‘Republica Y Grau’ by Daniel Alarcón

Alarcon, Daniel 2006

Republica Y Grau by Daniel Alarcón, 2006

The magic trick:

Using two climax scenes to push the child in the story toward a mature choice/resolution

In keeping with this week’s mini-theme, we offer up a third story featuring a blind man. This is the newest and least-famous, but it’s certainly a different take on what is not an uncommon symbol in short story land.

I like the story’s use of two different climaxes. I’m not sure that’s even the appropriate use of the term, but let’s go with it anyway.

First, we have the intellectual climax, in which Maico talks to the blind man in the bar. The blind man tells him of fighting. The only way to fight if you’re blind is to do so “recklessly,” the blind man says. Then we have the physical climax, in which Maico’s father wrecks the house with an outburst and beats up on both Maico and Maico’s mother.

Maico has two separate but very related incidents with which to work, and he stitches them together in time for the story’s closing coming-of-age scene. It’s a neat – even heart-warming – way to demonstrate maturation. And that’s quite a trick on Alarcón’s part.

The selection:

Now this same blind man was coming to sleep in my house.

“Maybe I could take him bowling,” I said to my wife. She was the draining board doing scalloped potatoes. She put down the knife she was using and turned around.

“If you love me, she said, “you can do this for me. If you don’t love me, okay. But if you had a friend, any friend, and the friend came to visit, I’d make him feel comfortable.” She wiped her hands with the dish towel.

“I don’t have any blind friends,” I said.


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