Going home The short story Going Home is written by Pete Hamill It was originally written for The New York Post in 1971 The story starts with a group of friends who are on a bus trip from New York to Florida On the bus one of them starts talking to an old man called Vingo Vingo tells about how he is on his way home after sentencing three and a half years in jail He does not know if his wife still wants him back or has moved on He explains that he wrote to his wife that if she still wanted him back she had to tie a yellow handkerchief around an oak tree When the bus reaches the tree they see the oak tree covered in yellow handkerchiefs The story takes place during the late 60s or early 70s on a bus driving from New York to Brunswick I think this because there is no use of modern technology during the entire story For example Vingo wrote letters to his wife while he was in jail The other hint regarding the time the story takes place in is found when the group of friends discusses Vingo Perhaps he was a sailor maybe he had run away from his wife He could be an old soldier going home Saying that he could be an old soldier going home gave me the idea that the story takes place when the Vietnam War 1955 1975 was still going on I think that the environment establishes the mood of the story
This is because the bus ride makes the overall mood of the story suspenseful Going Home is written in a third person view The narrator has a limited knowledge and does not give out too much information The narrator's voice is more of an observer leaving it to the readers to imagine how the characters might be feeling The protagonist of the story is Vingo He is described as an elder man with a dusty face He is dressed in a suit that did not fit him His fingers were stained with cigarettes On the bus ride he sits quietly and chews on his lips Later on in the story he opens up to the girl telling her about his situation The development he goes through is that he becomes happy when he sees the yellow handkerchiefs around the oak tree Other minor characters in the story are Vingo s wife the young girl and her friends However it is important to know that none of them has any physical description The young girl and her friends are happy and talkative while Vingo s wife is kind and forgiving The conflict in this story is that Vingo does not know if his wife still wants him This is an internal struggle because Vingo does not fight with anyone else but the thought of not being forgiven by his wife The climax of the story takes place when the bus finally reaches the oak tree When they reach the oak tree all the passengers in the bus sit on the window seats to see if Vingo s wife had tied a ribbon on the tree indicating that she wants him to go back home Vingo stopped looking tightening his face as if expecting another disappointment
Then it was ten miles then five Vingo was trembling I think that the theme of this story is forgiveness Since Vingo was on his way home from jail he has done something wrong Still he travels home to see if his wife was willing to take him back and forgive him for his actions In the end of the story Vingo s wife forgave him and waited for him with open arms This is shown in the story when she decides to tie multiple yellow handkerchiefs around the oak tree instead of only one There are some literary devices in this story The most important symbol in this story is the yellow handkerchief Yellow handkerchiefs often symbolize forgiveness something which we can see is very important in this story Another interesting thing about the yellow handkerchiefs is that during the Vietnam War yellow handkerchiefs was a symbol for those waiting for the return of a loved one or of military troops who were temporarily unable to go home Another literary device in this story is the contrasts For example the contrasts between Vingo and the group of friends While the group of friends are full of life loud and talking excitedly Vingo sits in complete silence Another contrast found in the story is in the very beginning Here New York is described as grey cold spring while Florida is golden beaches and blue sea I think this contrast is symbolic of Vingo s life in jail and his life back home This can also be a subtle foreshadow which indicates that the story has a happy ending because it goes from grey cold spring to golden beaches and blue sea I think this is a very touching and heartwarming story Seeing how Vingo s wife not only forgave him but also waited for him with open arms makes me think about how important it is to be able to forgive someone
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