Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The thematic concern of this story revolves around the conflict between illusion and reality. Dick is a complicated character who is amusing, kind, and generous. His affection for the blind Korean students is sincere. He makes them laugh with his stories about the circus and gives them hope by describing what they cannot physically see. He promises the children that once he gets home, he will buy them candies, clothes, and shoes. By misleading the students into believing that everything in the United States is rosy and by painting a glorified picture of his own life, Dick instills false hopes into their hearts. The conflict between lies and truth is emphatically pronounced by Cho’s discovery that not all Americans live in “beautiful homes with shiny cars in the driveways.” It is also expediently demonstrated and accentuated by the physical conditions of the students. Their physical blindness mirrors and underlines their mental blindness. Their naïveté reveals their vulnerability.

Dick is not weaving “fairy stories” merely for the Korean children’s benefit. He also wants to create an unreality for himself to block out unpleasant memories and to hide from reality. Dick is not happy at home. His parents are poor first-generation Romanian immigrants, who have been struggling to establish themselves in the United States. The squabbles between Dick and his mother are also often occasioned by cultural conflicts. Dick is more in tune with the...

(The entire section is 566 words.)