The Invalid's Story Themes

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From the very beginning of the story, the narrator draws attention to human mortality when he refers to his health, saying that he is "now but a shadow," although he "was a hale, hearty man two short years ago." The rest of the story is filled with references to sickness and death. In fact, the story's plot is centered around the failed attempt to transport the corpse of the narrator's friend, John B. Hackett, from Ohio to Wisconsin, where Hackett is to be buried.

In the process, the narrator has many conversations with Thompson, the expressman on the train, who ruminates about the inevitability of death itself, saying twice that "'we've all got to go, they ain't no getting around it."' Later, after Thompson and the narrator fail to move the box of guns with Limburger cheese on top—which they mistake for Hackett's corpse&mdash...

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This section contains 725 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Invalid's Story Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Invalid's Story from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.