The Hurt Man

In: English and Literature

Submitted By tracyiang
Words 506
Pages 3
The Hurt Man by Wendell Berry


“The Hurt Man” is a short story written by Wendell Berry and published in 2003. It told us about a childhood memory of Mat Feltner back in the late 1880´s. Its themes are growing up from childhood becoming part of the grown up world, which is living with love and sorrow. At first glance, you would think that the title refers to the hurt man that the mother lets into their house and that is probably true. But somehow I believe that it also refers to the change in Mat how his innocent, unknowing heart suddenly learns of pain through his mother's care of the man. Mat was living in a turbulent time and place . It was a harsh world which Mat's deceased older siblings hadn't been able to overcome. (ll.37 “uncountable ways for a boy to get hurt, or worse”. Mat's mother was a strong woman, which wasn't unusual in her time and place. She loved her son, but didn't smother him, even though she had already lost three children. She knew that the hardship of life couldn't ignored, they had to be faced, so she let him grow up like everyone else, although she was careful on Saturdays, since the town became a dangerous place then. Mat was mildly surprised, when his mother let the hurt man into their house, but he wasn't surprised to see his mother treat the man. He already knew that this was what his mother would do for him, so why wouldn't she help a stranger as well? He was only surprised when he saw her face, because his mother had an expression he had never seen before. By seeing his mother's deep care and love for a stranger, whom she would usually have resented , Mat suddenly realizes what death is. It isn't just a word used to describe the things in the graveyard, no, it's a word to describe people that have lived but are now gone and will never come back. When he gradually gets closer to his mother he suddenly sees her face and is shocked by…...

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