EH 102 FSFRD
Short Fiction Grand Slam
“Only the Dead Know Brooklyn” provides a useful and insightful lesson of human nature, uses setting and the theme of death and decay to make a statement to the reader, creates a specific mood throughout the story to provide symbolic understanding of the protagonist’s traits and events that occur within the story, and it includes a fragmented journey that advances the plot through action endured by the characters and provides only a glimpse into the life of the protagonist. All of these elements can be citied and analyzed in the text throughout the story. Thomas Wolfe’s short story “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn” is the perfect example of the short fiction genre because the character’s traits and the themes of the story are artfully crafted together using the elements given by Edgar Allan Poe as characteristic of short fiction. Wolfe’s use of language, tone, and style further add to the cohesion of theme and mood in the story.
“Only the Dead Know Brooklyn” provides the reader with a useful and insightful lesson of human nature that people are self-absorbed and self-assured. This element can be found in the argument between the narrator and the other wise guy while they are waiting at the train station. The big guy has asked for directions to Bensonhurst. The narrator answers and another wise guy says “ ‘Duh guy is crazy! I tell yuh what yuh do’” (Wolfe 244). Through this text, we can gain insight into the character’s thoughts. Both
character’s believe that their directions are the best ones, proving that they are self-assured. Because they are both certain that they are right, the other character’s thoughts are inconsequential which proves that they are also self-absorbed. This element of short fiction is easily identified in this portion of the text and is easily relatable to the human experience.
“Only the Dead Know Brooklyn” uses the theme of...