Peter Orner’s The Raft: Narrator, Characterization, Time, Symbols and Setting

Peter Orner’s The Raft: Narrator, Characterization, Time, Symbols and Setting

The Raft “His face is so perfectly round that his smile looks like a gash in a basketball. ” In this essay I’m going to focus on narrator, characterization, time aspect, symbols and the setting. The short story is written by Peter Orner in 2000. The short story is about a conversation between a 12, soon 13 years old boy, and his grandfather, Seymour, who commands a destroyer. It is about war and what a war can do to each individual soldier after killing another human being. The Raft” takes place around the 60’s or the 70’s because the grandfather, Seymour, as lost his short-term memory while he was in duty during the first Eisenhower administration, which takes place approximately between 1953-1957. Another clue that it might be in the 70’s is that there is white shag in the grandfather’s study, which point to it is in the 70’s, because it was well-used back then. His grandfather and grandmother are at the middle class, because the grandfather has his own study with his own desk and the grandmother is sitting by her beauty table, and we know she is a lady.

She is more relaxed and wants the best out of spending time with the oy, besides the grandfather. He wants respect. Like if someone is talking to him he has to see him in his eyes, say ‘sir’ and have a straight face, not smiling because he smiles. Like I said before the grandfather was a captain at a destroyer in World War 2, and he was the one which had to make important decisions. Even though he lost his short-term memory, he still remembers a lot from the war, but every time he tells the story to the grandson, it is different stories.

He is taking it very seriously when telling t to his grandson, which he treats like a soldier (sailor) from the World War. The grandson, who is 13 in two weeks, knows the story the grandfather is telling, because he has heard it several times before. “Oh, Seymour, my God… ” (P. 124 L. 32) – the grandmother disturbs by saying that, after he tells the beginning of the story, but the grandson has to listen so the grandfather can keep on telling, which means that the grandson already knows what will happen next. We also know that the grandmother has heard the story before too.

She knows what he is going to tell to his grandson. The grandmother thinks that it would be better if the grandson was at summer camp instead of hearing the same story over and over again. Already from the start we know who is the main character, first person or third person narrator. In this case the narrator is a 1st person narrator from the boys (grandson’s) point of view. Through his eyes, we are being told about some other characters in the story, and the characterization by the way he describes what the grandfather is wearing; “grandfather’s shoes and white socks.

He’s wearing shorts. He was working on his putting in the driveway. ” (P. 126 L. 11-13). While we talk about the grandfather, the whole story actually is getting told at the grandfathers’ study. Not beginning of the story at his desk, and before he even can start he says to the grandson to stand up and end up at his grandfather’s carpeted white shag, which feels woolly against his bare feet. It is there he notices the cactuses in the room. The cactus can symbolize a thing about the grandfather that he is a tough one like the cactuses prickers.

The grandfather often encourages the grandson to touch their prickers to demonstrate how touch an old boy plant can be, like how tough the grandfather can be to the grandson: “Don’t smile. Just because I’m smiling don’t assume I couldn’t kill you right now. Know that about a man” (P. 124 L. 29-30), it’s like the grandfather is giving him some important advice to remember. When he comes to the point with the “bombing” of the naked Japs he walks over to the closet into his warren of suits. Then it puts many thought going on why they walk into the closet.

It eems weird, but if we go deeper we can all understand why he wants to keep it from the grandmother. This time he tells the story in a different way, which makes the story different from the other times it was told. The closet actually is like a confession box. It’s if you wish to get rid of your sins, you can do it anonymously in a confession box in a church (Christianity). It happens where the priest (the grandson) is sitting next to the sinner (the grandfather). Until that moment the grandson was convinced that the grandfather had never done anything evil or anything not acceptable.

The scene wakes the grandson’s eye up of the fact that all people sin, and that no one is completely innocent. Everyone is not perfect by one hard decision, you can actually feel sinful the rest of your life, and want to tell other people about your problem, and feel that God accept your sin and maybe you’ll feel relaxed and find peace; “… like last time except this time his tears cine so fast theyre like lather” (P. 126 L. 25-36), and then he leaves the grandson in the confessional, shutting the door behind him, like he is leaving the confession boxes in the churches.