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Graduation Afternoon (SPOILER ALERT)

Discussion in 'Just After Sunset' started by Gerald, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. Gerald

    Gerald Well-Known Member

    I was kind of wondering if this story is somehow linked to The Things they left Behind. Because it's both about an attack on New York and it follows right after.

    It's just one of those stories that is so short, that you hardly get any info. It's first about a love relationship between different classes, and then an unrelated event happens: a bomb falls in the distance on the city and it's over.

    It's as vividly written as is usual for King, but it is puzzling to me what it means. What were other's interpretations?

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ...I took it as how quickly things can turn...no matter the scale...
  3. Gerald

    Gerald Well-Known Member

    I suppose so... The class difference doesn't seem to matter in the end, because when something like that happens it involves everyone no matter what class.

    But there is also a line where Bruce's mother says when she sees the bomb: "If it's some kind of advertising, it's in very poor taste!"

    Does that refer to 9/11?

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ...I think tangentially that it does...
    blunthead, Neesy and king family fan like this.
  5. Chazel1972

    Chazel1972 Well-Known Member

    I think I missed this story; it isn't ringing a bell AT ALL
    GNTLGNT, blunthead and Neesy like this.
  6. doowopgirl

    doowopgirl very avid fan

    I'm usually not good at understanding the very short stories. This falls into that category and I think you two hit the nail on the head. Thanks
  7. Gerald

    Gerald Well-Known Member

    I doubt it's coincidence that they're placed after another. It feels to me about escalation. First it's two planes, now it's something even bigger...

    But he doesn't expand on it in the afterword, just that it came from a dream...
  8. mustangclaire

    mustangclaire There's petrol runnin' through my veins.

    I really found this one disturbing. As GN says, how quickly it escalates.
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  9. Gerald

    Gerald Well-Known Member

    I found Things they left behind more disturbing. Because of the burning hair. There is something really disturbing about hair catching fire. It seems to be the part of our body that catches fire the quickest. And once it burns you gotta be real quick to put it out.

    Also, the idea of narrowly escaping a disaster friends or colleagues die in is quite sickening. Why were you the one that lived while the others died, just because you decided to do something else that day. It's not even a matter of guilt as the story seems to imply, it's more a matter of pure chance.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
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  10. Gerald

    Gerald Well-Known Member

    I agree basically. Some feel too short to me. I think he has stories that have a clear plot and others (fewer in number) that seem to be more about mood or atmosphere or a certain sentiment. I think only in Night Shift do all the stories have a very clear plot. The other four have both stories that have a clear plot and others that are more puzzling/open to interpretation. I tend to always expect some sort of explanation in a short story, but it's not always there - some feel like fragments from something longer or a rumination.

    When it's really short the endings feel too abrupt to me. It just ends and you're like WTF. But then one of my favourites ever is Last Rung on the Ladder - very short, but very satisfying.
    Neesy, GNTLGNT and blunthead like this.
  11. blunthead

    blunthead Well-Known Member

    I really like this short story as I like all works of art which are unlike all others...
    People used to going about their normal routine, used to having romances, graduating from one social level to the next, and the world ends.
    Imho, it's shortness is absolutely appropriate.
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    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ...and I think that Summer Thunder also ties into this apocalyptic scenario...
    Doc Creed and Neesy like this.
  13. booklover72

    booklover72 very strange person

    I liike this story, i don't know bout the class thing, but my inital reaction was a nucleur bomb going off in New york after 9/11, terrifying. i was very uneasy when i read it. but let at it someone said about escalation first 9/11 then the nucleur bomb. yep i was terrified with that story.
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  14. doowopgirl

    doowopgirl very avid fan

    I have to agree. Sometimes short stories are so short they feel like notes for a longer story. I don't mind short if there is a clear end. Last Rung on the Ladder fits the good ending idea perfectly.
  15. Sunlight Gardener

    Sunlight Gardener Well-Known Member

    I really enjoyed this one. After N. it's my favorite in the collection. It's the classic sudden "punch in the gut" story. And I tend to love those. And a dark part of me enjoys the reactions of the "well to do" stuck up parents as catastrophe unfolds before their eyes. Like "this can' be happening to me, I'm too rich and important". There is a lot of good stuff packed into a tight little package in that one. Very enjoyable.
  16. Jerry Grantham

    Jerry Grantham New Member

    This story for some reason haunted me more than all the others. It just had this horrible feeling of finality to it. How huge our little problems are to us at the time. And how quickly they can become irrelevant.
    Neesy, GNTLGNT and Gerald like this.
  17. One moment you are celebrating, the other moment you are gone. It's a warning for all. Enjoy your life as long as it takes.
    GNTLGNT likes this.

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