The Suitor Analysis
by Larry Woiwode

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Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

To understand “The Suitor” fully, one must study the mythology of the Neumiller family in other stories. Larry Woiwode’s stories create a system of family history and a complex web of relationships among people spanning several generations.

“The Suitor” is traditional and realistic in style, based largely on the author’s autobiographical memories. The character of Martin Neumiller is modeled after Larry Woiwode’s father. Critics have written that in his stories and novels, Woiwode revives a neglected literary form—the family album. Many of Woiwode’s stories describe the plight of the Neumillers living in North Dakota, their German ancestors who emigrated to the United States, and the lives of their children as they move on to various professions in Illinois and New York.

Woiwode uses rich description, limited dialogue, and an omniscient narrator in “The Suitor.” The word choice is clean and especially beautiful and poetic when Martin reflects on his feelings toward Alpha. The story uses nonchronological organization, freely moving from the present to Martin’s memories about what his family knows about the Jones family.


(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

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Dickson, Morris. “Flight into Symbolism.” The New Republic 160 (May 3, 1969): 28.

Gardner, John. Review of Beyond the Bedroom Wall, by Larry Woiwode. The New York Times Book Review 125 (September 28, 1975): 1-2.

Gasque, W. Ward. Review of Acts, by Larry Woiwode. Christianity Today, March 7, 1994, 38.

Marx, Paul. “Larry (Alfred) Woiwode.” In Contemporary Novelists, edited by James Vinson. 3d ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1982.

O’Hara, Barbara. Review of What I Think I Did, by Larry Woiwode. Library Journal, June 1, 2000, 128.

Pesetsky, Bette. Review of Born Brothers, by Larry Woiwode. The New York Times Book Review 93 (August 4, 1988): 13-14.

Prescott, Peter S. “Home Truths.” Newsweek 86 (September 29, 1975): 85-86.

Woiwode, Larry. “An Interview with Larry Woiwode.” Christianity and Literature 29 (1979): 11-18.

Woiwode, Larry. “An Interview with Larry Woiwode.” Interview by Ed Block, Jr. Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature 44, no. 1 (Fall, 1991): 17-30.

Woiwode, Larry. “Interview with Woiwode.” Interview by Shirley Nelson. The Christian Century, January 25, 1995, 82.

Woiwode, Larry. “Where the Buffalo Roam: An Interview with Larry Woiwode.” Interview by Rick Watson. North Dakota Quarterly 63, no. 4 (Fall, 1996): 154-166.