What is the plot of the short story "Ricochet" by Angela Noel?

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bmadnick's profile pic

bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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This is a story of one brother's desire for revenge against his older brother. Owen Parry and his brother own a large farm, and when disease strikes the animals on the farm, his brother calls the authorities who force the brothers to kill off their livestock, including their dogs. Owen feels much of the livestock could have been saved, especially his favorite dog, Beth. Owen also resents his brother for marrying Rhiannon, whom he had loved since they were children. To make things worse, Rhiannon became pregnant with Owen's child during a period of unhappiness in her marriage to Owen's brother. Rhiannon refuses to leave her husband and acknowledge that Margo is Owen's child, so Owen sets a trap to kill his brother. When Owen returns home, he finds Beth and Margo on the floor, and Owen thinks he had killed them both. He realizes his brother hadn't killed Beth after all and thinks he has killed his daughter and the dog. Owen then kills himself. Margo wakes up when she hears the gun shot and runs out of Owen's cottage screaming. Owen's brother finds her and decides it's too late to go see Owen. With that, the story ends.

I suggest you read the full text of the story at the link below.

poetrymfa's profile pic

poetrymfa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Angela Noel's "Ricochet" examines the hostile relationship between Owen Parry and his brother. After disease spreads throughout the animals on their farm, Owen's brother kills off all of the creatures. This act disturbs Owen, who believes that the animals—and his dog—should have been saved rather than executed.

Owen finds another reason to hate his brother due to the fact that Owen's brother married Owen's childhood love, Rihannon, who also secretly happens to be the mother of Owen's child, Margo. With Rihannon refusing to recognize the true paternity of Margo and staying in her troubled marriage to Owen's brother, Owen decides that he must kill his brother. This trap goes awry and results in Owen mistakenly believing that he has killed the love of his life and his daughter. Distraught, Owen shoots himself. Margo is revealed to be alive and Owen's brother realizes it is too late to save Owen.