posted by Mohammad on .
i need some help with qustions for this story
Identities - W.D. Valgardson
Normally, he goes clean-shaven into the world, but the promise of a Saturday
liquid with sunshine draws him first from his study to the backyard, from there to his front lawn. The smell of burning leaves stirs the memories of childhood car rides, narrow lanes adrift with yellow leaves, girls on plodding horses, unattended stands piled high with pumpkins, onions, or beets so that each one was, in its own way, a still life. Always, there were salmon tins glinting with silver, set above hand-painted signs instructing purchasers to deposit twenty-five or fifty cents. This act of faith containing all the stories he has read in childhood about the North – cabins left unlocked, filled with
supplies for hapless wayfarers – wakes in him a desire to temporarily abandon
the twice-cut yards and hundred-year-old oaks. He does not hurry for he has no destination. He meanders, instead, through the neat suburban labyrinth of cul-de-sacs, bays and circles, losing and finding himself endlessly. Becoming lost is made all the easier because the houses repeat themselves with superficial variations. There grows within him, however, a vague unease with symmetry, with nothing left to chance, no ragged edges, no unkempt vacant lots, no houses rendered unique by necessity and indifference. The houses all face the sun. They have no artificial divisions. There is room enough for everyone. Now, as he passes grey stone gates, the yards are all proscribed by stiff picket fences and, quickly, a certain untidiness creeps in: a
fragment of glass, a chocolate bar wrapper, a plastic horse, cracked sidewalks with ridges of stiff grass.
Although he has on blue jeans – matching pants and jacket made in Paris –
he is driving a grey Mercedes Benz. Gangs of young men follow the car with their unblinking eyes. The young men stand and lean in tired, watchful knots close to phone booths and seedy-looking grocery stores. Their slick hair glistens. Their leather jackets gleam with studs. Eagles, tigers,
wolves and serpents ride their backs. He passes a ten-foot wire fence enclosing a playground bare of equipment
and pounded flat. The gate is double locked, the fence cut and rolled into a
cone. Three boys throw stones at pigeons. Paper clogs the fence like drifted snow. The school is covered with heavy screens. Its yellow brick is pock-marked, chipped. The houses are squat, as though they have been taller and have, slowly, sunk into the ground. Each has a band of dirt around the bottom. The blue glow of television sets lights the windows. On the front steps of a red-roofed house, a man sits. He wears black pants, a tartan vest, a brown snap-rimmed hat. Beside him is a suitcase. Fences here are little more than fragments. Cars jam the narrow streets and he worries that he might strike the unkempt children who dart back and forth like startled fish. Street lights come on. He takes them as a signal to return the way he came, but it has been a reckless, haphazard path. Retracing it is impossible. He is overtaken by sudden guilt. He has left no message for his wife.
There have been no trees or drifting leaves, no stands covered in produce,
no salmon tins, but time has run away with him. His wife, he realizes, will have returned from bridge, his children gathered for supper. He also knows that, at first, they have explained his absence on a neighbour’s hospitality and gin. However, by the time he can return, annoyance will have blossomed into alarm. His safe return will, he knows from childhood and years of being locked in domestic grief, degenerate to recriminations and apology
Faced with this, he decides to call the next time he sees a store or phone
booth. So intent is he upon the future that he dangerously ignores the present
and does not notice the police car, concealed in the shadows of a side street, nose out and follow him.
Ahead, there is a small store with windows covered in hand painted signs
and vertical metal bars. On the edge of the light, three young men and a girl
slouch. One of them has a beard and, in spite of the advancing darkness, wears
sunglasses. He has on a fringed leather vest. His companions wear leather
jackets. Their peaked caps make their heads seem flat, their foreheads nonexistent. The girl is better looking than she should be for such companions. She is long legged and wears a white turtle-necked sweater that accentuates her breasts.
In spite of his car, he hopes his day old beard which he strokes upward
with the heel of his hand, will, when combined with his clothes, provide
immunity. He slips his wallet into his shirt pocket, does up the metal buttons on his jacket and slips a ten dollar bill into his back pocket. Recalling a television show, he decides that if he is accosted, he will say that the ten is all he’s got,
that he stole the car, and ask them if they know a buyer.
He eases out of the car, edges nervously along the fender and past the
grille. The store window illuminates the sidewalk like a stage. Beyond the light,
everything is obscured by darkness. He is so intent upon the three men and the
girl that he does not notice the police car drift against the curb, nor the officer who is advancing with a pistol in his hand. When the officer, who is inexperienced, who is nervous because of the
neighbour-hood, who is suspicious because of the car and because he has been
trained to see an unshaven man in blue jeans as a potential thief and not as a
probable owner, orders him to halt, he is surprised. When he turns part way
around and recognizes the uniform, he does not feel fear but relief. Instinctively
relaxing, certain of his safety, in the last voluntary movement of his life, he
reaches his hand not in the air as he was ordered to, but toward his wallet for
what do the title make reader think of? what it mean to hve identiy?
it make us think of ourselves? identity mean to stick out?
Identity is who we think we are. It also means how other see us.
In this story, the man is normally a neat, conventional man with a well-paying job. However, when he's in a different environment, others may see him as a thief.