The American Short Story Hearts of Gold and Native Tongue Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

The American Short Story

Hearts of Gold

Henry L Golemba is of the opinion that the society’s perception of nobility could be somewhat skewed. According to the author, the unlikeliest of all – the unemployed cowboys, prostitutes, gold-seekers, as well as gamblers - have hearts of gold. As a matter of fact, Golemba is categorical that specific circumstances could prove the so called society’s outcasts nobler than some of those the society already deems noble. This is despite the fact that such persons are often times rejected by the society.

Most men in Roaring Camp (in The Luck of Roaring Camp by Bret Harte) could largely be perceived as reckless, tough, and ill-mannered. However, in reality, very few of them could fit this description. Despite their perceived incivility, these are persons who actually have a pleasant personality and intrinsic goodness. These are persons who, unexpectedly, possess hearts of gold.

We have a similar situation in Bret Harte’s The Outcasts of Poker Flat. One of those exiled from Poker Flat, a Californian community, is a madam by the name Mother Shipton. Although she has been exiled for being immoral, Mother Shipton’s character reveals a good-natured personality. This is more so the case taking into consideration the fact that she embraces a truly altruistic course of action so as to save a 15-year-old by the name Piney Woods. I wonder how many of the “virtuous” left behind in Poker Flat would have behaved in a similar manner.

There are a number of stories that could effectively be viewed from the very same context of the observation that Golemba made. One such story is Edgar Allen Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado. The character of interest on this front would be Montresor. It is important to note that despite coming from a family that is well-established, he commits a despicable act – that of killing his good friend by the name Fortunato. Such a gory act would not be expected of a “refined” person coming from a noble mainstream family. To further demonstrate his dark personality, Montresor has a morbid answer to his friend’s protest. Following Fortunato’s expression of annoyance and shock with the exclamation “for the love of God…” Montresor’s response is simply, “Yes, for the love of God!” (Poe, 2008, p. 20).

Two other stories that could be could be viewed from the very same context of the observation that Golemba made are Lydia Maria Child’s Slavery’s Pleasant Homes and Stephen Crane’s The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky. In Slavery’s Pleasant Homes, we have a particular character by the name Frederic Dalcho who could be described as the embodiment of evil and wickedness. This is more so the case given his sadistic and selfish acts (including, but not limited to the rape of Rosa and enslavement of his own brother), despite being a respected and honored person in the community. Rosa, despite being a person of a lower social class, demonstrates chastity by…

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…Walker successfully weaves a story around the relationship individuals have around their heritage.

There is a prominent aspect of culture preservation in this particular writing. Whereas one character (Dee) appears progressive, her sister is largely inclined towards cultural preservation. It is important to note that this particular story is presented in first person – effectively demonstrating the writer’s intimate connection with some of the unfolding events.

It is instructive to note that Walker was brought up in an African American household. She also attended a segregated high school. Thus, in Everyday Use, she succeeds in capturing important aspects of African American life and culture.

3. James Baldwin

Third, there is James Baldwin. In Sony’s Blues, one of his most popular pieces, the most prominent themes happen to be familial support, a break from the past, and drug addiction as well as recovery. These are concepts that the author is able to present in an intimate focus owing to his own life experiences while growing up. In addition to enduring persecution from a stepfather (hence his association with escaping the past), the author experienced separation between his biological father and mother – with drug abuse being the key contributing factor (hence his ability to weave Sonny’s story).

4. Willa Cather

Lastly, we have Willa Cather. One of her most popular works is a story titled Neighbor Rosicky. The story largely revolves around farm life. The main character is convinced that city life is so chaotic and…

Sources Used in Documents:


Crane, S. (2013). The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky. New York, NY: e-artnow.

Poe, E.A. (2008). The Cask of Amontillado. New York, NY: The Creative Company.

Roth, P. (2006). Goodbye, Columbus: And Five Short Stories. New York, NY: Vintage.

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