Paper Six: Language Analysis
"Chemistry," by Tom Drury, is about Keith Lyon and Stella Brand, both working at a secluded, upscale restaurant near Ventura, California called the Road House. On this night a policeman comes in asking about Mr. Geer, a seventy-seven year old man that disappeared from the theater next door. When the cop asks everyone to help him locate Mr. Geer in the woods surrounding the local establishments, Keith and Stella volunteer to pair up and search together.
Keith is a forty-four year old cook who has no other real ambitions, and is content with his mundane station in life. He is a solitary and mellow man who is not easily discouraged by his failed attempts at romance, namely with Stella. He has gradually come to care for Stella, the resident piano player and singer at the restaurant, and tried to date her over the time that they have worked together.
The conflict arises from the tension of their feelings for each other. They have been on two dates previously which ended awkwardly and left Keith a little self-conscious around her, because he still wants to impress Stella and win her over. He sees Stella as a pretty woman who is a little rough around the edges. She is a pessimist, consistently focusing on the negative aspect of things, and is afraid of dying before doing all the things she wants to do. Keith sees all these things but is drawn to her regardless of their incompatible personalities.
This story is told from a limited omniscient point of view, focusing on Keith's thoughts and feelings. This is evident from the way Stella is always described, with more attention to detail about her than anyone else. Also, the environment is noted with a general respect for nature, giving...