Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Short Stories

The short stories section of Humor Me is made up of pieces of fiction that originally are presented one way, but toward the end of the piece an ironic twist of fate occurs. The first story, Sherman Alexie’s “Assimilation, concerns a husband and wife that were separated along racial lines. The wife, Mary Lynn, decides to remedy her growing dissatisfaction with her marriage by sleeping with a Native American man. At the end of the story it is revealed that both husband and wife are experiencing the same sense of disillusion, however they overcome it by realizing in an ironic twist of fate that their love is stronger than a racial divide.
The next piece, “Nelson’s Run”, depicts an affluent white man’s view of race in relation to romantic relationships. Nelson’s father personifies the latent racism of upper middle class America in that he sees not only women inferior but non-white women inferior to himself as well. However, when he begins dating a Polynesian woman Nelson begins sleeping with her and discovers that she is the one taking advantage of Nelson’s father rather than visa versa. This revelation as well as the somewhat comical murder of Nelson’s father at the story’s end contribute to the story’s humorous qualities.
The shorter pieces by Ray Gonzales that make up the remainder if the fiction section within Humor Me play with the reader’s idea of reality by offering up long, almost run-on like narratives that begin somewhat believably and end in a dream-like ridiculous fashion. Komodo Dragon concerns a Komodo Dragon in the narrators backyard that by the end of the narrative has been washed into a trash compactor. The Jalapeño contest begins believably with two brothers having a Jalapeño eating contest and ends with images that include a brother levitating and a Jalapeño angel. Gonzalez does not make it clear weather these images are real or imagined, thereby heightening the humor of the stories.

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