This essay explores De La Garza’s “How High Deer Jump Son”, a narrative that pertains to the evolving life of the protagonist: from boyhood to adulthood, from sexual animal to rational/emotional animal, etc. De La Garza’s fiction is as ordinary as life is…
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This paper illustrates that in the first part of the story, the first-person narrator tells about his coming schools days. What interest him is the science subject for it will explore sex education; he calls it pornography. The choice of the word suggests the sexual appetite of the protagonist. And in the last part of the story, the reader is able to know how far the protagonist has changed. From a sexual animal in his boyhood, he becomes a grown rational man; love for him becomes more emotional than sexual. Flashback is a special feature of De La Garza’s fiction. Such technique of storytelling allows the reader to see and perhaps compare the character’s life from the past against the present. The protagonist in the story is narrated, or narrates himself, from his varied life years. On the one hand is his 12th birthday, and on the other is the death-day of his wife. In essence, flashback brings the contrast of a little boy and an old man, of life and death. In each period of the protagonist’s life, each has its own characters and characterization. In his younger years, the characters are the people that surround him in his home, school, and community. His father is the most prominent among the characters of this time-period. The narrator describes his father as a traditional American man: hunter, alcoholic, and sexually repressed. It is apparent that the son and the father in the story substantially share their sexuality or view of women. In a particular episode, the son finds a pornographic magazine hidden in his father’s closet -- a sign of repressiveness. Conversely, the protagonist’s mother is relatively conservative. When the mother caught her son flirting with a girl, she slapped him and ordered her son to go to his room. The characters in the story are almost an antithesis to each other: sexual father versus asexual mother, the boy-protagonist against his big brother, and so on. What is fascinating in the story is the dialogue used by the fiction writer: ordinary and day-to-day. Inside a bus, for instance, the boy-protagonist meets his classmate with a pornographic magazine in his hands. The dialogue goes this way: [And] so I looked over the seat and he hit me on the head and said Ever Seen Pussy and I said Yeah and he laughed and he said Look and he showed me a Playboy. This dialogue is very common especially to children in the contemporary West. One could decipher that the story is arguably drawn from one’s life experience. Although the flashback technique is quite irregular and confusing at times, the dialogue is not. The dialogue used in the story helps the reader understand the mind of the characters. With confusing flashback, the plot becomes relatively blur as well. De La Garza’s fiction, as it appears, is no longer fiction; it is non-fiction. The narrative is chaotic. Yes, there are scenes that are clear to the reader; nonetheless, the plot is as loose as life itself. The order in the story is almost absent. On the other hand, dialogues and characterization facilitate the reader to see the story in a somewhat fragmented yet relatively organized fashion. The climax of the story seems to be twofold: the doe hunting and the birthday party. The boy-protagonist undergoes a ritual popular in his ancestor -- that is, hunting. The most thrilling part of the hunting was whether or not the boy will shot down a doe. Surprisingly, the doe was pregnant and the boy killed them both. At the party, the climax was whether or not the girl named Theresa was going to feel the way the boy felt. In general, the story is about the changing sex/love life of the protagonist.
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“How High Deer Jump Son by Stefan De La Garza Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/literature/1390433-how-high-deer-jump-son-by-stefan-de-la-garza-evolving-life.
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