The Challenge Essay

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Korb has a master's degree in English literature and creative writing and has written for a wide variety of educational publishers. In the following essay, Korb explores the many ambiguous elements of Vargas Llosa 's story.

In Vargas Llosa's prizewinning story "The Challenge," the meaningless death of a young man takes place within the confines of an unstable, impermanent world. In the environment that Justo and his friends inhabit, nothing is what it seems. Actions, people, and even relationships constantly shift and transform. Appearances cannot be trusted. This motif fixes the moral framework in which young men such as Julian and Justo grow up, helping to explain why violence, and their falsely brave reactions to it, outlines their lives.

In marked contrast to this motif, "The Challenge" opens with firm roots in the mundane, realistic world. "We were drinking beer, like every Saturday," Julian narrates, "when Leonidas appeared...

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This section contains 1,821 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Challenge Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Challenge from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.