English 331 19 July 2010 Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story The short story, “Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story” by Russell Banks is raved as one of his most famous. A story told most in the first person, describes the sudden beginning and end of the relationship between Ron and Sarah. Ron, the main character, narrates the story from his memory of ten years earlier. Ron provides the reader with a very vivid image of how different he and Sarah truly are. So vivid in fact, the reader can not help but feel pity and shame for Sarah.
From the reader’s point of view, Banks triggers an immediate emotional reaction to Ron. It is easy to immediately get a distasteful feeling for Ron’s over confident view of himself, even though he attempts to downplay the arrogance. The feeling of disgust continues as he begins to describe Sarah. Ron’s memory of Sarah from ten years earlier is described as “unattractive” and “very homely” (149). As the reader, it is important to have a vision of the characters, but I feel that Ron is malicious with his descriptions.
Based on my emotional reaction to Ron, I begin to read the story with an expressive theory of art. It is easy for Banks to cause the reader to question their feelings and emotions as they follow Ron and Sarah. As the relationship details unfold and the reader is able to get the full picture, we get a glimpse of Ron’s softer side. When Sarah approaches Ron at the bar “on a dare”, he invites the conversation (153). Ron is interested in Sarah, truly interested in who she is and where she comes from. Engaged in conversation he overlooks her appearance and see the woman inside.
Ron could have very easily ended the conversation as quickly as it started, but she intrigues him from the start. The meetings and meaningful conversation continue for several more visits as Ron and Sarah begin to form their friendship. Ron is interested in Sarah because he wants to understand the woman she has become. Over time he begins to see past the friendship and begins to look at Sarah as somewhat of an “object” to conquer (155). Ron has never been sexually interested in a woman of Sarah’s background or looks.
As he describes it, someone of his looks and status would not be seen with someone of hers. As the relationship continues to change, over time the relationship becomes nothing more than sexual. Ron has conquered his prey and Sarah has become emotionally attached. Sarah pushes for there to be more out of their interactions and Ron is reluctant. Ron eventually gives in and makes a few public appearances with Sarah before he realizes that he has gone too far. The end comes in a very painful and sad way.
Banks again holds true to his expressive form by leading the reader to feel a connection with Ron. Some emotions are of anger and some are of sorrow. Ron chooses to cast Sarah aside in a mean and acidic way. He yells at her to leave his apartment even going as far as calling her an “ugly bitch” (175). However, as he recaps the story ten years later, he begs for the reader to understand that he truly did love Sarah. The only way Ron can deal with himself is to think of Sarah as dead. He can’t imagine her being alive and in pain over what he must have done to her.