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The Self Mirrored in the Other
An Oral Presentation Based on Three Short Stories (5 of 10)

Section 2. Part III.
A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud, and Conclusion

A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud by Carson McCullers (read the story here)

The third story is A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud, written by Carson McCullers. It is about a paper boy who went into a café for a cup of coffee. When he was going to leave the café, a man called him and said he loved him. The boy didn't know what to do, but the man began to tell him a story about how he had searched for years, all around the world, a woman who had left him for another man. This experience made the man meditate about love, so he worked out a theory about how people should love. He explained to the boy his loving-technique, which was based on the idea of beginning to love little things, like objects, vegetables, animals, unknown people... and, finally, your family, friends and lovers.

Carson McCullers was born in Columbus, Georgia, on February 19 th 1917. Her career as a pianist was interrupted by an illness called rheumatic-fever. This fact made her decide to go to New York in 1933, where she began to focus her talent on Literature. It is said that she used to choose words very carefully, so that her words sounded like music. Her work was influenced by the North-American Gothic Movement of the XVI century, especially by Edgar Allan Poe's frightening stories.

The focus of A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud is on a drunk man who makes a surprising comment to a boy: "I love you". Then he explains this comment by telling the story of his own life.

While the man is telling his story, the boy asks him questions, like if the woman was dead or what was her name. The man answers "That is immaterial". This situation shows us an interesting contrast between youth and age, innocence and experience.

A second contrast takes place in this story. It is about the spiritual personality of the man who talks about love, and the realist one of the owner of the café, Leo (the only character who has a name in this story), who says at the end of the story "He sure has done a lot of travelling". He refers to the man's travelling all over the world, during which time he had worked out his theory about how men should love.

After having listened to the man's story and his theory about love, the boy (and probably the readers) has learned something: he should learn about life through his own experience.

In conclusion, we could say that these stories refer to three examples of the topic I mentioned before: people who reflect or project their feelings, thoughts or reactions on others.

Go to Section 3. Group Dynamics for the Oral Presentation
Go to Section 4. Learning English with these stories
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