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Analytical Essay of “Just Like That”

“Just like that” is a short story that appeared in “Written from Australia” it´s written by, the photographer and filmmaker Michael Richards in 1994. The story is about a man and boy haunting kangaroos, who are very optimistic and in hopes of the boy becoming a man afterwards. In the beginning of the “Just Like that” the boy believes that taking another life would somehow help him on his path to become a man, but at the end of the story he finds out that it is wrong way of thinking.
As the story builds up, the readers come to know that the theme that Michael Richards is focusing on is how one person can develop and find their path in life on their own.

The story does not tell us the exact relation the man has to the boy, but we know that the boy looks up to the man as a roll model. The man does not care for the kangaroos, and it seems like he often goes haunting for the fun of it. The boy asked, “What do we do with them now?”(p. 26, l.5) Where after the man responses: “Let them root.” (p. 26, l. 6) The man is fearful about the boy holding a gun. He seems afraid that the boy might accidentally shoot him. "Don't walk behind me, said the man.” (p. 25, l. 9) That is something he continued telling the boy.

The boy was speechless when he saw the man shoot the first kangaroo. He was drawn to it and walked even closer. “The boy was fascinated. He had never seen anything like this before.”(p. 25, l. 35-36) The kangaroo was described almost like a human. Comparing the forepaws of the kangaroo to hands. “It’s forepaws were curled like small hands.”(p. 25, l. 24) this can be interpreted as the boy seeing the kangaroos on the same level as humans. The life of the kangaroo is no different to that of a human life. After shooting his first kangaroo the boy is disappointed, and he nearly loses his hope of becoming a man. “He thought somehow that this would make him a man – but it had made no difference at all.” (p. 26, l. 38-39) the boy still has a little hope left and continues. The man and the boy arrived to a mob of kangaroos. The man began shooting first, and the boy did not think further about it before raising his rifle too. After a short time the boy’s gun was empty, and he watched the man shooting.
“He waited while the man shot each kangaroo in the brain. Something inside the boy died.”(p. 26-27, l. 30) He could feel that something was not right, and his gut was telling him something.

The man and the boy end up finding the grandfather of all the kangaroos. “This one, this big one, the boy knew, would make him a man.”(p. 28, l.18-19)
After shooting meaninglessly many kangaroos that left him, empty the boy soon got his hopes back. The boy shot it many times before it crashed, but the kangaroo was not the only thing that collapsed. “The boy knelt in the wet grass.”(p. 28, l.34) The boy couldn’t rap around his head what happened.

………………………………………………………..

The story has an open ending. “His eyes saw his hands lift the rifle. He felt at if he were dead. The sights, blurred by his tears, danced about the man’s head.”(p. 29, l. 18-20) We don’t know if the boy ends up killing the man and takes revenge of all the lives his took that day. The readers are left to their own imagination.

If the last part is read as the boy shooting the man then you can say that the boy evolved to a man by making his own choice. Instead of listening to the man the boy took charge himself, and he grew as a person. The boy does not become a man by shooting kangaroos.…...

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