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Red Truck by Maria Behan

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“Red Truck” by Maria Behan

The short story “Red truck” is about a middle-aged man named Fintan. He is going to his Mother’s house to out his things on the attic. He thought him and his girlfriend was going to a planetarium, but she lied to him. His mother’s house has been sold and he is told it’s time to clear out his things, which his brothers did months ago. When he is going through his old stuff he finds a red truck which he got for his sixth birthday. The truck was his favourite gift and he didn’t care about any of the other gifts he got on that birthday. The truck reminded him of his childhood, where he was bullied by his two older brothers. One day when he woke up, the truck was gone. Naturally, he blamed one of his brothers for stealing it, when it was really him who lost it. The day he found it he wouldn’t tell anyone, so he hid it until now 44 years later. He runs to his mother and tells her that he found one of his brother’s boxes in the attic and that she will never guess what he found.

Our main character in the story is Fintan. Despite his older age, he is clearly a child by heart and behaves a little bit like one too. As a young man, he was very good at writing and playing handball, but later on, he turned to art instead. Many of his friends keep on telling him to act his age, get a proper job and save up for his retirement. On page 1, line 19: “ His partners were always the same age-their late 20s-but in recent years they were factory seconds ”. Here we get the sense of him not acting his own age, because he doesn’t date women at his own age, and he doesn’t commit to pretty much anything, which in my opinion isn’t very mature.He doesn’t stay in long-term relationships, he is “shifting a cast of girlfriends” (p.1 l.18) neither has he started a family. When he was a kid he was bullied by his older brothers, and he still holds a grudge towards his two brothers for all the bullying and torment.

The red truck is what the story is focusing on, and the importance of it. When he finds the truck he is immediately reminded of his childhood. The red truck was Fintan’s escape from his brothers and everything around him. When he opened it on his sixth birthday, it was his favourite gift, and he didn’t care about any of the other presents. The truck reminds him of his father, who Fintan didn’t have a very good relationship with. His father was more affectionate towards his brothers, Peter and Shane. Fintan however still respects his father, and the day he loses the red truck, he hopes that blaming his brothers for stealing it, will give him some recognition from his father and turn some of his attention away from the brothers. The truck is very valuable for Fintan, even now, and it’s pretty clear why he still to this day holds a grudge towards his brothers. Usually, the rivalry between siblings tend to pass with age, when they become adults, but in Fintan’s case it pretty much never stopped.



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