Monday, February 7, 2011

Dumb Man Leaves Me Dumbfounded

The way that Anderson constructs this story is ingenious. He gives every detail of every character in the story, down to their facial appearances. He also gives a setting, "a house in a street". He describes the fourth man, a silent figure, entering the house and approaching the woman of the story. I agree that the fourth man is a symbol of death; however, I am unsure of the woman's role. I also believe that perhaps the three men downstairs are people whose lives have reached an end, whether they know/accept it or not. The wicked man ran back and forth anxiously, maybe knowing that death was in his midst. The grey man died peacefully in his sleep after growing tired of chasing the wicked man. The cackling man is the most mysterious of all, even more so than the fourth man. Why was he continually laughing? Assuming that the fourth man was Death, did the cackling man think he could cheat his fate? The answer to this question is the reason why Anderson is at a loss for words. He stated every detail of the story EXCEPT for the most important thing -- why did these people experience insanity, death, and anxiety because of the fourth man? What role does the woman play in all of this? Anderson cannot explain what happened, whether it be because he simply does not know, or he cannot find the words. One thing is for sure, however -- this story thoroughly puzzled me.

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