Vomit. It’s neither reasonably to see nor pretty to clean up. “Ralph the Duck” begins with the vomiting sound of the narrator’s aureate retriever being sick on the rug. As the storyteller. who goes nameless throughout the whole narrative. “carries 75 lbs of heaving aureate retriever to the door and pours him onto the Ag. moonlit snow” ( 1 ) . he thinks to himself. “He loved what made him sick” ( 2 ) . We learn the Canis familiaris pukes because he has been eating the decomposing carcase of a cervid. which he continues to travel back to. dark after dark. Through the Canis familiaris we see the correlativity to the narrator’s current destructive life style.
Like the Canis familiaris. the storyteller shows an evident deficiency of concern for his ain wellness. He seems to hold small energy. most likely due to the fact that he doesn’t sleep good. Several times throughout the narrative he consumes big sums of intoxicant. He has a “king-sized drink composed of sourmash whisky and ice” ( 10 ) with dinner. while driving at work he has a thermos of sourmash and hot java and one forenoon he starts on a wet breakfast. This would typify the fact that the storyteller is enforcing his status upon himself. He is bored with his life. bored in his matrimony and bored with his occupation. After the decease of his baby girl he seems to experience no joy in life. Frederick Busch writes “Ralph the Duck” . to research how a adult male numbed by the hurting of holding a kid dice and a crumbling matrimony can still see a reclamation of dignity through his heroic actions in salvaging the life of a self-destructive miss. This act helps him lose his feeling of weakness and desperation he has held onto since seeing his ain kid dice and non being able to salvage her.
His relationship with his married woman. Fanny. is strained. They both seem to be traveling through the gestures of daily life and are emotionally asleep in the wake of the sudden decease of their infant girl. Fanny reminds him of what he used to be. More specifically. when he sees and negotiations to Fanny. the storyteller remembers his girl and the life he had before her decease. A life that was filled with joy for both himself. his married woman. every bit good as their immature girl. They were so in love with their girl and thrilled to be parents. This would explicate why. after the decease. he is so distant when talking to his wife- when he does talk to her at all. She sleeps on the couch one dark and the following forenoon he thinks “she will forgive me if I hadn’t been excessively atrocious – I didn’t think I’d been that bad” ( 2 ) . The storyteller even falls asleep on a day of the month to the films with Fanny. He reflects. “I fell asleep. and I’m afraid I snored” ( 45 ) .
Still. Fanny respects him for taking college categories at dark. Working at the college as a security officer gives the storyteller the periphery benefits of being able to go to one category per semester free of charge. He calls himself the “oldest college pupil in America” ( 4 ) even though he realizes that he isn’t. He feels like it. taking one category at a clip. “getting educated. in a sort of slow gesture way” ( 4 ) . This semester he is taking an English category and his professor represents to the storyteller people’s positions of Vietnam War veterans and how they view them as slayers and damaged. The professor writes on one of his documents. “You are non an stupid writer” ( 5 ) . The storyteller evidently loathes the professor and makes merriment of him throughout the full narrative.
When he has to leap get down the professor’s auto. the storyteller thinks to himself. “But he couldn’t acquire a Buick traveling on an ice-cold dark. and he didn’t know plenty to look for cells traveling bad” ( 4 ) . After the storyteller turns in another paper the professor asks to talk to him. He tells the storyteller. “You merely don’t say screw when you write an essay for a college prof. Okay? ” ( 28 ) . When asked in the following assignment to compose an essay that will act upon person. the storyteller turns in a narrative called “Ralph the Duck” . a delicious bedtime narrative evidently invented for his small miss. The professor. non surprisingly. is more metagrobolized than swayed by the narrative of a unfeathered duck. and he receives a D.
