A Deeper Look.

Essay by sdibUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2005

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At first reading this story seems to be a little discouraging. The boy telling the story, the main character Michael Christian, and the other children reside in this home where the Old Head Nurse oversees and there only link to the outside world is a black and white cracked Zenith television set with no knobs, a dime stuck in the channel selector and the sound and picture work at different times. There was the Human Skeleton that would bite people, the Big Boy who ran away every night, and the guy locked away on the sun porch who the Young Doctors were taking apart an arm and a leg at a time. It looks as if there is no hope for these kids.

The segregation between the children in the ward and the nurses is established early in the story. When the Old Head Nurse suggests watching more appropriate holiday programming like Frosty the Snowman Michael Christian responds, "Fuck Frosty!" He wants to see "The Birds."

I think this segregation is further emphasized by the fact that words like "Old Head Nurse" and "Young Doctors" are capitalized; it generalizes the authority figures in this story and conglomerates them all into one group. Michael Christian displays an attitude that doesn't exactly correspond to his name throughout the story. He has dreams of one day being able to do a split onstage like his idol James Brown, so he practices singing and buds an afro. These dreams are initiated and fueled the Young Doctors and Michael Christian embraces them as his hope, that and yearning to see "The Birds." The young man that is telling the story is Michael Christian accomplice in the common desire to the see "The Birds." He obsesses about this movie during the entire story, but I think...