Part 1

The short story that I read was “Hall of Small Mammals” by Thomas Pierce. I was drawn to this reading because of the title and honestly enjoyed it even if it didn’t talk much of the small mammals at all. The story was of a boy named Val and his mom’s boyfriend. The boyfriend brought this kid to the zoo even if they did not get along to try and earn a little respect or appreciation from the kid. Even though I haven’t been in either of these situations, not a kid with a parent dating or dating a parent, I still related to the narrator a lot. He was just a man who dated around, not planning on staying with this woman but still wanted to win the kid over in some way even if that meant listening to the kid talk about rare monkeys and waiting in a two hour line to see them. The character knew he was the villain of Val’s story, in some ways it should have hurt him, but he also saw respect for it because he was being included in the story at all.
The story starts off with a hot setting, from going to Zoo’s during the Summer I could already feel the sensation of being there with the characters or able to be in the situation with the narrator sweating in the heat while listening to the annoying people around them. The story setting didn’t go very far, it was mainly about waiting in line and running to the bathroom- something that I feel is very relatable for Summer events. Most of the time when waiting in line time seems to stand still and take forever until you are actually where you want to be.

It gives off a good sense of setting, you feel as if you can be in the character’s shoes even if you have never been in this type of situation before, and you want to root for the character even though both you and the narrator know that Val doesn’t deserve what he gets in the end.

Part 2

This is a story of a man taking his girlfriend’s kid to the zoo while figuring out how unthankful the kid really is.

This is a story of a girl and her best friend going on a ride together while one panics about it and the other can’t wait to get on.