English November 10, 2011 Study on Brady Udall Brady Udall is one among the famous contemporary American writers, who is known for his works ‘Letting Loose the Hounds’, ‘The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint’ and ‘The Lonely Polygamist’…
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The thesis statement of this paper is that in his book, Letting Loose the Hounds, Brady Udall provides his characters an opportunity at hope to support his claim that dealing with the themes of sadness, despair and darkness alone cannot make a book candid and real. Jerry, the protagonist and the narrator of Midnight Raid, is a representative of those people who are dealing with the pain of lost love. "Midnight Raid", perhaps the widely acclaimed story of Udall which is also the first story in this book, reflects the themes of darkness and confusion in the beginning itself. Through the simple, crispy and witty narration by Jerry we come to know that Jerry, drunk, is at the backyard of his “ex-wife Amy and her new husband Howard” (Udall) at Scottsdale, Arizona, to see his “seven-year-old son, Tate” and to gift him a goat “without Amy or Howard finding out about it” (Udall). Here, Jerry, who lost his son in the legal battle to his ex-wife Amy, has come to meet him. Though Jerry is aware about the negative consequences of his action, he deliberately puts in an effort to see his son and communicate his love. Though he had a troubled relation with Amy he was a loving father to Tate. Hence, Jerry though convinces himself that his relation with Amy ended due to the indiscretions and betrayals from both sides and that Howard is Amy’s new Husband, he fails to convince the father in him. Jerry, at the moment, is fragmented and is heartbroken. Midnight Raid is essentially a tragic story which has been tamed well to make it candid and real. Jerry as well as other characters portrayed in Udall’s stories is found to be constantly dealing with the confusion whether to accept or to fight their sad circumstances. They are stuck in the battle of wills and are constantly being torn apart between ‘letting go’ and ‘wanting to let go’. In the case of Jerry, we can see that he is confused and worried about his wife who "left [him] to marry this liver-spotted senior citizen with dentures and an artificial leg". He consoles himself at the thought that Howard is rich enough to provide financial security to Amy. His mind is "completely scraped out from the inside" when he finally left his loved ones with Howard. Udall by making Jerry the protagonist of Midnight Raid is purposefully interweaving humor in to the dark rather unpleasant story. Jerry, the narrator and the protagonist of Midnight Raid, was introduced by Udall as a six-foot-three Apache Indian carrying a goat into his ex-wife's back yard in the middle of the night. Udall bestows Jerry with comic sense that does not get stained even at the face of his desperation, which is evident from many of the passages of the story. An instance for this is when Jerry, while narrating the “end of relationship story" states that his “divorce was an honest, smash-mouth affair” (Udall). Udall, in an interview by Robert Birnbaum, regarding the presence of comic in his stories, commented that "a book can't just be all darkness, all dark notes...I owe my characters some opportunity at hope or redemption. It's not going to be the redemption that the reader expects...I respect my characters...I can't just hurt them and kill them just for my purposes...It would be too much for me to do
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