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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 885

Sowers and Soil

  1. In Jacob Austin’s Scrabble Goes to the Vet:

    1. What does the neighbor’s information tell us about John?
    2. What kind of character is John? A protagonist? A victim? A stooge?
    3. Will John and his demon cat live happily ever after, or will they be eventually apprehended?
  2. In Morris J. Marshall’s Lucid Window:

    1. Why does the narrator’s father seem unconcerned when Mrs. Johnson doesn’t come home by 7:00 pm? Why is the boy frightened?
    2. What stages does the narrator traverse in his feelings about his mother between childhood and the ultimate reconciliation?
    3. Does Mrs. Johnson seem to blame her parents’ rejection for her mental illness?
  3. In Charles C. Cole’s Notes From a Normal Boy: What “lesson” does the narrator seem to learn? What kind of personality does he represent? Is the title to be taken literally? Do you consider him a “normal boy”?

  4. In Michael R. Burch’s Unlikely Mike:

    1. Who or what are Dickey? The Sheep Boy? Pan? David Cruse? What “dichotomies” do the allusions refer to?
    2. What are the narrator’s “mutilations,” and what fantasy does the narrator represent?
  5. In João Ventura’s The Umbrella Farm:

    1. To what extent are the names Jeff Rain and Jean Lapluie similar?
    2. What is the function of the literal “farm”? Why are umbrellas grown rather than produced in a factory?
    3. How does the ending emphasize the difference in Mr. Rain’s and Manolo’s attitude toward experimentation?
    4. Where are the people from who actually plant and grow the umbrellas? What does the combination of planters, location and the prospective umbrella distributor imply in terms of British and world economic policy?
    5. What form does the story take? Social realism? Magical realism? Classical fable? Modern fable? Something else?

Responses welcome!

date Copyright © January 4, 2021 by Bewildering Stories
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