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What is the theme of "Ralph the Duck" by Frederick Busch ?I found it hard to come up...

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notredame0502 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 19, 2009 at 12:51 AM via web

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What is the theme of "Ralph the Duck" by Frederick Busch ?

I found it hard to come up with a sentence that can convey all of the aspects in the story (the conflict b/t the narrator and his professor, "sexual harrassment" vs. the love the narrator has as a father for the girl) to the making of the theme.

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terafrayne | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 10, 2012 at 5:03 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the central themes in the story is coping with loss. All of the dysfunctional expressions in the story--especially the alienation that the unnamed narrator experiences on multiple levels--point back to the death of his daughter. Or, rather, the damaging affects of losing a loved one is a closer description of the story's theme. The alienation and sense of misunderstanding that the narrator experiences between the student he meets (who interprets his affection for sexual harassment), his professor (who is condescending towards him), and with his wife, who is struggling with the same debilitating pain, all correlates to the brokenness brought on by the death of his daughter. His role as a security guard and his understanding of "Rhetoric and Persuasion" is seen through the lens of his painful past.  

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