17 October 2012
In Pinckney Benedict’s 2008 short story “Mercy,” the narrator and his father both take pride in their family’s ranch. The narrator works hard for his father each day, taking breaks only to sneak treats to the miniature horses being kept on the neighbor’s ranch nearby. The narrator’s father; however, does not show the same compassion for the animals as his son. He is adamant about keeping the horses off of his land and warns his son that he will shoot to first to intrude. The narrator views his father in a very austere manner.
When we are first introduced to the narrator’s father we find that he has a no-nonsense view of life. He does not
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He lets his soft side show for a split second, just long enough for his son to catch a glimpse in the mirror. As fall turns to winter and snow begins to fall, we see another hidden trait emerge from the narrator’s father, forgiveness. The narrator is still maintaining the fence each day. It begins to snow one night and carries on into the next morning, when the narrator goes to check the fence that day he notices the horses all huddled together pressed against the fence. “Most of them had clustered at a single point, to exchange body heat, I suppose.” He continues on, “The wire was stretched tight with the weight of them” (129). After a moment of hearing a strange noise he realizes it was not the horses making it, but the fence. The next second the fence post collapses, and the horse set free onto their land. This causes us to wonder if the father will hold true to his word. The narrator notices his father standing in the field, “snow had collected on the ridge of his shoulders,” (131) as if he had been there awhile. Cinnamon, the narrator’s favorite horse, began to approach his father and the narrator grows tense as he remembers his fathers warning. Cinnamon then tugs at his father, then once more knocking him over. “He fell right on his ass in the snow, my old man, the Remington held high above his head” (131). What happens next is reason for