Short stories receive recognition for many different reasons; some works deal with issues of extreme importance, some introduce new ideas and ways of thinking, some are massively creative and others are skillfully written. The works of Tobias Wolff, Richard Connell and Richard Wright are among the most anthologized works in the English language. However, “Hunters in the Snow,” “The Most Dangerous Game,” and “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” are extremely different when compared on their structure, plot and style. While “The Most Dangerous Game” is an amazing story, “Hunters in the Snow” can only be labeled as mediocre and “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” was very poorly written.
“The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Cornell has all the elements of a great short story. It has a clear theme which is introduced at the beginning of the story and continues all the way to the end. At the beginning, the protagonist Rainsford shows no regard for the animals that he hunts. When he becomes the hunted, he gets to experience what the animals he hunts face. The readers must assume that Rainsford learns a valuable lesson from his experience. The story also has an amazing plot. The narration and dialogue flows well together and the readers feel like they are part of the story. In the end of the story, the effects of deus ex machine was seen as Rainsford appears in the room of Zaroff. The seting was important and Cornell makes a wise choice of having the majority of the story take place on a deserted island in the Caribbean. The structure of the story was slightly poor as it started off slow and with little action. Once the action began, however, it never stopped and the poor beginning was quickly forgotten. Cornell used believable characters which make the story more effective. He has a great writing style and definitely tops the least as the best writer of the three.
“Hunters in the Snow” by Tobias Wolff falls short of being a great story because of its plot and structure. The story focused on three different characters with secrets that the readers are made away of before some of the characters. The plot was not at all believable. It seemed to be more able exposing the characters as who they really are rather than telling a story. The story goes from Tub almost being ran over to Kenny being shot to Tub and Frank bonding over pancakes. Something that Wolff did that was clever and kept the story from being horrible was to indirectly present the characters through their actions and words rather than giving a description of them. Wolff’s use of narration and dialogue was good and the setting was appropriate. There is nothing wrong with his writing style; however, his execution was not the best.
“The Man Who Was Almost a Man” by Richard Wright borders on terrible when it comes to storytelling. The plot is clear and the theme is understood but the story was very badly written. The story focuses on the protagonist Dave who is 17 years old and interested in buying a gun. The narration is lacking and the dialogue could use some polishing. The story is told in third person but only Dave’s thoughts and feelings are known. Dave is a believable character and his story is relatable. The other characters do not seem to be of much importance other than to act as an audience as Dave seeks to become a man. The setting is mentioned but there is very little description. Though we know that the characters are in a farming area, the area is not described. The story’s fame has to be for its theme that deals with racism and its historical truths rather than its effectiveness as a good read.
Writers write for many different reasons and many times their works fall short of meeting their expectations while other times it may surpass what was expected. As readers, we may not know for what purpose Tobias Wolff, Richard Cornell and Richard Wright wrote these works but they have all gained the respect of readers worldwide. Regardless of how well they are written or their believability, they have still proved to be effective. Their themes are all clear, and sometimes, that is all the writers can hope for.