Essay about Spilled Salt, a Softer Devil

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In the short stories “A Softer Devil” by Derek Robertson and “Spilled Salt” by Barbara Neely, the titles of the stories affect a possible suggestion of the stories development, they depict the two offenders through their symbolism and also give the stories a religious meaning. First of all the beginnings of the short stories start with an event that, regarding the titles of the stories, could possibly turn into an opposite direction. The beginning of “A Softer Devil” starts with a very negative happening: “Toby shot the dog that always barked at him when he came home from school”. This act seems to be extremely cruel and evil because of its senselessness, arbitrariness and emotionless description that you could say this boy must be…show more content…
Instead he deals calmly with this situation by writing his thoughts in notes on a paper. Furthermore, the situation of having to call his mother and tell her what he has done describes the narrator as “worse situation for Toby” or “he hates putting his grandparents through all this rehab-parole stuff” which indicates that he might feel ashamed for his crime and fears the reaction of his mother and grandparents of possible disappointment which also shows a more vulnerable and softer side of Toby. When meeting the dog’s owners, Toby on the one hand appears very cold, heartless and not empathetic because “apologizing does not seem like a good idea to Toby” and he “would have preferred to look away”. On the other hand this might also be a sign of shame. Although his outer appearance seems emotionless, on the inside he feels very uncomfortable in this situation whereas his insensitive answer “I’m sorry, …. I just fucked up” does not convince as a true apology. That’s when he actually gets called “devil” by the man of the couple “You’ve the devil in you son”. During the story, especially where he must build the scaffold in a church as a form of detention with other criminals, the reader can also see his physical weakness when he gets really exhausted and collapses into the pews. At the end he also might consider his crime as something evil and deserves the consequences for it by

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