Compare "Dusk" and "The Umbrella Man" as stories of tricksters in 250 words.   

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What is interesting about both of these excellent short stories is the way that they involve a trickster who attempts to fool the protagonist(s) of the stories. In the case of "Dusk," the protagonist is Gortsby, who seems to think he knows a lot about tricksters and how to defraud others, only to have circumstances work against him and prove him wrong when he finds the soap by the bench where the young man was sitting. This leads him to seek out the young man, fervently apologise, and give him the money he was asking for. However, as he congratulates himself on having done the right thing, he is shocked to return to the bench to discover that the bar of soap did not belong to the young man after all, and he had been successfully taken in. The ruse is therefore only successful in this story because of circumstances, and Gortsby was, in fact, correct in his original assessment of the young man.

In "The Umbrella Man," on the other hand, it is a young girl and her mother who are taken in. The elderly gentleman who offers to sell his umbrella to them is very convincing, and it is only the way in which he swiftly and energetically walks away once he has sold it that makes them suspicious. Following him, they discover that "his game" as the mother says is to steal umbrellas from a local pub and then sell them to finance his next beverage. As the mother comments, "I bet he could carry on going all night!" Although both tricksters do something or forget something that give themselves away, we could argue that the umbrella man is the more successful trickster, as he is obviously able to fund his drinking habit easily.

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