Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Dade, the sensitive young narrator, recalls how he disappointed both of his parents for the first time the summer that he turned eighteen. Perhaps he has disappointed himself too, for throughout the story he slowly realizes that he does not know what direction his life should take. Dade has been told by his father that if he does not take his work seriously, he will end up poor. The father—who owns the grocery store of the title—is a practical man who works hard, runs a clean, thriving business, and maintains good relationships with the community. When he proposed marriage to Dade’s mother, he probably saw right to the end of his life, Dade thinks.
Dade works in the store and is sometimes industrious, but often he spends his time daydreaming on the store’s roof. He disappoints his father by not being earnest enough about his work in the store. Instead he gazes at clouds, stars, and the sky for hours, trying to make the discovery his mother has always thought he would make. She reminds him that he will someday inherit the store, yet she encourages him to think and dream because she is sure he will someday become a person of limited fame. It is her theory that men like Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison simply stared at regular objects until they saw new things.
Dade initially goes to the roof to clean the large, incandescent star that sits atop the store to advertise its presence. He sometimes stays there for hours to think about the...
(The entire section is 614 words.)
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