Awakening to the World of Posibilities in Charles Baxter's Gryphon

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Charles Baxter's short stories are well-known for the strong presents of ordinary people encountering extraordinary strangers who disturb their lives. “Gryphon” written by Charles Baxter is not an exception. The story is filled with characters that are awaken from their boring lives and transported into a world of possibilities. As a central idea of the story, Baxter's critics often mention “middle America's” conventions, and the effect it has on anyone who does not fit the mold. Within “Gryphon” the reader experiences a few days in the life of fourth grade class; specifically, a few days spent with a unique substitute teacher. The narrative outlines, on many occasions, the unsureness in the face of the unknown. Is the society ready to …show more content…

She sounds sane in one breath and delusional in the next. An other fascinating fact about the title of the story is the spelling of the word gryphon. It is a variant of griffin,which is more popular way of spelling the term. As if a gryphon was not enough, the author choose to use the least popular version of the spelling as well. This is yet another symbol of how truly different, out-of-this-world Miss Ferenczi really is. The preliminary settings are as ordinary as they can be. It is a “Wednesday afternoon” (245) boring classroom between a geography class and an art project. It is quite and peaceful in Five Oaks. In the background of a rural community consisted of “unemployed college graduates” and “stay-at-home moms”(246),Miss Ferenczi is a colorful stranger. She is a breath of excitement to the children's dull lives. She presents herself to the class in a very theatrical manner. First thing she mentions about herself is her royal Hungarian ancestors. Her tale fascinates the young minds. Tommy the narrator of the story, “does not take his eyes of the woman”(246). He notices a curious characteristic of her physical appearance “the two prominent lines, descending vertically from the sides of her mouth to the chin”(247). They resemble Pinocchio, who was never a real boy, but a prominent liar, further emphasizing the way Miss Ferenczi plays with truths and facts. Pinocchio reference is a push-pull phenomena. It brings to the story the argument of

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