(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“Some Say the World” is told by a first-person participant narrator, an eighteen-year-old girl. During her adolescence, the narrator committed several antisocial acts as a result of her destructive pyromania and has been hospitalized frequently and subjected to intense medication, yet her voice seems authoritative. Her telling of her family history, coupled with the interchanges with her stepfather, Mr. Arnette, lead readers to affirm the narrator’s perspective. The narration and dialogue evoke a compassionate response toward the troubled teenager and her stepfather while revealing the self-serving indifference of the young woman’s mother.

The action of the story is straightforward, with the daughter simply relating some of her troubled past experiences, mostly concerning her fascination with fire, while she passes the time playing board games with her mother’s current husband, Mr. Arnette. She and her stepfather realize the dubious nature of the third member of this blended family, and their shared knowledge creates a bond between them. Her mother regularly cheats on Mr. Arnette with her biological father, so both the stepfather and the daughter suffer from loneliness, abandonment, and unfulfilled desire. The time they spend together not only bonds them as fellow sufferers but also allows them the opportunity to decide that they must act by leaving their situation.

The daughter’s parents have been divorced thirteen years, but they...

(The entire section is 574 words.)