Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Gardner uses the third-person, limited omniscient point of view, presenting the story through Jack’s consciousness, because it is Jack who must come to terms with his recurring memories of David’s death. In line with this, the story circles back to the death scene three times. Initially, Jack recalls his sister’s scream, sees the wheels of the cultipacker reach his brother’s pelvis, and watches blood pour from David’s mouth. The second return is vaguer, without specific details, indicating Jack’s attempt to repress the memory. His whole body flinches from the image. The third memory includes details omitted from the first and second: “And now, from nowhere, the black memory of his brother’s death rushed over him again, mindless and inexorable as a wind or wave, the huge cultipacker lifting—only an inch or so—as it climbed toward the shoulders, then sank on the skull—and he heard . . . his sister’s scream.”

This sentence is a good example of Gardner’s style. He recreates the accident in language. Beginning the sentence abruptly with “and” mirrors the shock of the memory coming without warning. By interrupting the main clause with phrases, Gardner slows and lengthens the sentence, creating a slow-motion effect, the way Jack sees it in his mind. The phrase “only an inch or so,” enclosed in dashes, is an impediment in the sentence, as David’s shoulders are to the cultipacker. The phrases “climbed toward the...

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Redemption Historical Context

Post-War World
John Gardner, born during the Great Depression, reached adolescence in the years immediately following World War...

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Redemption Literary Style

Images/Imagery
Several images recur throughout ‘‘Redemption.’’ Skulls, for example, appear three times to remind Jack of...

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Redemption Compare and Contrast

1940s: Many families live on farms, providing food and dairy products for the nation. Farmers were excused from the draft because they...

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Redemption Topics for Further Study

Investigate the number of farm accidents involving children in the 1940s and in the 1990s. What has happened to the number of reported...

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Redemption What Do I Read Next?

Grendel (1971) is perhaps Gardner's most famous novel. The story is a retelling of the Anglo-Saxon epic, Beowulf, from the...

(The entire section is 84 words.)

Redemption Bibliography and Further Reading

Sources
Allen, Bruce. ‘‘From Gardner, Short Stories Dimmed by Abstractions,’’ in The Christian Science Monitor,...

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Redemption Bibliography

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Henderson, Jeff. John Gardner: A Study of the Short Fiction. Boston: Twayne, 1990.

Henderson, Jeff, ed. Thor’s Hammer: Essays on John Gardner. Conway: University of Central Arkansas Press, 1985.

Howell, John M. John Gardner: A Bibliographical Profile. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1980.

Howell, John M. Understanding John Gardner. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1993.

Morace, Robert A. John Gardner: An Annotated Secondary Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1984.

Morace, Robert A.,...

(The entire section is 148 words.)