Character Analysis for "The Portable Phonograph" by Walter Van Tilburg Clark

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA, January 1997

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Walter Van Tilburg Clark's short story, The Portable Phonograph, is a

tale about the last survivors in the world after the total destruction of a war.

The author gives clues and hints of this throughout the beginning by writing in

a narative voice and describing the scene in dark war-like terms. The

characters are then introduced as a group of men huddled around a fire. The

older of the men, Doctor Jenkins, is the leader and his character is full of

personality that can be analyzed by the reader. He is the owner of the shelter

that they meet in. This paper will point out the different aspects of the old

man in this story and state conclusions that can be drawn from them.

The men in this story are obviously amused by the slightest little things.

They occupy themselves through book readings from a collection that one

man has.

Each of the men has their contribution to the group and together

they endure a time of devastation by entertaining each other. The older man

has a record player that he brings out once a week for the listening pleasure

of the group. He is very proud of this treasure. It has sustained through these

hard times just as he has and he limits his use of it to make it last. He owns

only three steel needles and he gets one out to use because on this particular

occasion, their is a musician visitor with them. The other men act as excited

as children. They listen to the record and then leave the doctor's house.

Doctor Jenkins is nervous and suspicious at the end of the story when

the other men leave. 'With nervous hands he lowered the piece of canvas

which served as his door, and...