LITERATURE: The Old ForestThe Scoutmaster

This story perhaps more than any other illustrates Taylor’s method of characterization through character observation.  There is, as a matter of fact, very much "overhearing" thus giving us what may (if we assume narrator reliability, and that’s been a major factor with Taylor’s stories–to the good) be fact and how the narrator reacts to the event.

The story here is rather simple, though I think I’ve picked up something else on Taylor in that the protagonist is not always clearly selected at the beginning of the story.  Noticing the title, the Scoutmaster, we find fairly early on that Uncle Jake is the scoutmaster referenced.  Yet in the story, while he plays a major character, Virginia Ann appears to be the focus.  What I’m coming to believe is that Virginia is merely the "event" that brings everyone else’s characterizations more into definition as they react to her actions.

Uncle Jake then, steps up to plate as protagonist.  He is the mediator between the generation of the parents and their children.  We get his own background via conversations between Mother and Father, but we see into his soul via the child (nephew) narrator. 

Taylor does some truly amazing stuff with the simplest of story.  But it is the simple story of human nature with which we all can best relate.

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