“See the little sparrow with the broken leg. Oh poor, brave little thing…” (p. 164) “Where’s your home? Said the lieutenant in German. “Over more water than you’ve ever seen.”” (p. 168) -refers to boy being displaced and how he is isolated from his heritage. He is lost overseas and cannot get back.
Joe is a young American boy who lives at an orphanage in Germany. He dreams about his family. Peter told him his father was an American soldier. Joe asks one of the nuns if it is true, but the nun tries to encourage him to not listen to Peter because he likes to make up stories. Suddenly when Joe thinks he sees his father the nun tries to divert his attention. Joe sneaks out at night to find the soldier. When he does he finds a whole camp. The soldiers adore Joe. They give him chocolate and little trinkets, but they know they have to take him back to the orphanage. Immediately when the lieutenant tells Joe they were going to take him back Joe holds onto the sergeant and refuses to let go. In the end the only way for the sergeant to convince Joe to stay at the orphanage was to promise to come back for him.
Joe – He wants to feel accepted. In the end he exaggerates his story for the rest of the orphanage and they love him for it. Since he didn’t have chance to be with the army, he must be accepted somewhere else. He is a dreamer who is full of hope. He wants to connect with his heritage. When the townsfolk give him the name “Joe” because he is African American, he accepts this name over his German one. Peter- He is the oldest child at the orphanage. He likes to think of himself as the wisest. Sergeant- Very kind towards Joe.
D.P. – Displaced Person Sparrow symbolizes Joe
The plot of the story is the search for hope. Joe wants to be connected with his heritage. When he finds people that look like him he doesn’t want to leave them because he feels like he belongs with him. He sees the soldiers as his family. The only way he let’s go is when the sergeant promises he will come back for him. He promised to take him back home across the water.
Importance of Accepting Decisions Regarding Life and Death -Both Iris and her husband have to decide if they want to have their plug pulled. They have conflicting decisions but must accept each others. They both talk about death and health problems and how they don’t want to die yet, but neither of them makes a move to change their actions. Nobody opens a window, or gets up to make coffee. They are simply accepting their decisions in life, and not changing fate.
“Good,” she says. But neither of us make a move.” (p. 435) “But while I’m trying to tell all this woman, while I’m trying to make myself understood, my wife moves quickly and bends over, and that’s it.” (p. 443)
Husband and wife are awakened by a woman with a wrong number. While they are awake they decide to talk about death because Iris read an article in the newspaper about a guy took a shotgun and forced the nurses to take his father off the life-support machine. This conversation makes the speaker feel that his relationship with his wife is deepening.
Iris = wants her husband to pull the plug on her Husband = doesn’t want the plug pulled on him Husband= protective of Iris and jealous of other men in her dreams. Afraid of losing his new wife because he understands how easy it is to leave, like he left his wife and kids. Eventually tells her what she wants to hear to he can keep her. They are both lazy. They talk about quieting smoking, but they continue to smoke.
Messed up sheets-illustrate the messed up lives of the couple. They are hiding under the sheets while talking about death, yet beds are supposed to be safe. Phone calls at midnight-Way to make them wake up to the world, and reality that they might die one day and what would happen. 3am gives them the perfect time for odd talks and discussions.
At the very end “The line goes dead, and I can’t hear anything” depicting Iris pulling the plug on the phone. This lady has been constantly calling throughout the story, and making the characters aware of certain issues. At her last call, Iris illustrates how she wants her husband to pull the plug on her, by pulling the cord. After the couple leave the bed all day, the tend to do things in a more hurried fashion. They are hyper-aware of their actions, and how they could die at any minute. After being lethargic and not trying to do anything about changing themselves in the past, they are scared and hurried to things with their lives.