Short Story #350: Afternoon into Night by Katherine Dunham

Title:  Afternoon into Night

Author:  Katherine Dunham


Book cover to The Best Short Stories by Negro Writers - Langston Hughes.
Umberto removes his bull-fighting clothes, reflecting on what he just witnessed.  His friend and mentor, Polero was just killed by a bull because he had decided to let the bull win.  He gets dressed and attempts to leave before the crowds cheer him on for being the hero who stepped in and killed the bull that killed Polero.  He makes his way home, pondering the event and his companion.  During this walk, he also sees hints and shadows of Polero as he continues to focus on his friend's death.  At one point, he begins to run as if escaping someone but there is no one in his wake.  He continues to imagine this man (or bull) following him throughout his trek through the city.  He finally confronts the man/bull that is following him and he knows he must confront it in order to move forward.  In the final scene, he seems to conquer the fear that the bull represents in his mind.


Like some other stories, there is more going on than I necessarily am taking from it.  It's clear the man is fighting the haunted memory of what he witnessed but it doesn't seem like there is much beyond that to offer.  The narrative provides some background about the two, but not enough for me to fully appreciate and digest.
Short Story #350 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.  This story can also be found for free at this website.  

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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