Blue Melody

Blue Melody

The short story "Blue Melody", originally titled "Scratchy Needle on a Phonograph Record", was first published in the September 1948 issue of Cosmopolitan. In mid-winter 1944, inside an overcrowded GI truck in Germany, the narrator encounters an American Southern captain named Rudford who tells his story.

It is possible to divide the short story into six parts: the introduction with the setting and the main character Rudford introduced by the narrator; description of Rudford's childhood and of “two footnotes in his boyhood” - Black Charles and Peggy Moore; children's encounter with Charles's niece Lida Luise; Lida Luise's career as a blues singer and “a little bit of jazz history”; “a farewell picnic” for Rudford before his leaving to the boarding school and Lida's death; and Rudford's encounter with Peggy fifteen years later. In most parts of the short story conversations and dialogues prevail.

In the first part the narrator introduces the setting where he got acquainted with Rudford - “In mid-winter of 1944 I was given a lift in the back of an overcrowded GI truck going from Luxembourg City to the front at Halzhoffen, Germany.” It also becomes possible to define the story in time – the first line is given in the past simple tense (“In mid-winter of 1944 I was given a lift...”) which gives us a clue that the whole story is the narrator's recollection of the events of 1944, a flashback.

So, the introduction gives us an overview of the military men traveling in the truck together with the narrator, with his sarcastic attitude. EXAMPLES

The introduction is as well remarkable for the narrator's “word to the reader”, so to speak. EXAMPLE. The words “this story is a slam against one section of this country” are a certain foreshadowing which implies that there will be some events in the story that may seem a slam against something.

If we compare the beginning and the end of the story, we see the movement from a complex sentence (“In mid-winter of 1944 I...

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