Short Story 3 Am And The Stars Were Out

739 Words 3 Pages
Old men have old hearts. Some beat bitterly as they dwell on glory lost, while others maintain contentment by allowing their blessings to mute the pain of grief. While the former tend to spend their final years lost in resentment, the latter are able to experience their decline into infirmity with pleasant nostalgia.
Thesis statement: In the short story, “3 AM and the Stars Were Out”, the author, Ron Rash, introduces the reader to Carson, an aging, retired veterinarian who contemplates the life he lived and death he has seen. Using a late night cow birth and the lights that shine in the dark as a metaphor for the human experience, Rash explores the pain of being alive and rewards of living.
II. Paragraph 1: Accepting/acknowledging
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From “an occasional white cross and a vase of wilted flowers” (Rash 14) commemorating oblivious young men who drive too quickly on dangerous roads, to “a cow dying of milk fever or a horse with a gangrenous leg” (Rash 15) when he is called to treat a sick animal, every day is a momento mori. Despite the impermeable trend of sadness, Carson never lets the fear of loss restrict his appreciation for the goodness in his life. He had every reason to avoid having children; on one of his first assignments, Carson accidentally killed a cow and calf while trying to assist in its birth (Rash 18). With firsthand confirmation that youth was no defense against death, he took a conscious risk by having a family. On this call to Darnell’s farm, he knows the probability of arriving to a tragic scene is high but still goes, if for no other reason than to help a friend in need. From these experiences it can be inferred Carson is no stranger to death.
III. Paragraph 2: The good things in his life
Despite his familiarity with the macabre, Carson is still able to live a full and meaningful life. Based on the passage, “Moments passed before he realized he was waiting for another body to do the same thing, leave the bed and fix him a thermos of coffee. Almost four months and it still happened” (Rash 13).
Both his children grew up to be caring adults, as evidenced by the first sentence: “When the
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The amount and type of light present in the story is directly related to the perceived potential for happiness.
As a young boy, before seeing death for the first time, Carson found the most comfort during “afternoons in the barn … when the light was at it’s apex” (Rash 15). This light bathes the barn in gold and symbolizes pure contentment. Nothing was blocking the light, or good, in Carson’s life. This changed later in his life. While at war in Korea, he relied on the stars for reminders of home (Rash 21). The stars, like home, were far away and distorted because of his changed perspective. However, they were still there. Happiness could still exist.
On late night calls, Carson would rely chiefly on his headlights to illuminate the potentially dangerous road, as exemplified in the quote, “Night would gather around him, the only light his truck’s twin beams probing the road ahead” (Rash 15). This is one example of Carson depending on his own resources to illuminate darkness, which is paralleled by his determination to have peace on the drives out of town because the things he had no control over may be disheartening (Rash

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