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Just recently I’ve checked out two excellent short stories: Constantly an Intention (by Dan Ross) and Gentlemen, Your Decision (by Michael Bruce). Always a Motive has to do with a young man, called Joe Manetti, who is implicated of kidnapping. Gentlemen, Your Decision has to do with 5 guys who are questioned about the murder of sixteen crewmembers. While both Always a Motive and Gentlemen, Your Decision are composed in 3rd individual and pluck the readers emotions, Always a Motives theme is how individuals tend to see things only from one point of view and things can change in an immediate while Gentlemen, Your Decisions style focuses on the validation of murder in certain situations.
Gentlemen, Your Verdict is a story that teaches us that sometimes in life we need to eliminate, or let somebody die to guarantee the survival of others.
In this story Lieutenant-Commander Oram (who’s in charge of the submarine) is required to play god when his submarine decreases.
There is just sufficient air for two days and rescue won’t come until five days after their oxygen supply will go out. Lieutenant-Commander Oram would rather let some of his crew endure than have them all pass away. However he has a hard choice to make: who will be the ones to make it through, which I think is likewise a part of the style. He makes a solemn option to eliminate sixteen guys, including himself, to conserve the lives of the five family men on-board; due to the fact that they have a spouse and potentially even children that would live sorrowfully if their daddy was gone.
This statement is reversed in Always a Motive, where a dad loses his son and spouse and is required to live a dog’s life alone. Joe Manetti was a father to a little young boy and a pleased other half, however disaster struck when his child was ran over and killed by a truck.
After that Joe’s life fell apart; his wife left him, he doesn’t work anymore, he barely eats, and he runs away from his problems by driving , driving for however long until he feels okay. One day during one of his driving ‘spells’ he comes back from getting groceries and finds a baby on his backseat. He finds a note on the baby saying he belonged to the Millers. Joe takes care of the babe and brings him home to a worried father; but he suddenly finds himself getting questioned about kidnapping the Miller boy. Now, the inspector who questions him finds out Joe’s story and he feels for Joe; but he knows that when there’s “[people] like [Joe] involved” (Tigers of the Snow p109), people who have lost their children, they usually are the culprits.
Abruptly an expressway toll station worker comes bearing an alibi for Joe, saying that at the time the Miller boy was kidnapped Joe was at the toll. This reveals the themes of the story: how people tend to see things only from one perspective and things can change in an instant. The inspector only saw the side of Joe that made him a kidnapper and suddenly Joe is an unsuitable kidnapper. But there is one thing that lacks from Joe’s story, his motive for returning the Miller boy without the help of the police. But the man who lost his boy only wanted to see the man who found his. The moment that Joe says this is one of the most heartbreaking pieces of literature that I have read. Both Always a Motive and Gentlemen, Your Verdict have their moments where, as a reader, you feel for the characters. However different these stories are, they both pull at the readers heartstrings.
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