The Schoolteacher's Guest

Essay by mestizagurlCollege, UndergraduateB+, October 2009

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The Schoolteacher's Guest tells the story of Ines, a retired schoolteacher who runs the first hotel in the town, Agua Santa. Her son had previously been killed and his murderer had fled. Years later the murderer returns. Ines kills him and confesses to her best friend Riad Halabi. They bury the body and the whole community help to keep it a secret. It is set in Latin America. The town is described as being quiet, uneventful and cut off from the mainstream of activity; an 'insignificant backwater'. The community is depicted as being friendly, characters 'waving, as usual.' The climate is hot as 'the hour of the mosquitoes' is mentioned in the story and mosquitoes are limited to warm climates. We also are told it is 'on the edge of the jungle.' The community in this story is very close and they look out for each other. People respect each other and 'secrets are kept by good neighbors.'

How much respect you have in the community is not defined by how much money you have or how important your job is. In the story Ines is described as 'mightier than that of the priest, the doctor, or the police.' The structure of this story has a huge effect on how well the story achieves its presentation of the community and other parts in this story. The story starts with a shock but the opening becomes less distressing as the story is explained. Also the way the story moves around in time means the story has more of an impact. The way that the events are set out means at first the story is shocking but then The Schoolteacher's Guest, characters are shocked by the death but it does not seem overly significant. Ines was more concerned with 'calculating...