Paring Knife Short Story Essay

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Stories may appear to be simple if not closely examined for symbols that add foreshadowing and additional meaning. The short stories "The Paring Knife" and "Cranes" show how symbolism can be used to foreshadow and add more meaning to stories. "The Paring Knife", a short story written by Michael Oppenheimer in 1982, follows the discovery of an old paring knife that a couple lost after an argument. "Cranes", a short story written by Peter Meinke in 1987, discusses a married couple out on a marsh watching cranes. Both stories use symbolism to make the reader think on a deeper level. During the next couple of paragraphs, both stories will be discussed on how symbolism plays an important role in the meaning of their stories. While reading "A…show more content…
Oppenheimer's mission in describing the knife is to make it the essence of the couple's fight. The paring knife adds both foreshadowing and additional meaning to the story. "Cranes" is a different kind of story compared to the one above. There is symbolism used to foreshadow the end of the story, but it is even more hidden in "Cranes" than in "The Paring Knife". The main foreshadowing element comes in the form of a shower curtain. "They leaned forwards in the car, and the shower curtain spread over the front seat crackled and hissed." (Meinke p. 496). The shower curtain foreshadows the death of at least one character in the story. Keeping a shower curtain specifically in the front seat is unusual and the author makes sure to include those details to grab the reader's attention. Although the ending of the story is not completely clear, we can gather that someone died based on the cranes. "Suddenly, the two cranes plunged upward" (Meinke p. 497). Although it is common for birds to take flight, the author uses words that suggest the birds were motivated to take flight immediately. The reason the birds take flight immediately is the result of a gun firing. Meinke also makes sure to say two cranes to symbolize the couple. One interpretation of the ending is that both characters die and the cranes symbolize the couple going towards

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