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The Hurt Man Essay

534 words - 3 pages

The Hurt Man by Wendell Berry

“The Hurt Man” is a short story written by Wendell Berry and published in 2003. It told us about a childhood memory of Mat Feltner back in the late 1880´s. Its themes are growing up from childhood becoming part of the grown up world, which is living with love and sorrow. At first glance, you would think that the title refers to the hurt man that the mother lets into their house and that is probably true. But somehow I believe that it also refers to the change in Mat how his innocent, unknowing heart suddenly learns of pain through his mother's care of the man. Mat was living in a turbulent time and place . It was a harsh world ...view middle of the document...

Mat was mildly surprised, when his mother let the hurt man into their house, but he wasn't surprised to see his mother treat the man. He already knew that this was what his mother would do for him, so why wouldn't she help a stranger as well? He was only surprised when he saw her face, because his mother had an expression he had never seen before. By seeing his mother's deep care and love for a stranger, whom she would usually have resented , Mat suddenly realizes what death is. It isn't just a word used to describe the things in the graveyard, no, it's a word to describe people that have lived but are now gone and will never come back. When he gradually gets closer to his mother he suddenly sees her face and is shocked by her expression. He realizes the care and love in his mother's face, a love that she would usually only show him that people really live and die. I believe that this is symbolic for Mat growing up just enough to be able to see the world with his mother's eyes to be equal. But since it is his first time seeing such a thing he is shocked. Mat learned of pain and loss and how to share it with others. (ll.137 “After that her losses would be his. The losses would come.”) Just as his mother learned of fear and care through the loss of her children, Mat would learn these things through the losses and sorrows to come ll. 138“He learned it all his life”, this experience was irrevocable. It changed something within him and he would be reminded of it, every time he suffered a loss.

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