Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Written more in essay than story form, this first-person narrative reveals how the narrator has only belatedly resolved some important differences in his life. These differences appear in two primary forms: those that he willfully maintained between himself and his stepfather from the age of twelve until well into his adulthood and those between the outwardly ordered, apparently immobile orchard groves and their living residents, growing “in a time and on a plane inaccessible” to the casual observer.
The narrator’s stepfather was an orchardist “of the first rank” who was nurturing and confidently rooted in the world, while the narrator was full of desire to travel from the time his stepfather entered his life until he left home for college. As a youth, the narrator regarded the differences between his stepfather and his hired helper, Ramon Castillo, as reflecting more favorably on Ramon. He regarded Ramon as more sophisticated at the time because of his obvious expertise in gardening, his completely composed attitude, and his many girlfriends.
Not only did the narrator fail to understand his stepfather’s basic humility, he also misinterpreted his stepfather’s true love for his work—which the narrator saw as merely a form of pride or gratification. As a teenager, he acknowledged only his stepfather’s slavish attention to details, the outward results of the orchardist’s craft, and the prisonlike orderliness of his orchard...
(The entire section is 383 words.)
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