Both Canadian short stories "The Concert Stages of Europe" by Jack Hogins and "To Earn My Living" by Gabrielle Roy are first person narrations recounting significant experiences of the narrators' lives. In "The Concert Stages of Europe," thirteen year old Clay tells us about his disastrous experience at a talent show. In "To Earn My Living", Christine, a young adult, talks about her first teaching job. The stories are both similar and different.
These stories are both similar in several ways. For instance, both stories focus on the protagonists' mothers setting a particular goal for them to accomplish, thus living vicariously through them. In Clay's situation, his mother wanted him to be a pianist. "But I just know that you're going to be a great pianist". (Hodgins 26). In Christine's situation, her mother wanted her to teach. "If only you were willing, Christine, to become a teacher...There is no finer profession, none more worthy, it seems to me, for a woman"(Roy 52).
Also, both of these characters had their minds set on their own goal rather than their mothers'. It is unmistakable that Clay had a particular goal in mind despite his mother's desires for him: "I was free at last to concentrate on pursuing the only goal that ever really mattered to me: becoming a Finn"(Hodgins 42). It is also clear that Christine had certain goal she wanted to accomplish despite her mother's wishes for her: "But I've told you, Maman. I should like to write..." (Roy 51). Therefore, it is evident that both Clay and Christine are similar in many ways.
These stories are also both uniquely different. For example, when Clay ended up attempting to accomplish his mother's dream, it ended up turning into a disaster: "What I was going to be was a corpse,