The Dare to Question
In early childhood development we asked “why” at every available opportunity for explanations of our environment. Maturity brings wisdom and answers. However, for most of us the wonder of “why” is never ending. As a result, I’m left wondering when asked about a favorite short story, A Lady or the Tiger? by Frank Stockton always seems to take first place. My explanation is simple. In my teen years between the heavy drama of stories from TRUE CONFESSIONS and movie star tales in PHOTOPLAY at the local hair salon, Stockton’s story was my introduction to descriptive analysis, rich vocabulary, and the extraordinary challenge of deciding an ending. It was memorable because it sparked an interest in investigating “a literary world,” that would feed my desire to share extraordinary thoughts and ideas with others. Also, it was encouragement to model my writing with creative detail that would leave the reader with a dare to question and imagine.
Although it had a setting in a semi-barbaric time, A Lady or the Tiger? is still relevant today because Stockton’s tale created a timeless psychological template. His story examines and defines human emotions with regard to choice, compromise, and entertainment. As to my choice of ending the story, I will blame the channel changing and web surfing world that surrounds me. Some days the Tiger gets out and other days the door is opened to the Lady. Thank you, Frank Stockton, for contributing to a thinking imagination!