A Taste of Blackberries: Short Stories Comparison Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: May 3rd, 2019

Although Hunnicut’s and Norris’s stories of the same title, “Blackberries,” are set in completely different environments and feature completely different characters, the two authors manage to touch upon surprisingly similar issues.

Plotwise, the two stories have little to no elements that make them similar to each other; one might think that blackberries would be the glue that would hold the two stories together and suggest the least bit of cohesion; however, the given element seems strangely setting the two stories apart to even further degree.

On the one hand, there is a clear indication that blackberries as a symbol are used in the same way in both texts; in fact, the same words are used to describe the process of tasting the berries: “She mashed it with her tongue, chewed and swallowed” (Hunnicut 72) and “The boy put the blackberry in his mouth. He rolled it with his tongue, feeling its irregularity, and crushed it against the roof of his mouth” (Norris 74).

However, despite the similarities, the aftertaste left by the blackberries is different in each novel. While in the first piece, the berries are used as a symbol of the relationships of the couple that have probably themselves in a dead end, in the second story, blackberries symbolize youth and hope.

Moreover, in the story of a boy and his father taking a walk across the forest, blackberries appear to cement the friendship between them, therefore, allowing the readers to see the process of bonding between the father and his son in a very innocent and at the same time touching way: “When he laughed his father saw that his mouth was deeply stained.

Together they picked and ate the dark berries, until their lips were purple and their hands marked and scratched” (Norris 73); in the first novel, the berries, on the contrary, are supposed to embody the feeling of hopelessness that both the husband and the wife found themselves in, as well as the lack of connection between the two.

When it comes to the themes and issues raised in both novels, the similarities between the stories, however, come out in full blue. Even though Norris’s story seems to have a much more upbeat tempo as the process of bonding between the father and the son is described, as soon as the two return from their forest walk, a conflict unwraps at the end of the novel: “His mother’s face was red and distorted, her voice shrill” (Norris 73).

The characters are very diverse in both short stories, yet there is a clear link between them. To start with, none of the stories has a protagonist – there is no good or bad character, but simply people with their complex personalities, and who happen to be in complicated situations.

In Hunnicut’s story, neither the husband or the wife are to blame for the wall of alienation between them; or, to be more exact, each of them is to blame to the same extent. Likewise, in Norris’ short novel, the mother and the father start a conflict out of nothing simply because they have stuck in their daily routine

Speaking of the settings in both stories, one must mention that, despite the seeming dissimilation between them, these settings, in fact, have more in common than meets the eye. For example, though Hunnicut’s story takes place somewhere in the suburbia, while Norris clearly places her characters in the realm of countryside. However, both places are quiet and inviting, which emphasizes the conflicts between the characters to an even greater degree.

Two separate worlds created by two different authors, the two stories share certain features. Even though set in different universes, they have a lot in common; and, weirdly enough, major differences in them often contribute to the creation of even stronger links between the stories.

Works Cited

Hunnicut, Ellen. “Blackberries.” Literature: A World of Writing Stories, Poems, Plays, and Essays. Ed. David L. Pike and Ana Acosta. London, UK: Pearson Longman. 2010. 71–73. Print.

Norris, Leslie. “Blackberries.” Literature: A World of Writing Stories, Poems, Plays, and Essays. Ed. David L. Pike and Ana Acosta. London, UK: Pearson Longman. 2010. 73–75. Print.

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