“A Summer Tragedy” is a short story by Arnaud Bontemps. It tells the story of a young couple, Marie and Pierre, who are vacationing in the French countryside. Their idyllic trip takes a tragic turn when Marie is killed in a freak accident. Pierre is left to deal with his grief and guilt, as well as the challenges of living life without his partner.
This story highlights the fragility of life and the way that tragedy can strike at any time. It also explores how grief can lead to self-destructive behavior. Pierre’s journey toward healing is ultimately a hopeful one, however, showing that it is possible to move on after loss.
“A Summer Tragedy” is a moving and thought-provoking story that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
Arnaud Bontemps’ short story “A Summer Tragedy” begins with Jeff Patton, an elderly African-American man, putting on his finest fancy dress clothes that he has worn just a handful of times. Jeff calls for his wife, with his thick southern accent, to assist him as he struggles to tie his bowtie.
A young black girl, Avey, who is staying with the Patton’s for the summer, comes to help him as well. Avey admires Jeff in his suit and asks him where he is going. Jeff tells Avey that he is going into town to buy some ice cream for her and Avey’s friend, Alice Malsenior Walker. Avey then asks Jeff if she can go with him and he says yes.
While they are in town, Jeff gets Avey two scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream and himself a scoop of strawberry. They then go to the post office where Jeff has a package to pick up. The postmaster tells them that the package is too big to fit in their car so Jeff decides to open it there. When he opens the package, Avey is surprised to see that it is a coffin.
Avey asks Jeff why he has a coffin and he tells her that it is for his brother who died recently. Avey is saddened by this news and offers to help carry the coffin back to the car. When they get home, Avey helps Jeff carry the coffin into the house and place it in the living room.
The next day, Avey wakes up early and goes into the living room to sit with the coffin. She talks to the coffin, telling her dead uncle that she will never forget him. Avey then hears Alice Malsenior Walker coming so she quickly leaves the room.
Alice Malsenior Walker is the neighbor’s daughter and she is also staying with the Patton’s for the summer. When Avey tells Alice about the coffin, Alice is surprised and asks Avey if she wants to see it. Avey says no but Alice persists, saying that Avey has nothing to be afraid of. Avey eventually agrees and the two girls go into the living room to see the coffin.
While they are looking at the coffin, Jeff comes home and finds them there. He is not happy to see them looking at his brother’s body and tells them to leave the room. Avey and Alice quickly leave but Avey is troubled by what she has seen.
The following day, Avey goes back into the living room to sit with the coffin again. She talks to her dead uncle, telling him that she is sorry for looking at him without permission. Avey then asks her uncle if he will forgive her and she promises to never do it again.
Avey sits with the coffin every day, talking to her uncle and asking for forgiveness. On the fourth day, Avey hears footsteps coming down the hall but when she looks up, no one is there. Avey then sees a figure in the doorway and she realizes that it is her dead uncle’s spirit.
Avey is not scared and she talks to her uncle’s spirit, telling him that she forgives him. Avey’s uncle’s spirit then disappears and Avey is left alone in the room.
The following day, Avey goes into the living room and finds that the coffin is gone. She asks Jeff where it is and he tells her that he had it taken away. Avey is sad but she knows that her uncle’s spirit is now at peace.
Despite her blindness and being significantly less strong than Jeff, she is successful in tying his bowtie and returning to her rooms to finish getting dressed in her little black silk gown. Jeff heads down to the patio of their tiny log home and takes a glance at the land where he and Jennie have spent the last 45 years. Jennie tells Jeff that he can go get the care ready to go, so he limped over to the shed to start up the automobile.
Jennie then takes her seat on the porch to await Jeff’s return. Jennie is feeling a bit melancholy as she thinks about how their lives have changed since they first met. She remembers when they were both young and in love, and how they used to dance together in the living room. Now, they can barely stand up, let alone dance. Jennie is brought out of her reverie by the sound of tires on the gravel drive, and she knows that Jeff is back with the car. She hears him open the door and start to come up the steps, but then she hears him stumble and fall. Jennie tries to get up to help him, but she can’t move fast enough. By the time she gets to him, he has passed away. Jennie sits on the porch, holding his hand and crying, until the sun sets and she can no longer see.
Arnaud Bontemps wrote the short story A Summer Tragedy in 1945. The story is about an elderly couple, Jeff and Jennie, who have been married for 45 years. Jennie is blind and quite frail, but she is still able to help her husband get dressed for their anniversary dinner. They are both very excited for the evening, despite their age and health problems. However, tragedy strikes when Jeff falls down the stairs and dies just before they are able to leave for their dinner. Jennie is left sitting on the porch, holding his hand and crying, until she can no longer see in the darkness.
This story is a tragedy, but it is also a beautiful testament to the power of love and commitment. Jeff and Jennie’s relationship is one that has stood the test of time, and even in their old age, they still care deeply for each other. Their love is strong enough to withstand the tragedy of Jeff’s death, and Jennie is able to find comfort in her memories of their life together. Even though they are no longer alive, their love will continue to live on in Jennie’s heart.