Structure

The short story “Saturday Afternoon” by Erskine Caldwell is structured around a single event plot— the killing of an African-American by men in a small American town, for allegedly speaking to a white woman. The narrative is organized according to classical plot elements (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution), but what strikes about its structure is the detached tone which makes both the rising action and the climax seem less tensed, as if the killing of a man was the most ordinary thing in the world to do on a Saturday afternoon.

Title

The title of the short story only reveals when the events to be narrated took place (the time setting) — one Saturday afternoon, but says nothing about the actual plot and chain of events. Upon reading the short story, the title becomes symbolic of the men’s indifference to violence...

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