Study Guide

A Fable

by Robert Fox

A Fable Summary

Summary (Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

A neat and clean-shaven young man is taking the subway to Manhattan to begin his first day on the first regular job he has ever had. He feels happy, thanks to his new status as a middle-class office worker, the prospect of being able to buy things that he has always wanted, and the day’s invigorating weather. Indeed, he is in love with the whole world because of the optimism and self-confidence infused by his new career. When he spots a beautiful young blond, who is evidently out shopping with her mother, he is so strongly attracted that he cannot help staring.

The blond notices the young man’s attention and complains to her mother, who simply explains, “He’s in love with you.” The young man then seizes an opportunity to sit next to the blond and starts a conversation by saying, “I’m in love with you.” Although he has never met her before, he proposes marriage on the spot. Neither woman is surprised by this abrupt proposal. Neither displays any emotion. Both are interested only in learning whether the eager young man is a good catch. The blond asks if he has a job and what his future prospects are, but the naïve suitor has only the vaguest idea of what his work will entail. All he knows is that he will have his own desk and handle a lot of paperwork. However, he says that he is getting a good salary and that he intends to work his way up in the company.

The mother is especially concerned about the young man’s ability to be a...

(The entire section is 462 words.)