The House on Mango Street – Sandra Cisneros
Basically a girl (I assume its a girl) describes her family’s new home, which is run down and how it compares to her previous homes and the dream house her family has in their minds.
I Stand Here Ironing – Tillie Olsen
A mother, while ironing, goes over the 19 years she’s spent raising her daughter , wondering why the Teacher wanted her to come in and discuss Emily. She thinks about how Emily was a beautiful baby, but got sick and for awhile was thin and straggly. How Emily didn’t like school, and how she always seemed to be second best to her younger sister Susan who was five years younger. She also talks about having to send her daughter away a couple times when she was younger (once because she had no money to raise her with and once because the social worker thought it was best if Emily went to a special home for convalesce.
A Conversation with My Father – Grace Paley
A woman talks with her father whose having heart troubles. He asks her to write a simple story. She does, but he is not satisfied. They argue and she adjusts the story, before they argue again, continuously adjusting the story. The father sees tragedy in all stories, while thinking his daughter only sees the humor.
The Man Who Was Almost A Man – Richard Wright
I actually didn’t read this. Got tired of it the first five paragraphs and went and read a summery.
The Rocking Horse Winner- D.H. Lawrence.
I read this in high school and didn’t like it. Still don’t really enjoy it that much. Basically there is a woman who marries a man who is unfortunate in business and doesn’t love her. She has trouble loving anyone. But that really has nothing to do with the rest of the story. He just felt like telling us.
She has three children, a son named Paul, a daughter named Joan and another unnamed girl. They hear the house whispering about money, and how they need more of it. Paul asks his mother about it, confusing lucre for Luck and she explains that filthy lucre is money and that luck is what brings you money. That their father is an unlucky man, as must she be for marrying him.
Everyone is kinda disturbed by Paul’s fascination with his toy rocking horse and the strange look he gets when he’s riding it. And apparently he rides it well after growing too old for it.
So one day the Uncle shows up and learns that his nephew has taken an interest in Horse races. Paul explains that he and the gardener have been placing bets and winning large sums of money that they keep locked away. He plans on giving his mother the money in the hopes that the voices will stop. The Uncle doesn’t believe it at first so he asks the nephew who he should bet on in the race at Lincoln. The boy replies Daffodil. The Uncle, who doesn’t believe Daffodil will win as the odds are against her, places a five pound bet for each of them.
Daffodil wins, earning Paul 20 pounds (my keyboard lacks a certain symbol, and if this were now, this 20 pounds would equal about $40)
The Uncle becomes partners with the gardener and the nephew. He takes 5,000 dollars from Paul’s 15,000 pound winnings and takes it to the bank to be given in allotments to Paul’s mother (anonymously, as request by Paul for that would make them unlucky).
Paul’s mother asks for all the money, and Paul says yes, and the wall who whisper start going crazy. Paul’s mother starts to be concerned when she sees her son still playing with his rocking horse and still having this strange look in his eyes. Paul meanwhile is starting to loose, and while the Uncle tells to forget about it, he doesn’t.
One night, the mother comes home after an outing with her husband. She gets this strange feeling and rushes up to her son’s bedroom to find him rocking the horse again. He keeps rocking till he shouts out the winner of the next game and falls over. The mother rushes in, slightly terrified of what has just happened (and Mr. D.H. uses some awkward phrasing here). The son is ill, and the gardener and Uncle place the bet. However, after hearing that he won the race, Paul gushes about how lucky he is, then dies that night.
But the Uncle reminds the mother “Well, your son may have died, but he got you 80,000 pounds”