Criticism of "Silent Passengers"

Essay by ewulf37High School, 11th grade October 2014

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Emma Wulfhorst

October 24th, 2014

BCC 158 - Intro to Lit

Mid-Term Paper

Authors commonly use the manipulation of time in their writing to create different moods and tones in their stories. In the short story "Silent Passengers" by Larry Woiwode, the author uses a manipulation of time to convey an anxious tone and express the feeling of confusion that comes with loss of control.

This story is a heartbreaking tale about the Steiner family, who experience every parent's worst nightmare when their nine year old son, James, is hospitalized following a critical accident that left him speechless and unable to walk unaided. The story explores this personal tragedy from the intimate and introspective perspective of the father. The author's main focus is the father's internal battle and struggle to come to terms with his son's accident, and how much he blames himself for it.

Throughout this story there are many moments of foreshadowing and flashback.

The first use of foreshadowing is early in the story. " exercise mat of the kind the physical therapist had recommended." (Woiwode 49) The mention of a physical therapist leads the reader to believe one of the characters might have some form of disability that is being taken care of.

Another hint as to what might be revealed later on in the story comes soon after. "And since James hadn't spoken for two weeks, the incident had set the twins to whispering about James…" This quote gives nod to an incident. This is an immediate clue to the reader that something must have happened to the boy, James. It must have been something serious enough to cause him to be mute.

A third example of the author's use of foreshadowing is when a hospital is mentioned. "He'd spent that time at the hospital...