Mr. Christopher Smith
“Ralph the Duck”
It is said that the loss of a child is a wound that stays with you forever or that his death is acontradiction of life. Neither one nor the other, both are social stigmatization that perpetuate parents in their pain and do nothing but condemn them to eternal martyrdom. “Ralph the Duck” by Frederick Busch1989 is told through the first person voice of Jack, a 42-year old security guard at a private Northeastern college, taking advantage of the free classes offered to employees there, married to Fanny,both of them mourning the death of their daughter. The main character, a security guard at a college, coaxes a suicidal student out of a snowstorm and navigates the treacherous roads successfully toget her to the hospital where they can save her from all pills she took. Saving the suicidal girl in “Ralph the Duck” doesn’t bring back the security guard’s own daughter, who died very young. He stillhas to live in the aftermath of that, with all the grief and helplessness that come with it. The author uses each of the characters to convey a deeper meaning about real life. Even the mostinsignificant of characters like the dog, the English professor has some form of symbolism behind them. Busch is definitely using the characters to explain some deeper meaning. To be more precise, Busch isusing each of the characters to convey some aspect relating to the narrator.
One example of a literary element is when the author uses the dog as a symbol as part of the structureof the style. The dog appears to symbolize the narrator's current destructive and pathetic lifestyle. When Busch describes how after the dog has been vomiting, the narrator thinks, "He loves whatmakes him sick" (Busch 1016). Like the dog, the narrator shows an apparent lack of concern for the condition of his own health. Another way that one could interpret this statement is the fact Jack could...