Short Story #61: Treacle Tart by Robert Graves

Title:  Treacle Tart

Author:  Robert Graves


Robert Graves - The Shout and Other Stories
Young students at a private school get all excited when they discover that a young lord will be attending the school.  The narrator is quite excited and intrigued by the possibility.  When the young lord arrives, he is slowly introduced to the ways of the school and observed by the others.  His acclimation overall proves similar to what others encounter except when it comes to meal time.  On this particular day, treacle tart is served and he is told he must eat it.  The little lord insists that he does not eat it and refused.  This causes a brief stir but the adults bypass it by saying he will need to eat it as his next meal.  He continues to refuse to eat his tart and eventually, his father arrives to take him home from the school.  The narrator and other students decide they will follow his approach and refuse to eat the treacherous treacle tart.  With rebellion planned, they set forth at the next meal.  But sure enough, one by one, they all crumble and fail.  


It's a cute story of a failed rebellion and one that I think Graves is hinting at with more about the nature of youth, resistance, and the failure to over the authorities.  Does the lord prove successful because he is a "lord" and has innate power (or at least perceived to have it) or does the ways in which he has been encouraged to be assertive change his ability to resist the insistence of the adults.  Do the children fail because they are already part of the institute and unable to question their positions or agency?  I mostly wonder in this instance is it maturity (the kids aren't old enough to be resist) or position that delineates the ability for rebellion.

Short Story #61 out of 365
Rating: 3  (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  2/25/2014
Source:  The Shout and Other Stories by Robert Graves.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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