Monday, September 20, 2010

Reader's Diary #650- Jesse Stuart: Split Cherry Tree

As a teacher I don't often like to read books about teaching, at least not in my spare time. Don't get me wrong, I love my job. It's just that I'm more escapist in my reading choices than that. But I picked Jesse Stuart's "Split Cherry Tree" from a list of frequently anthologized short stories, without any knowledge of the subject matter.

"Split Cherry Tree" is about a boy named Dave who has to stay after school for a few days to pay off a debt for climbing, and subsequently breaking, a cherry tree. He's concerned that his father will not understand and will be quite upset considering that Dave has to work on his father's farm after school and will be late to do his chores. Dave's assumptions are correct and his father marches off to the school to straighten things out.

At the surface there's a message about teachers and parents needing a better understanding of one another, but I don't think Stuart delved too deeply under the surface and the quick changes of hearts seem simplistic at best. At least the contrast in characters was interesting.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)


JoAnn said...

Well that sounds a little disappointing. Didn't you have anther story about a cherry tree (possibly in winter) earlier this year?

I chose a slightly creepy story by Donald Barthelme.

John Mutford said...

JoAnn: Actually, I read one about a pomegranate tree. But you read one about a cherry tree back in March!

Margot said...

Split Cherry Tree sounds like it could be a good discussion starter for a group wanting to improve parent-teacher relationships. Or not. I'll have to go read the story.

I read a short story written by an amateur that I liked. My post is at Joyfully Retired.

JoAnn said...

Too funny! I was actually thinking of your story about the pomegranate tree, but knew the cherry tree sounded familiar somehow. Not sure if I blotted the story out of my mind since I didn't 'get it'... or maybe developing middle aged 'cognitive impairment' :-)

Loni said...

Seems like an obvious "moral at the end" sort of story.

I read a little Margaret Atwood this week.

Teddy Rose said...

It sounds like it was a bit on the flat side. Too bad.

I enjoyed mine: The Plate by Roddy Doyle

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I found that story to be a little grating and unbelievable. Maybe it was the overdone hill accents, maybe it was the fact that he walked a 12 mile round trip to school every day.