Edgar Allan Poe's The Decapitated Chicken

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Often referred to as the Latin-American Edgar Allan Poe, Horacio Quiroga echoes some of Poe’s characteristics with his mysterious and horrifying short stories. Writing during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Quiroga became known for these morbid, cruel, and perverse stories that were actually mirrors of his own life. One of his short stories, “The Decapitated Chicken,” seems to follow the traditional model of the short story as a literary genre. Furthermore, although very terrifying and fictional, several themes and motifs of the story illustrate issues about society and its neglect towards those with disabilities or other misfortunes. The narrator tells the story from a third person objective point of view; he observes…show more content…
From a literary point of view, the parents would be the protagonists who have the desire to create the perfect nuclear family. Thus, the “idiot” boys serve as the antagonist because of their unhealthy state preventing the parents’ desire. In addition once the parents do achieve their goal of having a health child, they kill it. However, because this third person narrator is so objective, it is open for interpretation on who the protagonist and antagonist are. I personally feel that the four “idiot” brothers take on the role of the protagonist, given that the meaning of the story involves the leaving of people out. They symbolize the oppressed members of society - those who are diseased, poor, unusual, and radically different. On the other hand, the parents take on the role as the antagonists, working against their sons. They fail to show the nurturing that the boys require. The parents symbolize the upper class, healthy, or acceptable people. These members of society always seem to be oppressive towards the lower members of society, such as the idiotic brothers. Even though the brothers can’t talk, which is symbolic of the lower members of society not being heard, they can still feel. No doubt they must be feeling left out, especially when their parents completely neglect them and only spend time with their healthy sister. It is natural for children to desire their parents’ love. In this case, the brothers want to try and find a way to be loved by their parents, or in other words to be accepted by higher society. Good health presents the only remedy. Quiroga’s use of the brick wall serves as a synecdoche suggesting all of the barriers that separate the “idiots” (diseased/lower class) from the healthy, higher class. This metaphor involves an implied tenor representing the children’s’ situation. The vehicle includes all of the connotations that come form the wall. They

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