The narrator’s ideas when he is around the professor besides show that he is frequently reminded of the Vietnam stereotype. For case. the narrator thinks. “Slick characters like my professor like it if you’re a slayer or at least a erstwhile middleweight fighter” ( 8 ) . Another illustration of the storyteller doing merriment of the Vietnam stereotype is when he thinks. “I figured I should hold come to work have oning my weariness jacket and a ruddy bandanna around my head” . Say ‘Man’ to him a twosome of times. hang a fist in the air for heartache and solidarity. and look awfully worn. exhausted by experiences he was reasonably certain he envied me” ( 44 ) .
One dark the storyteller encounters a red-haired miss standing in the snow without any places on. in merely a bathrobe. She is clearly overwrought and claims that “He doesn’t love anyone…his ex-wife. or the one before that…and he doesn’t love me” ( 11 ) . The storyteller takes her to the dean’s house and thinks that “she is beautiful and she was someone’s red-haired girl. standing in a quadrangle how many stat mis from place weeping” ( 10 ) . The miss reminds the storyteller of the girl he one time had. Evidence of this when the storyteller thinks. “I idea of her as someone’s kid. which made me believe of ours. of course” ( 21 ) . He suspects that the miss is holding an matter with his professor after detecting that she shows up at the professors office and the professor calls her his “advisee” with a sly smile. After witnessing this he calls in sick for work and goes place. which is something he doesn’t usually do. He is experiencing a fatherlike fury at the professor for holding an matter with the red-haired miss and even more demoralized than usual.
The following clip he has an brush with the miss is on the same twenty-four hours he gets the D on the assignment in Rhetoric and Persuasion ( when he had turned Ralph the Duck ) . It is a wretchedly cold twenty-four hours. the worst of this old ages storms and one of the worst they’ve had in old ages. The college has closed. which it about ne’er does. and a freeze rain has started to fall. The storyteller feels every bit cold as the conditions. He is traveling about his undertakings automatically. seeking to warm up with his thermos full of java and sourmash. A study comes over the wireless in his work truck that someone’s roomie. who had been taking pills. was headed for the prey. At hazard to himself. the storyteller grinds the truck the narrow path to the prey. bucking snow and skiding on the route.
Once there he sees the red-haired miss in a white nightie. She is coggling. with a tummy full of pills. out in the cold. stop deading herself to decease. She is perched precariously four or five narratives up on the prey. Her tegument is mottled purple from the cold and he is ferocious with her. “I didn’t want her to see how close I might come to desiring to kill her because she wanted to die” ( 90 ) . He talks to her about death and how he remembers the dead organic structures he has seen in Vietnam and how atrocious the memory is to the 1s left buttocks. He dreams about his small girl frequently. which is why he doesn’t sleep good. and doesn’t privation to woolgather about this small miss besides. She tells him she merely wants to travel to kip. that she is serious about deceasing and hopes that he remembers her. He is experiencing frenetic. retrieving his small miss and her decease. To his alleviation he is able to acquire her in the truck. As he races back down the hill to the infirmary he checks her several times to do certain she is still take a breathing. Her breath is shallow and she is really cold and fading fast.
He talks to her about his girl and how they lost her. As he courageously races down off the mountain. he bounces the truck “off a shaped Fe fencing to give me the curve traveling left that I needed. On a pool tabular array. it would hold been a bank shooting deserving applause” ( 120 ) . He feels desperate to acquire to the infirmary in clip. before it is excessively late. He roars up to the exigency room entryway with a constabulary bodyguard where they snatch her from his weaponries. They make him sit down because he is agitating so bad in the wake of his epinephrine haste and fright. He keeps stating. “Don’t let her die” . ( 24 ) and “She better non decease this time” ( 132 ) . This is really of import. because it is about as if the storyteller has a 2nd opportunity at salvaging his girl.
Subsequently. at place. he is at the northern Windowss looking for the Sun to come up. He is looking for the fresh beginning of the twenty-four hours as he is trusting for a new beginning in his life. Fanny asks him how he talked the miss out of the prey. He says he merely told her narratives. He downplays his epic function in salvaging the girl’s life. but he knows he has had a 2nd opportunity. He has saved person else’s girl when he couldn’t salvage his ain. Through this action he has put his life on a way to self-healing.