Style and Technique
Blaise writes in a realistic, almost naturalistic, style with a minimum of symbols to convey his meaning to the reader clearly. The narrator speaks from the vantage point of age and experience. This perspective creates a credible character who is open and honest. Thinking back on his life, the narrator does not exhibit malice toward the difficulty he had in being poor. All of his memories of those days are nearly shining, as he describes with fervor the trips to the forum in his team shirt and how he cheered for Rocket Richard.
When the narrator was younger, he did not consider himself and his family as living in poverty. His life was filled with pleasure. It is only by comparison with the Schmitzes that he realizes his life is not as materially endowed as that of others. Blaise’s use of a first-person narrator is skillfully done, as his narrator conceals the coming alienation and rejection until the last possible moment at the end of the story. There is little foreshadowing of this moment, and the reader is suddenly empathetic not with the determined and industrious Mance, Jr., but also with Mance, Sr., who is perhaps the most pathetic character presented.
In a sense, Blaise has created a tragedy of the common man. It is a tragedy that lacks a hero of noble birth, but Mance, Sr., has two fatal flaws—alcoholism and covetousness. He is unable to see when he has a good thing going and is never happy with where he is. When he tries to go beyond what he is capable of, he fails miserably and loses not only his best job but his very place in life as well.