Power 's The Old Bird

Decent Essays

J.F. Power’s The Old Bird, A Love Story tells the story of an elderly and unemployed Mr. Newman who must learn to adapt to a new reality: adapting to a job that is not white-collared. Through this short story, J.F. Power is able to portray the toil and turmoil of emotions that Mr. Newman experiences in the course of his first day at a new job. The author introduces four different characters, all key components to help the reader determine and decide what emotions Mr. Newman may be feeling. Each character is used thoughtfully and expertly to convey the author’s own sympathy for Mr. Newman’s situation. The author cleverly and appropriately names his main character Mr. Newman. Mr. Newman’s own name is a play on his situation and his slow …show more content…

Mr. Newman, lingering on, longed to confide in her, to tell her something of himself” (Powers 6). Mr. Newman wants a personal connection to be made, so he puts on a big smile and makes jokes. He’s awarded easily with a lively smile, one much different from the ones that she had steely put into place. When he describes her smile as “alive”, he really means that the connection had been made with each other. Soon after, he is able to meet his boss Mr. Shanahan. Mr. Shanahan is the very symbol of a businessman. He is well polished, and Mr. Newman is quick to show him he is worth more than a labor job. “For an instant Mr. Newman succeeded in making it plain that he, like any man of his business experience, was meant for better things” (Powers 7). Since Mr. Shanahan is “in charge”, Mr. Newman’s fate and future job is in his hands. “He said it in such a flattering way that Mr. Newman trembled under the desire to be worthy” (Powers 7). He can already feel the weight of Mr. Shanahan’s power, as he struggles to prove to his potential boss just how crucial he can be to their business. When Mr. Newman meets Mr. Hurley, he finds a comfort and companion in him, something that he had been looking for ever since he stepped into the building. “Talking with Mr. Hurley gave Mr. Newman a good feeling. It was man-to-man or nothing with Hurley” (Powers 9). He finds a friendship already starting to blossom when he

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