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Couples (A Comparison and Contrast Essay)

Couples (A Comparison and Contrast Essay)


“Blackberries” by Ellen Hunnicutt and “Blackberries” by Leslie Norris are two short stories whose thematic concern tends to be similar at some point and also differ to a certain extent. The aim of this paper is to show a succinct distinction between the disparities of the two short stories and substantiate the similar aspects of the two. The protocol of comparison will first address the similarities between the two short stories and then contrast them.


Family dynamics

“Blackberry” by Leslie Norris is a short story about a young boy and his parents. In this book, some simple events take place but end up changing one’s life forever. The story revolves around the tales of a young boy, who undergoes trials and tribulations that lead him to the harsh realities of life. In the short story “Blackberry” by Ellen Hunnicutt, the ambiance is within a camping vacation context between a husband and his wife. An aspect of similarity between the two short stories is that both of them involve family dynamics and ambiance. They both involve husband and wife relations, with Leslie Norris’ short story involving a young boy.

The story by Ellen Hunnicut involves relations between a husband and a wife. The author confines the context of the story to a camping vacation between two couples. The story starts when the husband comes from the hills with blackberries to share with his wife who was lying in the tent, covered with a blanket and reading a book. The husband washes the berries, divides the berries between two cups, and they start sharing.

The short story by Leslie Norris also has a family setting in the sense that it revolves around a family and the things they go through on a daily basis. The relationship between the husband and wife in this short story is typical of what takes place in any marriage and the ups and downs that the couples experience. The story also depicts the presence of healthy family relations where the mother takes up the role of ensuring that her young man is okay by taking him to get a haircut. She also proceeds to buy him a cap later (Chavis 147). The father also shows his role in preserving family relations by spending ample time with his son. He takes his time to go out to the Fletchers woods, which shows that they have a great bonding relationship.

Women submission

Another similarity between the two articles is that the women that have taken part are utterly submissive towards their husbands. They play the feminine roles of seeing to it that their husbands and families are okay and cohabit within a peaceful coexistence. In Leslie Norris’ story, the mother takes his son to get a haircut. The young man was deriving a lot of exuberance from it because it was his first time to visit a barber shop. After she gets his hair done, she proceeds to buy him a cap, and he feels happy. She thus yearns to see her son as happy and does everything to grant him that joy. Even after the son comes from the Fletcher’s woods carrying berries with his cap, she gets bitter because blackberries had ruined the cap, and this will deprive the son of the joy the cap brought him. She is also mad that her son might not be bought another cap because the husband only has a meagre income and does not do much for the family. Additionally, when the father comes back to the house, he finds that his wife has done preparing her meal; that is a demonstration that she still cares about him, notwithstanding his meagre income.

In the Hunnicut’s story, the husband plays the manly duty of going out and bringing her wife something edible. The wife then engages in her wifely duties by ensuring that her husband is taking care of his wellbeing. She knows what her husband likes and what he doesn’t; the wife promises to prepare the cattail root and fry it in butter for her husband. After the husband is done having grapes, he proceeds to the pile of fire logs and begins splitting them.

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Carrying blackberries with a cap

Another comparison between the two short stories is that the two families eat blackberries at some point within the story and carry the blackberries with a cap. The husbands gather blackberries in the woods or the forests and bring them to their loved ones. This explains the title similarity between the two. In Leslie Norris story, for instance, the father was going to Fletcher’s woods to take his son on a walk. He fell on a bush and saw it had blackberries. They then indulged in the berries and thought it would be good to bring some for his wife using the boy’s cap. In the story by Ellen Hunnicutt, the husband came from the hills, carrying his cap filled with blackberries (Chavis 149). The blackberries were very ripe, and he was happy to have taken his wife for camping at the right time. He washes the berries, serves them in a cup and shares them with his wife. Moreover, in both stories, the two men use a cap to carry the blackberries to bring them to their significant others.


Financial status

Contrasting the two short stories exhumes the major variances that the characters exhibit from their environmental setting and the context which the story line has been based on. In Hunnicutt’s short story, for instance, the author brings forth an ambiance of a well-off family that has been on a camping vacation. The scene that depicts the camping vacation is when the husband comes from the hills with blackberries in his cup and walks around the tent looking for his canvas water bag (Chavis 148). He also tells his wife that they chose the best time to come because the blackberries were all ripe. He also tells his wife that their camp is not in a dangerous place. The reason is that the vicinity does not have any dangerous animals such as snakes and bears. From a critical thinking perspective, the fact that the couple could afford such a vacation does not depict their affluence but at least shows they are well-off. They also make a suggestion of going to the movies or swimming.

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The ambiance in Leslie Norris short story does not depict an affluent kind of a lifestyle. In the story, when the mother buys his son a cap, she feels that the cap is expensive and hopes that it will serve their son for a long time. If that happens to be the case, then she believes it will save them economically. Moreover, the family seems to have been undergoing financial difficulties because of the altercations they have over money. The son also had been taken to a barber for his first time because that was the time when the mother felt she would afford to pay to get his hair done. This shows how the two families have not been on the same footing in regards to the availability of financial resources.

Roles that men play

Within the two stories, there has been a depiction of distinct roles that the men play in the stories. In Hunnicutt’s short story, he takes proper care of his family by providing everything that his wife needs. When he comes to the tent with a bag of grapes, the wife tells him that there is no milk left because she knows it is his duty to replenish. Another similar instance is when he suggests taking his wife for swimming and was torn between taking her to the movies or swimming. In essence, he seems to be taking care of his wife through the provision of financial resources that she requires for her comfort. It hence explains why he brought her for a camping vacation in the first place.

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In the Leslie Norris’, it is the mother who handles a bigger chunk of the financial burden. She is the one who took her son for shaving, and she even went ahead and bought him a cap, even though she felt it was expensive. The couple always has financial altercations. The husband seems not to be earning enough money that would suffice taking care of the family. When the father and son come from the Fletcher’s wood, the mother was yelling at her husband. She felt that he did not do much for the family and did not take an initiative to save money, such as carrying the blackberries with something else and save his son’s cap.

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The two stories involve two different families that are within varying context. One couple is affluent and was on a camping vacation, while the other is always arguing about money shortages. However, both families portray aspects of handling their family matters as the wives prepare meals for their husbands.