On the Sidewalk Bleeding’ is a dramatic short story written by the very popular American writer Even Hunter. Throughout the story Hunter creates suspense using skilful presentation of characters, his thought-provoking variety of themes, the short story’s simple yet effective plot and the author’s impressive writing style and his clever use of symbolism. The base of the plot revolves around a young teenage gang member called Andy. Who has been violently stabbed by a rival gang.
Andy is left alone to die as he watches a selection of personalities pass him by, but remains unaided. The story is mostly written from Andy thoughts and memories. One of the ways hunter builds suspense is through his dramatic and clever use of language. From the very beginning, Hunter creates tension and suspense by creating such a hard hitting and shocking first line to the story ‘The boy lay on the sidewalk bleeding in the rain’ This line describes the setting, main character and the plot in one clever short sentence that draws you in to the story.
The opening of ‘On the Sidewalk bleeding’ is very vivid and visual unlike other short stories. Even Hunter uses ingenious remissions to really make us empathic for Andy as he lays in the rain all alone. We nearly feel his pain as Andy tells us the graphic description of his injuries. We sympathies for him. Hunter also describes a purple Jacket Andy is wearing. The Jacket has ‘The Royals’ lettered across the back of it. This description highlights the importance of the Jacket and leaves you asking questions. Who are the royals?
This builds excitement and anticipation making you want to read on to answer these questions. Another key way hunter builds suspense is through his explanation and horrors detail of each of the characters personalities and situations. Andy is the main character in the story; he is sixteen years old and is a gang called ‘The Royals’. Andy doesn’t say any dialogue in the story but his thoughts and memories are powerful and poignant. He is thinking of his hopes of the future but as the reader knows he’s dying and not going to live that future that he dreams of, this makes us pity him.
Through his portrayal of Andy, Hunter makes us feel and think of Andy as an individual young boy not as a gang member. Most of the characters in this book unfortunately do not help Andy. This makes us feel annoyed and frustrated. When the old lady comes along she can’t hear him because she is deaf and when a man comes along he is ironically drunk and therefore tragically does not sense or see Andy urgent need for help. Hunter uses Freddie and Angel’s experience with meeting Andy to emphasizes how society has become selfish “… Ex.’s a royal. We help him and the Guardians’ II be down on our necks… ” This quote illustrates that people don’t take risks to help other people. Freddie and Angela don’t help Andy because of what might happen to them after they find help for him. The police man is not interested in Andy as a person, Just as ‘A Royal’. This makes you as the reader feel hurt because we know that Andy used his last energy into removing the Jacket to avoid this very thing. Laura, who is Andy girlfriend, is an important person in Anta’s sidewalk.
Hunter’s style of writing is another important way that he creates tension and anxiety. He uses impressive and dramatic similes, onomatopoeia, alliterations, repetition and rhyme. An example of a simile is ‘ Carried it like a queen’ this simile is ironic because when you think of a queen you think elegant and posh but the lady who is actually carrying the umbrella is a tramp. Onomatopoeia is used very effectively to create suspense, bubbling, hushed, splash, hissing, ticking, grunt and beating are all examples of onomatopoeia that is used throughout the story.
This helps you here the things that are going on around Andy and helps to create a picture in your head of how things are moving and sounding like. ‘Bubbling of blood’ Is a striking alliteration that really vividly creates the image of the blood in his mouth. This alliteration really sustains the fact that Andy is badly hurt. Hunter also uses repetition. Dying is repeated a number of times and really displays that he is going to ii and highlights his realization of his thoughts about dying. Rhyme is used also. Readily steadily presents to us that his life time is running out and makes the thought stand out highlighting that he is ‘on his last legs’. The ending of ‘On the Sidewalk Bleeding’ is surprising and tragic. This is the first time we meet Laura as a person rather than one of Andy memories and thoughts. It is tragic because as the reader we sympathies with Andy and hoped that someone would help him but the people that do find him, leave him to die. The ending is very symbolic especially when Andy takes of this Jacket. If he had not been wearing the Jacket, he wouldn’t have been stabbed.
The knife had not been plunged in hatred of Andy. The knife hated only the purple Jacket. The Jacket was a stupid meaningless thing that was robbing him of his life. ‘ This line sums up the message of the story. Andy realized that it was because of the Jacket the he was stabbed and unaided. If he had not been wearing the Jacket he would not have been stabbed. At the beginning of the story, the Jacket had symbolizes power and pride but at the end it was meaningless. That was why he removed the Jacket at the end of the story to become Andy not ‘A Royal.
To conclude, ‘On the Sidewalk Bleeding by Even Hunter is a powerful and thought provoking short story which keeps us in suspense right until the very end. The story makes the reader empathic with Andy tragic situation and encourages the reader to consider more deeply the consequences of getting involved in gangs. Hunters exploration of the theme of prejudice makes the reader contemplate their own preconception and prejudices. I think the author wanted to convey the idea that individuals need to take responsibility for their own decisions and that society should not Judge people on appearance alone.