Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“Coach” is written in a realistic style, with an emphasis on dialogue, which is ironic, as the characters communicate with each other only superficially. The point of view is third-person, limited omniscient, as Robison enters only the mind of Coach. This is also ironic, because there is very little in Coach’s head. Most important, however, is Robison’s use of Greek myth and patterns of imagery. She alludes to the myth of Daphne and Apollo in the name Daphne. In mythology, Apollo, the sun god, is charmed by Daphne’s beauty and pursues her. About to be overtaken, she prays for help and metamorphoses into a laurel tree, which becomes the favorite of Apollo. Robison links Coach to Apollo by using words and images that associate him with the sun. His last name, Noonan, contains the word noon, implying the sun. References are made to the sun porch of Coach’s house; the colors of his new team are maroon and gold; he tells Daphne to “be on the beam”; and his influence on her is implied when she takes “sun on her back, adding to her tan.” Something akin to emotional sunburn is suggested when Coach embarrasses Daphne in the mirror scene: “You are beet red,” he says. Robison puns on beet, pronounced like beat, which means both punished and defeated.

Like Apollo, Coach causes Daphne to metamorphose into a tree. A travesty of this event occurs in Coach’s memory of the eight-year-old Daphne on the football field wearing a player’s jersey...

(The entire section is 506 words.)