Spilled Salt, a Softer Devil Essay

1345 Words Jul 14th, 2016 6 Pages
In the short stories “A Softer Devil” by Derek Robertson and “Spilled Salt” by Barbara Neely, the titles of the stories affect a possible suggestion of the stories development, they depict the two offenders through their symbolism and also give the stories a religious meaning. First of all the beginnings of the short stories start with an event that, regarding the titles of the stories, could possibly turn into an opposite direction. The beginning of “A Softer Devil” starts with a very negative happening: “Toby shot the dog that always barked at him when he came home from school”. This act seems to be extremely cruel and evil because of its senselessness, arbitrariness and emotionless description that you could say this boy must be …show more content…
His only depiction happens through his mother Myrna, who finds his son coming home after five years of prison because of raping a girl, which is a total shock for her she cannot handle at the time. Ignoring Myrna’s thoughts, the reader might possibly not know about his crime, because regarding to his behavior, speech and actions the reader might imagine him as a normal and nice boy, who lives with his mum to which he always speaks nicely and even makes her breakfast. But taking the title into account knowing that spilled salt is an European superstition for bad luck and an evil omen, the reader might get the impression that Kenny is not this normal and nice boy they would have imagined him at some points. In the situation when he actually spills the salt, he sits in the kitchen, rubbing his belly saying “it’s good to see you, Ma!” which shows a very insensitive side of Toby, because he does not consider that this is a hard situation for his mother, who was desperate for searching reasons for his crime and cannot handle the surreal situation of his son suddenly being back from prison sitting in her kitchen as if nothing ever happened. The sentence “Now he’d come back to spill salt in her kitchen” after talking of ruining the raped girls life also might be a synonym for ruining also Myrna’s life. Taking into account that Kenny might do it again strengthens this supposition. Myrna also “spills” salt in

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