The Official Writing Challenge
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sorry. missed something here. don't understand why child would feel so good about this?
Sorry. I didn't mean to be critical with the last comment. Technically the story read very well, but I still think I missed something.
I loved the story. It caught my attention from the start, but I didn't make the connection at the end either. Was he pleased with himself because he figured out a way to keep his mother from squandering the whole 25 dollars (unless you can buy a quart of whiskey for quarter)? But this is good writing anyway.
I wanted to post an answer to the questions that have been asked about the "point" of the ending. The whole point is the title of the piece...That GREAT is a matter of perspective. What may be great for one person, isn't necessarily seen that way by another. Joey's response can be seen in several ways. I've counseled a number of kids that face just this kind of daily pain. Joey was a streetwise kid, way beyond his years emotionally, so his response could have been because:

a. It felt great to know that he no longer had to live in fear.

b. It felt great that he had made a decision to stop enabling his mom to drink.

c. It felt great that someone bigger and wiser than him was finally going to lift this burden off of his shoulders.

d. It felt great that he had simply made a decision to no longer be abused.

It's "A Matter of Perspective."
I missed the question about the "quarter." The "quarter" is simply the "price" of Joey's emmancipation.
Well, I read it again, and just from the story I still don't get the point. After I read your explaination I do understand where you were going, however. But you didn't give us enough clues to surmise this meaning from the story. With a few more clues in the story itself you would have given the reader the enjoyment of discovery, which is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a story teller. I commend you for trying to think out of the box, however. Maybe this time you were a little too far outside.