Going homeThe short story “Going Home” is written by Pete Hamill.
It wasoriginally written for “The New York Post” in 1971.The story starts with a group of friends are on a bus trip from New Yorkto 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 ahalf-year in jail. He does not know if his wife still wants him back or havemoved on. He explains that he wrote to his wife that if she still wanted himback, she had to tie a yellow handkerchief around an oak tree. When the busreaches 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 drivingfrom New York to Brunswick.
I think this because there is no use of moderntechnology during the entire story. For example, Vingo wrote letters to hiswife while he was in prison. The other hint regarding the time the story takesplace in is found when the group of friends discusses Vingo; “Perhaps he was asailor; maybe he had run away from his wife. He could be an old soldier goinghome.
..”. Saying that he could be an old soldier going home gave me the ideathat 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 isbecause the bus ride makes the overall mood of the story suspenseful.Going Home” is written in a third person view. The narrator has alimited knowledge and does not give out too much information. The narrator’svoice is more of an observer, leaving it up to the readers to imagine how thecharacters might be feeling.The protagonist of the story is Vingo. He is described as an elder manwith a dusty face. He is dressed in a suit that did not fit him.
His fingerswere stained with cigarettes. On the bus ride, he sits quietly and chews on hislips. Later on in the story, he opens up to the girl telling her about hissituation. The development he goes through is that he becomes happy when he seesthe 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 aphysical 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 stillwants him. This is an internal struggle because The climax of the story takes place when the bus finally reaches the oaktree. When they reach the oak tree, all the passengers in the bus sit on thewindow seats, to see if Vingo’s wife had tied a ribbon on the tree, indicatingthat she wants him to go back home: “Vingo stopped looking, tightening hisface 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 is onhis way home from prison, indicates that he has done something wrong. He iswaiting to see if his wife is willing to have him back home and forgive him forhis actions. In the end of the story, Vingo´s wife forgave him and waited forhim with open arms. This is shown in the story when she decides to tie multipleyellow handkerchiefs around the oak tree, instead of only one.
Another literary device in thisstory is the contrasts. For example, the contrasts between Vingo and the groupof friends. While the group of friends are full of life, loud and talkingexcitedly, Vingo sits in complete silence.
Another contrast found in the storyis in the very beginning. Here, New York is described as “grey, coldspring” while Florida is “golden beaches and blue sea”. I think this contrast is symbolic of Vingo’slife in prison and his life back home.
This can also be a subtle foreshadowwhich 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 howVingo´s wife not only forgave him but also waited for him with open arms makesme think about how important it is to be able to forgive someone.