"Gryphon" is a short story by Charles Baxter that was published in 1985. The first person point of view Baxter chose allows us to understand the story better. It also allows Tommy to portray his personal feelings toward his substitute teacher, Miss Ferenczi. The diction Baxter uses for Miss Ferenczi is rather interesting. Sometimes, when she talks to the children, she uses words that most forth grade children wouldn't understand. Our understanding of why Baxter chose her complex and confusing diction is to expand the minds of the students. Miss Ferenczi changed Mr. Hibler's forth grade students.
Our first impression of her is that she is unusual when she walks in the classroom with her purple purse and checkerboard lunch box. She proceeds over to the blackboard where she picks up pieces of white and green chalk and draws a large oak tree on the left side of the blackboard.
She tells the class that the room needs a tree in it. Thereafter she proceeds to tell the children a tale about her life. Tommy's mother acts as a foil character for Miss Ferenczi by exhibiting total opposite traits. We see Tommy's mother as the stereotypical, boring kind of housewife. On the other hand, we see Miss Ferenczi as a misleading, untruthful, and mistaken substitute teacher when in all actuality she is only trying to get the children to form their own opinions, but in a rather unusual way.
While reading the story, we interpret each character a different way. There are certain characteristics within each character that tell quite a bit about them. For example, some are static while others are dynamic and some are flat while others are round. Static characters are those that remain the same throughout the story. Dynamic characters are the opposite in that they...