early in the story. Additionally, the author never tells the audience what is ends up happening to the characters in their lives. Readers can even argue the book’s mood turns suspenseful at the very end. Chris Crutcher leaves us on a cliffhanger, with Lionel saying to Neal, “I’ll get the Jeepster. I was gonna give myself a day off from school tomorrow anyway. Maybe you and me outta go fishin’” (Crutcher 130). As Crutcher does this, the readers don’t know if the two characters find joy in their lives again. This also develops a possible theme of not taking anything for granted, as well as enjoying life in the
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