The formation of healthy relationships is crucial to the survival of the human race: parents to child, spouse to spouse, neighbor to neighbor, all are equally important for society to function. In the short stories “Ballet” and “A Wanderer”, the authors create relationships that were on the brink of destruction, which adds immense amounts of conflict to the plot. For example, in Pete Fromm’s “Ballet”, the young narrator attempts to mend his parents strained relationship, due to his father’s infidelity, causing their family dynamics to be originally deemed doomed. Likewise, in Josip Novakovich’s “A Wanderer”, fourteen-year-old Neda attempts to cross the racial barrier, bringing kindness to a refugee, an action her parents were skeptical of. These bildungsroman stories showcase children having more maturity compared to their older, more closed-minded parents. By means of dialogue, color-light symbolism, and point-of-view Fromm and Novakovich develop dynamic relationships which question the norms of society.
In “Ballet”, the young narrator, only referred to as “Flash”, is overwhelmed with emotions and memories as the Christmas season is fast approaching. Usually, the holiday season is filled with joyous carols and family traditions; however Flash’s experiences resemble the bitter aspects of winter, being cold, frigid, and isolated from his surroundings. This tone of isolation and sadness is present through the authors motif of “dark” objects, “down the block our house was