Cranes Essay

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The short story “The Cranes” written by Peter Meinke brings readers tangled feelings of romance, simplicity and sadness. An elderly couple sits bird watching, solemnly recapping what their world has become. All the while Meinke uses subtle imagery of cranes to portray the inner-feelings of the elderly couple and their eventual departure from the world. The initial relational image of the cranes and couple abruptly presents itself, “Along the marshy shore two tall and stately birds, staring motionless toward the Gulf towered above the bobbing egrets and scurrying plovers.” (Meinke 621) The representation of couple is clear; the husband and wife statically sit in their car as the world they know continues to busily carry on. The couple has aged, the two are in poor health, and both are saddened by the way their children have turned out. The two have allowed life’s troubles to engulf their internal being. The cranes look as though they have traveled the same road. “They’re probably older than we are. Their feathers are falling out and their kids never write.” (Meinke 622) Cranes are beautiful birds; in some cultures they represent longevity and life. This husband and wife once were full of joy and laughter and have been together for what feels like eternity. Just as their lives begin to fade away, the author illustrates the cranes presence diminishing. “Outside, the wind ruffled the bleached-out grasses, and the birds in the white glare seemed almost transparent.” (Meinke 623) As the couple sits in their old car together, as they have been for many years, peaceful silence looms and their presence in the world nears to an end. In the final parallel of the couple and the cranes, the author uses the departure if the cranes. The cranes fly away from the gloomy Gulf marsh, symbolizing the joint departure of husband and wife from the cold world. “Suddenly, the two cranes

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