In the story "Dusk," what impression do you form about the young man in the story? Do you think he is smart and clever or plain lucky?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In the story "Dusk," the young man is plain lucky. When he cannot produce a bar of soap, Gortsby does not believe his story. The young man tells a story of forgetting where his hotel is. He claims that he went out to get a bar of soap and a drink. Upon returning to his hotel, he forgot the location and the name of the hotel. While telling this story to Gortsby, Gortsby doubts the young man's story because he cannot produce a bar of soap. Realizing that his story cannot be corroborated, the young man walks off in disappointment.

Then Gortsby finds a bar of soap under the park bench. How lucky can the young man be? Now, Gortsby changes his mind about the young man's story. Gortsby now believes the young man's story. Gortsby chases after the young man and gives him a loan of money and the bar of soap.

It is a stroke of luck for the young man. It just so happens that  the old man just happened to drop a bar of soap. The old man, who sat on the bench before the young man sat down, just happened to drop a bar of soap. When the young man sits down to tell his story, he just happens to add the part about purchasing a bar of soap. It is nothing more than a coincidence. It is sheer luck. The young man had not seen the bar of soap on the ground. He walks away dejected when Gortsby asks about him having a bar of soap to prove his story. It is clear that he had not seen the bar of soap on the ground. Therefore, it is plain luck that Gortsby just happens to see the bar of soap on the ground, under the bench.

Only when the old man comes back looking for his bar of soap does Gortsby realize he has been scammed. By this point, the young man   is lucky for he is long gone, on his way with Gortsby's loan--money Gortsby will never see again:

As Gortsby walks back, he passes the bench where he had been sitting. He notices the old man who had also been sitting there earlier. The old man is now searching for something. When Gortsby asks if the old man has lost anything, the man replies, “Yes, sir, a cake of soap.”