This is a fictional narrative by Peter Meinke. It is a bewildering story about two elderly persons who are in love and spending together their last moments on earth. The story takes place in the lakeside, which was a lonely place. We find that there exists trust in the relationship. When she closes her eyes, she symbolized that she is ready for what he is about to do. The woman trusts him. The couple supports each other as observed when she tries to blame herself and the man convinces her that he is okay with it. The trust that they have for each other makes them together to conduct suicide (Clara and Margaret 78).
Its thematic influence is about a shared life of a couple brought to an end together. The couple chooses to go to a remote peaceful place located along the lake for suicide. The story takes place in the car belonging to the elderly couple. The story is both romantic and at the same time extremely sad. The couple is in a parked car along the shore looking at birds. The love binding the couple is evident by the playful banter they share with each other after the long years of life. The Cranes is a mystifying short story about one elderly couple that is enjoying their last moments on earth. Even though, the narrator fails to articulate the couple’s end, we obtain a clue of the couples’ eventful departure.
This very day is unique and different as many birds are present on that particular day. The weather is also not suitable for lake viewing since it is raining (Michael 60). The uniqueness of the day is symbolic to the relationship of the couple. The fact that it is raining, and the whooping cranes still fly, corresponds to the fact that the couple enjoys their love even at the last day of their lives.
The elderly couple is looking for a place to kill themselves, so they decide to drive the marshy shoreline along the lakeside. They see a few mere large birds, which the woman finds appealing. They notice that the birds make the little ones look like clowns, and the man laughs about it. She is concerned with what is about to happen being as her fault. However, he explains that he has no problem with it. She also acknowledges her concerns about the lives of her children (Michael 72). He says to her that her children will be upstanding and that they are grown up. The conversation of the couple is evidence of their long-life love, which has continued to the old age. He extracts an object enclosed in a plaid towel and places it between them. The woman closes her eyes, and this symbolizes that she is prepared for whatever he is going to do.
This is a scene in the midst of tall grasses in a marsh surrounded by birds. The elders are enjoying their last moments of love looking at the wildlife. The narrator places pair cranes that are representing the elderly couple. Even though, the man had frequented the marsh, it is in his last visit accompanied by his wife that these birds grace the area.
The Characters in the Story
The author does not reveal the characters at the beginning of the story. He does not reveal at all. It is quite easy to believe at first that the short story is about a young couple who are out to watch birds. The narrator at first brings a thought of a bright and sunny day out and the true scene is through the story (Clara and Margaret 84). The ages of the characters are not available in order to avoid bias that may come along with stating the age. The other reason might be to make the reader pay attention to the other characters of the story other than the age. The narrator does not give any insight into the heads of the characters at any time.
There exists a bond of love between the characters. This is available from the vocal interaction of characters. On the man’s side, the narrator presents an immense deal of humor. Eventually, the man too settles on what is crossing his mind and jokes less. The narrator compares his characters to the whooping cranes in the short story. The way they treated each other that day marries the behavior of the characters to the cranes (Clara and Margaret 95).
He presents the characters that were once young and strong from the way they make derogatory statements. However, their strength has faded and only left weakness. The statement made about isolation may represent their feeling in the eye of the younger society. The author describes the man as humorous at the beginning. The character, still, changes from joking to speaking out his mind to the woman.
When the man refers to the cranes and that their feathers are falling out. He expresses his wish that their children would still talk to them just as they used to. The author presents the old couple as the birds and treats them as one being. The man recognizes his mistakes when he tells the woman that cranes are extinct, because of lack of imagination. The man is recognizing his faults in life by stating the above, and the reason why they die at last is that they are old together and have grown out of imagination (Michael 34).
The Symbols in the Story
The two cranes suddenly fly away, probably scared by the gunshot. The pair of whooping cranes symbolizes the end of a loving relationship. The writer of the story uses poetic writing style to paint out a picture of two lovers ending their lives together. A feeling of slight regret engulfs the couple as they face fear together towards their sunset.
Right from the first lines, the narrator uses the whooping cranes symbolically. They are tall and stately. The actions of the pair of cranes to stare motionless towards the gulf symbolize the intentions of the couple. This demonstrates how they share their lives together. It also provides an overshadowing to the reader about what is about to happen. The man remarks that the view of the birds was a rare scenario, and this is symbolic of the kind of loving relationship of this couple. These two people had enjoyed a relationship with love that last even beyond the duration of their lives towards their sunset (Michael 72). The love is even through the vicissitudes of their lives.
Cranes symbolically represent the life. The short story itself is about death and the cranes represent the beginning of a new life that begins at the end of life that ends together. We observe that the Cranes stepping out of the commotion are symbolic. The whooping cranes symbolize the end of life of the couple. The narrator left open-ended for the reader without telling what happened at the last moment. However, the narrator indirectly shows that joint suicide followed at the end. Traditionally, cranes symbolize life and longevity. The narrator shows the couple’s long relationship using the cranes. The extinction of the cranes symbolizes the challenges that people face. The woman is nervous about her children. These days the children are quite different and carry different values from their parents. The indication here is the communication gap that befalls between the old and new generations (Clara and Margaret 99).
Cranes commonly represent happiness, faithfulness, love and long life. It is further fascinating to note that the particular type of cranes in our story is the whooping cranes and not the other type. As the type of dying species, they represent the dying and fading of love. The characters resemble like whooping cranes who are dancing in the rain. This is an indication that despite the difficulties, the couple is able to enjoy life while they are alive.
The couples are in comparison to the cranes that mate for life and live for a long time. Since, they have also lived for several years on the surface of the earth. The author makes us aware that the loving relationship of the characters existed for a long time. The encounter with the preacher shows the couples aversion to religion. This emphasizes the couple’s independence from outside interferences. The couple has grounded their spirituality on each other than any fabricated religion (Clara and Margaret 128).
The woman finally notes that his eyelashes are long. Long eyelashes are symbols of prestige and outstanding looks. She is proud of her husband, and basks in her gracious fortune. By noticing his luscious eyelashes, the woman in this way is just praising and admiring him. This confirms the bond of love joining this couple all the way through their relationship.
The car is symbolic of the characters’ age and the dying out of their youth. The car is sleek and represents masculinity and power. The author indicates that the car represents a fact that, at one time, these two characters of the short story were young and strong.
In order to crown up issues in this paper, it is clear that the cranes have been as similar to the couple in terms of failure and imagination. It is important to mention that the cranes are going extinct, and the couple is going to die. Currently, kids are quite different generation from that of their parents, which is going away. This is similar to the behavior of the cranes. The story tell about a change of generations. The new generation is composed of kids while the old consists of their parents. There are lacks flow of information between the two generations (Michael 70). The man remarks that the feathers weather and the kids have stopped writing. The older generation is going away, but has a concern on how they have left their children. The woman in the story blames herself for her children. This is a very common phenomenon in the current societies where most parents fail to bear the family responsibilities for their children.