Irwin Shaw, original name Irwin Gilbert Shamforoff, is a prolific American playwright, screenwriter, and author of critically acclaimed short stories and best-selling novels. Shaw made his name in the pages of some well-known American editions. Throughout the later 1930s popular magazines such as The New Yorker and Esquire published his short stories which were praised for their plotting, their naturalness of narration, and especially their characterization. Some critics assert that Shaw’s tales hold up better socially and artistically than far more lauded New Yorker writers like O’Hara, J.D. Salinger, John Cheever, Alice Adams, John Updike, or Ann Beattie. 63 of his best stories were collected in Short Stories: Five Decades (Delacorte, 1978), reprinted in 2000 as a 784-page University of Chicago Press paperback.
The given fragment is from the story “Return to Kansas City” published in The New Yorker in 1939. The story tells of Arline, the wife of Eddie a prizefighter who starts to nag him about going back to Kansas City to see her folks again. She complains because he sleeps so much and that she's lonesome. He tries to argue her out of going but she's insistent.
Shaw depicts a usual family row of husband and wife. There are two protagonists in the text. In their quarrel we can see the positions of the both, Arline and Eddie. The author manages to open their points of view and in this way he open the protagonists’ characters The images are shown indirectly, through their speech and actions. In this aspect author’s remarks are of great importance. One of their aims is to expose the characters.
The setting of the story is New York, Brooklyn, the middle of 30ths probably. The action takes place in Arline and Eddie’s flat. The author skillfully gives an atmosphere of a usual family scandal. There are quite a lot of small details which contributes to readers’ trust and make the story true to life. For example, “Eddie stood up and padded around the room...