Monday, March 17, 2008

Summary, Characters, Conflict and Themes of “Godfather Death”

1. Give a Brief summary of the work using specific names, detail, and examples.

In the story “Godfather Death” there is a father who has twelve children and then has another his thirteenth child, but he cannot afford this child. The father then decides to find the most suitable godfather for his thirteenth child. The father passes up the good lord and the devil his reasoning being that death is equal and does not discriminate between people. Death gives the child a gift for his baptism his gift is the ability to heal the sick as long as death is at their head if he was at their feet the person was to die. The doctor soon became famous and was well known through the country. The doctor soon found out the king was ill and when he approached him Death was at his feet, so the doctor switched the king’s position so that Death was at the king’s head. Death was upset at the doctor’s actions and warned him not to do it again. Well, the doctor disobeyed Death once more and this time Death said he must pay. Death took him to his cavern which had candles lining the walls, on the way down the doctor asked what the candles where for and death replied that they are peoples lives. Death showed the doctor his candle and it was almost out, so he doctor tried to convince him to let him live but death tricked him and put his candle out.

2. List the names of the protagonist and major Characters and give a description of each using specific details in your discussion.

The major characters in the short story “Godfather Death” are the doctor and Death. The doctor is the son of a man who had twelve children before him and he is the thirteenth and the father cannot afford to keep him. The doctor’s father then tries to find the most suitable godfather for the child and he decides to give the child to death. Death is also a main character in the short story. Death is the godfather of the doctor; he is a slim man that has a bony appearance. The godfather is a very equal man and does not discrm9inate between people. Death wants his commands to be taken seriously and the doctor does not follow his wishes. At the of the story Death shows his true side in that he will not differentiate between some one he knows well his own “family” or between someone he does not even know personally. In Death’s mind every one is treated equally there are no exceptions.

3. Identify the setting. (The time, place, situation)

There are many different locations in which the short story “Godfather Death” takes place. The first location in the story is a main highway where the father is attempting to find a suitable godfather. The next location that is described in the story is the forest in which Death gives the child, the gift of healing. After the forest the doctor is summoned to the king’s castle in which he breaks the wishes of his godfather. The final, location in the story is the underground cavern of Death, and this is where the story ends. I believe the story is set in medieval times, and I am partial to this belief because of the fact that the doctor uses all herbs to heal and there is a king presented in the story.

4. Explain the conflict(s): (internal and external).

The main conflict in the story begins when the godfather gives the boy the gift to heal, but makes stipulations that he can only help people with the godfather’s permission to do so. The doctor is put in a moral obligation when the king is found to be sick, and the godfather does not want the king to live. However the doctor feels differently than the godfather and revives the king. The doctor is warned that he should not have done that and he will be punished if it is done again. Soon after his first warning the doctors disobeys his godfather again and revives the king’s daughter this time however the godfather is not so kind, and takes the life of the his godson. I believe the main conflict in the story is not between the godfather and the doctor, but in the doctor’s head about weather or not he should help the people.

5. Explain the point of view. (Who tells the story?)

The story “Godfather Death” is told in 3rd person omniscient. This means there is a narrator telling the story, and the narrator has the ability to see what all the characters are thinking as well as know all of the external events that are taking place in the story. I don’t think the story “Godfather Death” could have been properly told through any other point of view. The method that was used in “Godfather Death” was, I believe extremely effective in telling the story. The point of view used in “Godfather Death” makes the story easy to read.

6. Explain the symbolic meaning of the title and other words, phrases, names, and laces in the story.

The story “Godfather Death” has many symbolic references in the story. I believe the most important symbolism in the story is that the child is the 13th born in his family. The number 13 to me is foreshadowing something that is going to occur further in the story that may have a bad outcome. The number 13 is also associated with a lack of luck. The use of candles burning to represent life is also symbolic. Each of the candles has a different length of flame and this represents how much longer the person will live. Another symbolic instance in the story is when Death warns the doctor “But if you try such a thing again it will be your neck,” this is another way of saying that the doctor will lose his life.

7. Discuss what you perceive to be the central idea or theme of the work. Use several specific examples from the work to support your ideas, citing the paragraph number at the end of the quote.

I believe the theme of the story is that no one can escape death and there is no defying death. This is evident when the doctor says, “If I cheat Death this one time, he will be angry but since I am his grandson, he will turn a blind eye, so I will risk it” (20). The doctor was right with his first thoughts but then he does it again and is whisked away to deaths cavern where Death tells him, “It’s all over for you. Now it’s your turn” (25). Then the doctor’s life is taken. I also think the story is trying to convey the message that everyone must accept the consequences for their actions.

No comments: