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Plainsong is a story that has its settings in a small plain town in Colorado. It revolves around two groups of three people and these include a school teacher with his two sons, the two bachelor ranchers and the seventeen year old pregnant teenager they welcome into their lives after being kicked out by her mother because of early pregnancy. Another common person who follows the trend is schoolteacher who stays alone with her aging father. Each individual's personality is molded by a hard or tragic event, though each one of them faces life head-on, bucking up in the oversimplified Midwest manner (Kent, 46). Instead of gulping in the negative, Kent Haruf punctuates the story with exciting moments, particularly when he bases on the aging bachelor McPheron brothers. The author of the novel has drawn the characters so well that it is easy to care about what really happens to them. He reveals the character traits of the seven main participants only as the plot needs so that there appears a sense of private nature of each individual. The story and its settings brings out a strong feeling of reality where everyone knows the details of the other person's life in a small town, like who is driving what type of car to who is spending a night at whose house.
The characters in the story varies every time they appear, though in alternating chapters, Kent Haruf describes to the readers their stories with the same steady, kind, clear, and unstrained rhythm to make the unexpected intersections of his character's lifestyles come to seem not just interesting, but also deeply and reassuringly correct. A history teacher Tom Guthrie takes full responsibility in taking care for their nine and a ten year old son after his wife is tormented. This makes her not to function well as a mother and a wife and later she disappears completely out of the life of her family. Guthrie is the most moral center of the story in this novel. He is portrayed to be faultless and virtuous, yet the quiet dignity of his small daily performances reverberates in Kent's understated words (Kent 67).
Guthrie's sons shows us how much young children witness when they are out on their own without parent watching over them. For instance, they get exposed to violence, sex, and even death and this is seen when these boys Ike and Bobby as they cycle through the town on their paper routes or investigate on teenagers at an abandoned house. The author is also has perspective when he reverses his story to Victoria Roubideaux, who has been kicked out by her mother because of early pregnancy and this leaves her feeling very lonely. Haruf does not suggest us to show pity to her and this makes us to admire the graceful determination she brings to a seemingly difficult situation. This is seen when she gains the courage to seek for assistance from the right people. She approached one of her teachers Maggie Jones to hook her up with the McPheron brothers, who are two lonely but with big hearts. The author made the plan to work by revealing to us the way the uncomfortableness of arrangement but it slowly works out. Troublesome characters in the story like abusive father of Victoria's baby, Guthrie's wife faded away.
The people we do not want to deal with hardly disappear. They also never willingly forfeit their stake in the things we care about in real life situations. The solution is finding out how to share our lives with them. Haruf having enough experience about the nature of human creature, he does not avoid violence, and he is very keen on the devastating casual actions of cruelty that rules daily life. According to Haruf, decency is ultimately its own reward, and it's through his optimistic nature that enables him to look into the hearts of his character while still respecting their privacy.