Thursday, April 25, 2013
The Oleander - Miriam Allen deFord
Story: The Oleander
Author: Miriam Allen deFord
Book: The Theme is Murder
The tragic events of this story concern two brothers – the narrator of the story and his evil brother Gilbert. The story beings with the narrator reminiscing about his childhood days when he used to spend most of his time near the oleander tree which his mother has planted and goes on to reveal how the tree has been his only friend during the tragic events that follow his entire life. The first sign that his brother Gilbert is not an ordinary child comes to the fore when he kills a cat but the greatest harm comes in the chemistry lab when the two brothers are carrying out an experiment: a blast which renders the narrator blind while Gilbert escapes unscathed. Since he is blind, he decides not to marry his girlfriend – who eventually ends up as Gilbert’s wife. Then there is an embezzlement charge against Gilbert but it is quickly hushed up. Next comes the complaint from the maid that it was Gilbert who hit their Mother which was the result of her death - she is discharged quickly.
Tragedy after tragedy befalls our narrator but he always turns a blind eye (aha!) to his brother’s faults and takes solace under the oleander tree. The break point finally comes when Gilbert cuts down the Oleander tree to the root as he knows that this will cause the maximum grief to his blind brother. Well, what can our narrator do? Can a blind man seek revenge against all the injustice meted out to him? If so, what can he do to Gilbert to make him suffer and how can he achieve it? You’ll have to read the story to find out and you won’t be disappointed with the coup de grace which comes in the final sentence of the story!