Short Story #345: Miss Cynthie by Rudolph Fisher

Title:  Miss Cynthie

Author:  Rudolph Fisher

Summary

Book cover to The Best Short Stories by Negro Writers - Langston Hughes.
Miss Cynthie is amazed when she is referred to as madam when arriving in New York City.  She is visitng David,her grandson to learn about what he does for a living.  She chats with the employees at the station and mentions her purpose and that she hopes her grandson has amounted to something.  As she exits the terminal, she finds David who takes her to the car.  As they talk, Cynthie keeps trying to pry and find out what David does but he insists that she must wait until the following night.  As they travel through the city, he identifies different places including Broadway which she chides.  They arrive at David's apartment and he introduces his partner, Ruth.  Ruth encourages David to tell his grandmother what she does so as not to shock her but he insists that he has to show her, otherwise, she won't appreciate it.  While they are talking, they hear her singing to herself in the other room and David hushes Ruth so they can listen.  The next night, they escort her to a theater with David all the while being addressed formally by so many people.  They begin to watch the performance and Cynthie doesn't realize that David and Ruth have left.  The variety show continues on with different performances to which Cynthie both enjoys and disdains.  When dance girls fill the stage, she becomes increasingly upset but that's when David appears on stage.  While there, David performs his life story until then through song and dance.  The performance is so well received that David and Ruth are requested for an encore.  When they return to stage, they sing the song that his grandmother was singing.  It's at this point that Cynthie is transformed and moved by the gesture.  At the end of the performance, he introduces Cynthie as the woman he is indebted to for his talents.  

Reflection

I liked the tone of promise in this story with the idea of change.  From the beginning, Miss Cynthie is confronted with change but is quite happy with the changes she finds as they are things she never expected she would find in her life.  The arc of the show in contrast with her conversion from disdaining to loving what David does is also well constructed.
Short Story #345 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  12/1/2014
Source:  The Best Short Stories by Negro Writers, ed. by Langston Hughes.  Little, Brown, and Company, 1967.  

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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