Charles Baxter Essay, Research Paper
Authors often write differently in novels then in short stories. This isn’t always the case but most times it is. Charles Baxter writes pretty much the same way in his novel’s as he does in his short stories. In all of Baxter’s stories, there is always an element of realistic features. There’s always something you think could happen to you. Baxter takes real life events but always adds a little twist to plot to intrigue the reader. He is known across America for doing this. His stories are very simple to read and there is never a lot going on but I guess that means that his work are meant for everybody to read. For this essay I plan to compare his novel’s and his short stories in different elements. I will explain hoe most of his characters are very similar to each other. I will continue to compare his novels and short stories by comparing the many different plots he uses. I will then compare his sixth sense of description he uses throughout all of his works. When I am done you can decide if his writing differs from novels to short stories.
All fictional characters have certain qualities within themselves that no one else has. This is not always true. Most of Baxter’s characters are all different in one way but yet are all very similar. Almost all of Baxter’s characters have a desperate need to find peace in themselves. In “Kiss Away”, Jodie seems to be not able to trust Walton after her encounter with Gleinya which makes me believe that she had been hurt before in the past, although we are never told this in the story. The same thing is seen in “Stained Glass”, where Donna doesn’t believe she can stay with Bobby, but after se received his stained glass portrait, she forgave him and went back with him ignoring his violent temper. In “First Light” Dorsey loves her husband but goes and has an affaire with a scientist. Out of all these characters, they all share the same problem: the conflict of love. They are all in different ending scenarios but all face the same disastrous ending. Jodie fears Walton every time he makes a sudden move. Donna is back with Bobby but when will be the next time he snaps. Dorsey is divorced from her husband because of her slip up with the scientist. As you can see all these women are pretty much the same character, just one minor detail and they can be used in different stories over and over again. Baxter does not change his characters but uses them in different settings, places and time so that the readers don’t get bored. Baxter doesn’t care if it’s a novel or a short story, he’ll deliver a good character whenever he feels necessary.
All plot lines must be able to strike a nerve with the reader. If a plot does not move a reader, than the story could not stand on it’s own. I’ve seen movies with great plots that have been considered the best of all time. “Forest Gump” had a great plot and is one of the best. I’ve read books with great plots and those are the best ones. Although not a book, a play I believe “Macbeth” is a true masterpiece in its own time and till present day. In all of Baxter’s work, there is a great plot involved. The short story “The Net Building Plan To Bomb” is one of my favourites because is this day and age, this story could relate to anyone of us. Some man whose name is never known finds a piece of paper with the title “The Next”. Who’s to say if it a prank or reality? In the novel “First Night”, a women struggles to find happiness in life after an uneventful childhood. I don’t believe for one minute that Baxter changes his style just to put out a short story or novel. Both of those stories has given a good name Baxter, but both have different elements to attract the reader in. Whether it be a novel or a short story Baxter always has a leg to stand on with his “real” plot lines.
Setting the mood and the place in a novel or a short story is very important. When you begin to explain the place of where the story is being portrayed is paints a picture in the readers mind. When you can do that you know you’ve got the readers interested. Baxter is very clever at how he sets the mood or tone of the story. In the beginning you’ll know if you should be laughing, crying or being serious. Almost all of his stories take place in the stare of Michigan, Five Oaks to be exact. “He turns into Mrs. Lamonte’s driveway and parks in the shade of a walnut tree. Mrs. Lamonte’s house is peach coloured. The house looks like something in a fairy tale, a huge piece of poisonous candy”. These lines are taken from his novel “First Light” p.54. As you can see, Baxter paints a picture in your mind just by using the simplicity of his interpretation of what Mrs. Lamonte’s should look like. Most of his stories take place in small towns except for “The Next Building I Plan To Bomb” which takes place in the city. This description of the small towns make think that I’m sitting right there looking at it. In both his novels and short stories, he uses the same approach, attract the reader by the true beauty of the world through his own eyes.
Authors often write differently in novels than in short stories. Charles Baxter in one of those authors that does not change his style to evoke the same effect as the other. Why fix it ain’t broke. Baxter uses all sorts of different elements in his stories. From his somewhat normal to oftentimes crazy characters he brings them to life through his plot lines. With all that he brings imagery to bring it all together. The one factor that even adds to all this is his proven gist of storytelling. Many articles have claimed that he has a god given gift of storytelling and I believe them.