Mark Halliday: A Thematic Case Study

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Short stories carry as much weight as a novel but in a more compact piece of work. Word choice is carefully chosen, instances in plot progression are planned out to the very second, and the impact the authors want to create is made with subtle details. In the Thematic Case Study section titled Remarkably Short-Short Stories, a selection of stories that barely break four pages in length, but still are very unique and well-written works. Two key components in these stories are their length and format; these components are major in creating a message or simply an entertaining story. Mark Halliday uses a shorter story to highlight how quickly life can pass by with his story “Young Man on Sixth Avenue.” Halliday begins the story and spends almost half the story describing this young man in Manhattan during the late 1930’s and how he strode through New York proud and “his head was up in the sharp New York wind…” Much of the story is spent talking about one day in this young man’s life, where he sees life as this long opportunistic experience, but as the story draws to a close, a majority of the things he knew were gone, like his wife and his long-time friend John O’Hara. The length of this short story amplifies the theme, which can be thought of as life being short and can pass us by before we even know it, and the story is…show more content…
The theme of not letting one’s work life consume what matters most in his or her life is clear towards the end of the story. The salaryman “counts his remaining Valiums” only to find out that there is “not enough for suicide.” The salaryman’s life changes for the better when he takes his grandchildren to a baseball game and describes his laughter as “his chest heaving and a weird sound came out of his throat”. He ends the story by saying that it’ll be his last entry for quite some time because he’s “too busy planting strawberries in his garden,” showing how he is enjoying his life at

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