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Yet another please identify this book/story question
July 29, 2008 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Trying to identify a short story I read a while back. It's been nagging at me and I'd really like to read it again. I posted this question last week but received, alas, only one response, so I thought I'd try again. Description is inside. Thanks!

I think it must be a fairly "classic" short story because I read it as a school assignment, and it was in an anthology of short stories along with stories like The Lottery, The A&P, etc.

The story is narrated by the older brother. He has a younger brother who hero worships him, to the extent that the younger brother at one point breaks his arm because the older brother tells him that he could fly if he jumped off the roof or something like that. And then something happens, and the younger brother no longer worships the narrator. Can't remember what it was that happens, can't remember the title or the author.

Ring a bell, anyone? I've recently become enamored of short stories, and would love to read it again. And plus, I remember crying when I read it the 1st time over 20 years ago, and am curious to know how my jaded old self would related to the story.
posted by jujube to Writing & Language (9 answers total)
 
might not have been brothers... a separate peace is a long these lines. kinda. i loved it in middle school when i read it. cried then.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:09 PM on July 29, 2008


I think I read this recently, in an anthology of classic short stories written in the 1960's. This is a trite description, but is the gist of the story that his younger brother used to be gullible and happy-go-lucky, and by the end of the story, the younger brother is hardened and cynical? If so, I could probably find it in my bookcase, I'll go dig it up for you. The name of the story was the name of the younger brother (kind of a funny name, I vaguely recall).
posted by dreamphone at 12:45 PM on July 29, 2008


Ah, just found it in a 1964 anthology. It's Sucker, by Carson McCullers.
posted by dreamphone at 12:47 PM on July 29, 2008


Oops, just realized that the character never jumps off a roof or breaks his arm, sorry. Must be another one.
posted by dreamphone at 12:53 PM on July 29, 2008


It wasn't an excerpt from The Great Brain series was it? The younger brother is the narrator (in at least most of the books) and somebody definitely breaks their arm (I think it's when the younger brother gets disenamored with the older brother in one of the later books or something?). If any of the other details sound familiar (Utah, late 1800's) let me know, and I can try to help you find the exact excerpt.
posted by salvia at 4:26 PM on July 29, 2008


Hmm, now I'm second-guessing my memory of whether someone breaks their arm. Hopefully someone else can chime in.
posted by salvia at 4:28 PM on July 29, 2008


I think you could find the text of Sucker online if you google it (I did). There is an arm-squeezing incident in the story, but no arm breaking. The reason that I keep going on about this is that my version of sucker is in an anthology with The Lottery, as you mention above. And it's quite sad, as you mention, too.
posted by dreamphone at 4:34 PM on July 29, 2008


It looks like dreamphone is right that "Sucker" is the story in question:

"Sucker used to always remember and believe every word I said. That's how he got his nick-name. Once a couple of years ago I told him that if he'd jump off our garage with an umbrella it would act as a parachute and he wouldn't fall hard. He did it and busted his knee."


Thanks for pointing out that short story, dreamphone. It was interesting to see how some of that story ended up in McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter in Bubber Kelly's story arc.
posted by neda at 5:23 PM on July 29, 2008


THANKS dreamphone!!! and neda too! You ROCK and restored my faith in the innernets. :)
posted by jujube at 6:28 PM on July 29, 2008


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