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A Critique on Hobo, by Robert Bloch.

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Introduction

Khalid Attia English Language and Literature Mr. Roy Short Stories 'Inside Stories' A Critique on Hobo, by Robert Bloch The story opens with a man called Hannigan 'on the lam again', leaving a town he calls 'Knifeville' for reasons which are later revealed. From the offset we realize that this man is a Hobo, as suggested in the title, traveling from town to town to find refuge and avoid the so-called 'Knifevilles'. As soon as he hops into 'an empty', the smell and the lighting reflect the mood and ambience of the boxcar. The word 'musty' resonates in one's mind as being a smell closely related to death, although not relating to smell but to darkness, also touching on the idea of death. ...read more.

Middle

Again 'Sneaky Pete' is mentioned but by now we realize that it is most probably alcohol as he mentions it several more times in the story and every time it is more and more closely related to alcohol rather than a person. Hannigan shrugs, trying to convince himself that he drank to celebrate his leaving town. The shrug unexpectedly becomes a twitch 'and the twitch became a shiver'. He then admits to himself, he drunk because he was scared, he had to get out of 'Knifeville'. He turns his gaze away from the light outside and focuses his vision 'in the dimness of the empty boxcar'. ...read more.

Conclusion

This makes the reader wonder why it is 'the man' rather than 'a man' as Hannigan is not even acquainted with him - yet. As the story continues, Hannigan keeps asking the man questions and he keeps seeing nods as flashes of light pass by. This is quite a coincidence that each time Hannigan asks him a question a flash of light shows his nod. Hannigan is only aware of the man's whereabouts by his 'hoarse breathing'. Toward the end Hannigan quite rightly asks 'you a dummy or something?' and leans closer forward to see the man. The man topples forward and Hannigan is shocked to see him dead and says to himself that he heard the breathing, and hen he hears the breathing from behind until he feels it on his neck. 1 ...read more.

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