Short Story


Short Story: “Bolt Of White Cloth” Essay, Research Paper

The short story “A Bolt of White Cloth” written by Leon Rooke creatively introduces an allegorical character as a peddler, who sells cloth for love and ends up making a bargain with a couple forever changing their life and character. Rooke achieves his purpose demonstrating that love and trust are inextricably linked. The peddler’s very strange appearance leads the reader to believing the peddler’s mysterious or supernatural being. “His eyes were dark and brooding and hollowed out some. He was like no person either my wife or me had ever seen before.” (143). The writer mentions his eyes and the expression in them. “Eyes are the windows to the soul.” (Unknown). The peddler’s strange eyes brings the conclusion that his soul does not come from this mortal world. The stranger brings the cloth around to the farm couple on a very hot summer day. He doesn’t appear to want anything to eat and he only has a small drink of water. As an allegorical figure, he represents the holder of happiness. The cloth displays the feeling of happiness, because of its everlasting beauty. The cloth comes into the possession of the couple in abargain with the supernatural peddler. On the surface the bargain appears just to be a whole heck of a lot of cloth for some love that the woman says she embraces. Deeper thought and investigation reveals that the peddler indeed bears some sort of supernatural powers, with which he can sense the love and bond between the man and his wife. The hook on the bargain states that if they were to ever

stop loving each other for some reason or another, everything in their life would disappear. But when the couple look at each other for the first time surrounded by the cloth, their love for each other expands and becomes renewed. The cloth becomes a part of their life and their love for each other. The cloth bestows a supernatural power into them bringing them closer together. The narrator could not keep his eyes off his wife when she wore the white cloth dress. “In her new dress she stuck me down to my bootstraps. She made my chest break.” (152). At the beginning of the story the narrator just appeared to be a slack jawed country folk. He didn’t have too much to care for, except his farm and wife. The man’s attitude arose to the reader as being very laid back and calm. When the peddler came with the bolt of cloth the narrator got very interested in him. The stranger was sent to talk the narrator’s wife while he just stood where he was watching the two discuss the cloth. In the end after the deal finished the woman makes a lot of things from the cloth her husband looks at her. He becomes like a child again, in love for the first time. They both metaphorically become young at heart with lots of questions about the peddler and the cloth, like little inquisitive children. The story introduced an allegorical character as a peddler. He travels and sells cloth for love. He ends up making a bargain with a couple, this exchange forever changes their life and character. Rooke achieves his purpose demonstrating that love and trust are inextricably linked

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