Story Analysis: Stolpestad
Stopped by William Lack Life is a very precious thing, which you should grasp with all your heart and live it to the fullest. But for some people life is Just something that passes you by – something you have to endure until it is over. In the short story “Stopped” the main character Stopped does not see life as a precious thing. His life has become dull and passive and he has isolated himself from his own emotions – he is living his life as if he was a robot; a robot that has absolutely no intention of trying to change.
The short story “Stopped” by William Lack is bout a police officer, Stopped, whose life has become unadulterated triviality. He is stuck with his boring life and every single day is Just repeating the previous day. He goes to work, spends the whole day waiting for his shift to end and then he makes up excuses to postpone his coming home to his family and then he Just goes to bed. One day, Just before his shifts ends, he is asked to deal with a 9-year-old boys suffering dog.
Even though he is not pleased with the situation he chooses to do so. He goes to the family house and shoots the dog twice but somehow the dog does to die – it Just ends up suffering even more. Stopped does not know this until the dogs owner and his son shows up at his house and confronts him with it. After hearing this horrible “news” Stopped does not even apologize or show any regret for the father or the son. He is more or less emotionless. His lack of empathy is also shown in his mechanical way of working.
The only thing he looks forward to is getting off and going back to his daily routine. The main theme in the short story is stagnation; not getting further or accomplishing anything with and in your life. William Lack uses the weather to symbolize this stagnation: sun never burning through the clouds, clouds never breaking into rain[… ]” (Page 2, line 2-3). If you transfer this metaphor to Extrapolates life it means that nothing ever really happens in his life and he does not do anything to change that – he Just endures it.
Another metaphor is the trivial life of the dog. The dog Just lies down. It has given up on life and is Just waiting for its life to pass even thought this does not happen. Stopped is Just like the dog. He is not really living his life but he is not ending it either. Although he expresses that he is not satisfied with this current life and situation: “The coffee shops, the liquor stores, Laundromats, police, fire, gas stations to pass – this is your life, Stopped. ” (Page 1, line 4-5), he never takes action.
In these few lines we get an impression of him still living in the same neighborhood that he did in his childhood and that he has not broken out of his secure and well-known surroundings which again shows his unwillingness of changing – not even for the better. The way he chooses to describe the surroundings he passes everyday shows lacks of enthusiasm. In the end of the story it says: “Wavering as you back gently away from the porch, away from the light of the windows, away until you’re gone at the edge of the woods, a piece of dark within the dark” (Page 4, line 161-162).
I think these lines could be interpret in two ways; either it is Just a description of Stopped who leaves the Story Analysis: Stopped By crook house or this is a description to him giving up on his elite and finally taking distance to he triviality that he has been living in for his entire life and finally letting go of it all by committing suicide. The story is written in a second person narrator because the narrator refers to Stopped as “you”. They way the narrator addresses Stopped, by saying “you”, almost makes the reader feel like if the narrator was speaking to oneself.
As a reader you sort of automatically identify with the person whom the narrator addresses to; in this case Stopped. This kind of narrative technique, which is used in this short story, involves the reader in a very special way that is not seen hat often but which seems to work very well. By using this point of view the narrator narrows the settings down by only describes the few places Stopped goes to describing them with very little descriptive and with a lack of enthusiasm.
The way the story is told matches the person whose life it is describing. It is very passive and dull – Just like Extrapolates life. The narrative style gives an adequate picture of Stopped as a man who has lost all passion for life and by exaggerating his message the narrator is sure that everyone will understand and feel it. This short story is Just one in a million whose agenda is to make us realize that we shall not take life for granted.
William Lack wants us to see this as a warning. He does not want us to let our lives get boring, dull, passive and worthless like Extrapolates life has become. Through this story I believe William Lack hopes to emphasize the importance of living your life to a full extent. I get a feeling of this short story being a wake-up-call for those whose lives are similar to Extrapolates – do not let your life pass you by – grasp it and live it to the fullest.