Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label Chopan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chopan. Show all posts

14 March, 2012

Jon Chopan, "Men of Principle"

"Men of Principle" deals with a recently returned veteran whose girlfriend told him--to which we are not privy--that she was raped. Tully needs revenge, i.e. "swift justice." While the story is about war and revenge and pain, the larger themes, for me, the need to name an enemy and clearly identify that enemy while also having specific reasons for war. Often life itself is a battle. Who is really the bad guy and the good guy is dealt with in this story obliquely. Sometimes the bad guy is a good guy and vice versa. Also, fighting, war and killing do not repair anything.

Chopan does a nice job of integrating the winter snow into the feeling of loneliness and isolation that Tully feels. There are many great descriptions and observations. Chopan also weaves Iraq war experiences into the story in a natural and unforced way.

Favorite Lines:
"...a feeling that this was not a place where good things happened."

"And in an instant I could see their faces change, the way it often happens when men are given a real purpose, a mission to believe in."

"I was angry because what we'd done hadn't fixed anything for Emma, and I knew now, if I ever told her what I'd done, that she'd leave me, that she wouldn't find any good in it."

"The building we stopped in front of, a three-story brick apartment complex, looked ready to sink into the earth beneath it."

"In this way, what we sought was often the quick and necessary relief men feel when they feel loss."

Chopan's web site
Epiphany magazine's web site