Pick one of the main characters from Egan story with shyness. For this assignment, please answer the following questions:
In the Egan story, pick one of the main characters. Describe which traits of this character come to bear on the story itself. For instance, if a character is shy — how does that character’s shyness contribute to the story? You should pick several things and analyze the character fully — at least one paragraph.
From the Egan story, list three of the best descriptions, physical or otherwise for some of the characters. Pick something that interested you, was particularly visual, etc. Explain why.
In the Janitor story — how is the character developed? What techniques does the author use to show you her past and her feelings? How is she different from how the characters in the Egan story are developed?
Analyze how both authors reveal the physical characteristics, motivations, backstories and feelings of the characters without directly telling the audience in a long string of “information dump.” How do the authors reveal their characters? Give several specific examples of multiple techniques.
Egan link: https://www.shortstoryproject.com/stories/emerald-city/
Rory knew before he came to New York what sort of life he would have. He’d read about it in novels by hip young authors who lived there. He saw the apartment, small but high-ceilinged, a tall, sooty window with a fire escape twisting past a chemical-pink sky. Nights in frantic clubs, mornings hunched over coffee in the East Village, warming his hands on the cup, black pants, black turtleneck, pointed black boots. He’d intended to snort cocaine, but by the time he arrived, that was out. He drank instead.
He was a photographer’s assistant, loading cameras all day, holding up light meters, waving Polaroids until they were dry enough to tear open. As he watched the models move, he sometimes worried he was still too California. What could you do with sandy blond hair – cut it off? Short hair was on the wane, at least for men.
So there it hung, golden, straight as paper, reminiscent of beaches he’d never seen, being as he was from Chicago (in Chicago there was the lake, but that didn’t count). His other option was to gain or lose some weight, but the starved look had lost its appeal – any suggestion of illness was to be avoided. Beefy was the way to go; not fat, just a classic paunch above the belt. But no matter how much Rory ate, he stayed exactly the same. He took up smoking instead, although it burned his throat.
Rory stubbed out his cigarette and checked to make sure the lights were off in the darkroom. He was always the last to leave; his boss, Vesuvi, would hand him the camera as soon as the last shot was done and then swan out through the sea of film containers, plastic cups, and discarded sheets of backdrop paper. Vesuvi was one of those people who always had somewhere to go. He was blessed with a marvelous paunch, which Rory tried not to admire too openly. He didn’t want Vesuvi to get the wrong idea.
Rory swept the debris into bags, then he turned out the lights, locked up the studio, and headed down to the street. Twilight was his favorite hour – metal gates sliding down over storefronts, newspapers whirling from the sidewalk into the sky, an air of promise and abandonment. This was the way he’d expected New York to look, and he was thrilled when the city complied.
Janitor story link: https://americanshortfiction.org/2014/07/01/janitor-space/