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Author Topic:   The Dwarf
Junior Member
posted 05-19-2002 04:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ambermarie84   Click Here to Email ambermarie84     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can anyone give me examples of how the dwarf in The Dwarf tries anything to be viewed as a normal person? I have read the story several times but, I just can't pick it out. someone please help. I am terrible at this english stuff.

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posted 06-01-2002 12:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for TygerSun   Click Here to Email TygerSun     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did you really read the story? Because I think when the dwarf looks at the funhouse mirror and pretends to be taller, that is when he is trying to be like a normal person.

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Mr. Dark
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posted 06-09-2002 02:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr. Dark   Click Here to Email Mr. Dark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Dwarf is actually a pretty complex story. It deals with issues of secrecy, compassion, cruelty, social normalcy, etc.

The dwarf certainly goes into the mirror house to see himself as normal in the mirror. But his writing is also an effort to be normal. Because he is abnormal and has no real social outlet, his writing lets him, at least at some level, communicate with his culture. The excerpt from the novel he wrote seems auto-biographical and lets the reader know the dwarf was precluded from any vestige of a normal life. Going to the mirror house and writing, are two ways he tries to be normal.

I'm not sure I see evidence in the story that he tries to be viewed as normal by others. He is working on trying to view himself as normal.

Ralph, the mean guy, represents man's total lack of compassion for others. In fact, he is not just apathetic, he is cruel and without any social conscience. At some level, Ralph is a sociopath.

Aimee clearly represents the compassionate side of mankind; but in a typical Bradbarian twist, her effort to manifest that compassion leads to an act of emotional violence that is just horrendous in its impact on the dwarf. Compassion is a good in the story, but there is some risk in trying to "do" it.

Ralph's comments that the dwarf has this secret seems to go back to Nathaniel Hawthorne's themes in "The Minister's Black Veil" and "Young Goodman Brown," which is that each man carries hidden parts of himself that he cannot bear to have known by those outside themselves. Ralph, evil pig that he is, is sensitive to the dwarf's secret. Ralph also knows how to manipulate that information kept in secret to deliver the greatest amount of emotional destruction possible.

Ralph also recognizes that the dwarf has a level of pride that won't let him become a part of the community because it would mean revealing his secret and his hurt -- and the dwarf is not willing to do that. This pride also means that efforts to assist him -- even good-hearted ones -- could be rejected by the dwarf, who would not want to accept "pity".

Again, by implication, mankind has to deal with these emotional issues of self-protection and secrecy. We remain isolated when pride, fear, hatred, and doubt keep us apart from others.

Aimee talks about the idea of compensatory capabilities -- that people deprived in one area (in this case a normal body) are compensated in other areas ("He's got a soul as big as all outdoors").

It is possible that both of you would be well served by going back over this story and reading it more carefully in order to see what Bradbury is saying about the human condition. This is what makes Bradbury great -- that he is able to create these apparently simple stories that can point out so many aspects of what the human condition really is. HIs gift with language is a wonderful plus. But the truth is that his best stories have real bite.

Also, as an aside -- don't belittle literature until you have some sense of the depth represented in it.

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