This is a story that describes the things that are bound to happen to us in the course of life. It tells us of circumstances that we are liable to encounter in life. The author goes on to explain that in spite of the notion portrayed by the world, we have little if any control of the issues that befall us. The author brings into the fore the theme of fate through death of a person perceived to be complete and immune from the fate (death); a cemetery sexton. A man in his sixties, a father to a daughter and a grandfather-to-be whose life seemed all complete but he died. The author goes on to describe how only the bereaved really felt the loss.
The story, in my opinion, introduces death in a more casual way, for instance in the first paragraph, the words “because they found old George…dead in bead…” show the amount of emotional turmoil brought to the bereaved, a more cultivated way of saying George was dead would have been appropriate.
The coldness expressed by the author when he describes the laying still body of the dead looking at which you cannot tell whether he is dead or asleep is a real occurrence to me. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one or a close relative can testify the mix-up of emotions that go in their mind wondering whether any other person is feeling exactly the same. The disbelief that he is gone and the many unanswered questions and wishes that he should have stayed a little bit longer as experienced by his daughter – all this captures the reality of being left by a loved person.
The author’s response to the question “Why?” obviously asked by the bereaved points to the theme in the story. One can go on to give a reason explaining why it happens, but the ultimate answer to the question is that it happens because it has to happen. George Horton would have responded, “Do the math”, “the bottom line”, “it’s per the bottom line” or “its biblical”. None of the answers really addresses the issue of death and at times we just have to let the curiosity go.
Perhaps the most perplexing scenario is the one at the final part of the story. The author explores a list of figures of things that happen year in year out. “2.1 million Americans will die” every year and he wonders “Why?” The ultimate answer to this is that because they are bound to happen. It is the course, its fate.