Short Story #291: The Raid by John Steinbeck

Title:  The Raid

Author:  John Steinbeck

Summary

John Steinbeck Sketch - Image source: https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5054/5509984031_1e3d7293a2_z.jpgDick and Root arrive to town at night.  Dick is older and more experience, while Root is a bit nervous.  They make their way throw town, discussing the plans for the evening.  Root is nervous for the evening's even while Dick tries to reassure him that it will be fine.  They decide that Root will start off talking and Dick will follow up.  The discussion makes clear that they are there to help establish a union or organized labor for the town and that they have put flyers to invite people.  Root is also worried that police and anti-union people will arrive and do violence.  Dick affirms that they are not to run away when it gets violent but to hold their ground.  By staying, they will make their point.  As they arrive at the meeting place, it is utterly abandoned which makes Root increasingly nervous and wondering when they should give up. They begin to set up the space and feud a bit over how to do things such as get both lamps up and running.  While setting up, a man comes in and warns them that a raiding party is coming and they must get out of there.  Dick thanks the man and tells him he can go but that he and Root are staying. Root is scared by this and continues to talk to Dick about it.  He asks Dick to hold him back if Root runs.  Root doesn't believe he will run but he doesn't know because he is scared.  Some time later, the men show up and circle around the two.  Root begins to speak, saying that they are doing it for them.  This instigates the men and they begin to beat them.  Later, he awakes with Dick with injuries and broken bones.  Dick provides positive words to Root's sacrifice.  Root then goes to explain that when he was being beaten, it reminded him of the Biblical verse, "Forgive them, because they don't know what they're doing."  Dick tells him to lay off the religious content but Root wants to insist it is something different than religion that he is referring to. 

Reflection

The back and forth between Root and Dick was interesting, especially at the end.  Dick seems accepting of the role he has to play and does little to think about it whereas Root is constantly questioning it and in the end, seems to find something more in it than Dick does.  Root seems more deeply struck by their work (pun intended) and that seems to go clearly with his initial fear and anxiety.  

Short Story #291 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  10/1/2014
Source:  You can find the full text of this short story at this site.  

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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