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This didn’t sound like Frank. Frank was plain in his speech, neither formal nor folksy, so spare and sometimes harsh that his jokes sounded like challenges, or insults. Frances was about the only one who got them. This tone was putting her on edge. Something terrible was going to happen in this story, something Frances would regret having heard. She knew that. But she didn’t stop him. Frank was her little brother, she would deny him nothing.

In this short story, the narrator, Frances, is listening to her little brother, Frank, tell a story he heard in church that has “changed his life”. Frances remembers why she would do anything for her brother. As a child, her father would hold a watch up to her brother and tell him “no” each an every time. And each time, her brother would reach for the watch, with her father slapping his hand. After years of this happening, her brother would never learn, and eventually her father slapped him in the face. Frances’s mother simply ignores the abuse. Eventually, her mother commits suicide on their living room floor by drinking a bottle of ammonia. Throughout the rest of Frances’s and Frank’s life in their home, their father continues to defy and abuse Frank. Every time his father said no, Frances would defy her father and bring Frank food when he was banished to his room. She would always say yes to her brother, because her father always said no. This idea of always saying yes to her brother, has wrecked havoc on her life, almost destroying her marriage. But she is convinced her husband doesn’t understand the pain Frank went through. When she starts listening to Frank’s story, he tells about a man who eventually gives up the life of his only son to help a stranger. But what does the story have to do with Frank, and how does it change his life? It may be simply because he feels his father would have done the same, because he feels his father never loved him.

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