The Last Spin by Evan Hunter – Short Story Analysis

How does the author position the reader towards the major theme using the narrative elements? Gangs affect everyone lives especially the people in the gang because other members make you do things that you don’t want to do or that is dangerous towards you or yourself. ‘The Last Spin’ by Evan Hunter is a short story about two boys from opposite gangs that were forced to settle an argument over territory. They did this by playing an extremely dangerous game (Russian roulette).
What they didn’t expect though was that they would become closer by having conversations in between shots and finding things that they have in common. They don’t realise this for long however because there was a sudden end to one of their lives. I’ll be analysing how the reader is position by using the narrative elements. The setting for this short story is in the early 1960’s when gangs were common in America. Gangs were usually identified by the colour of their jackets (Dave wore a blue and gold jacket, and Tigo wore a green and orange one) and each had their own territory which the other was not allowed to cross into.
When one gang would venture into another gangs territory the night before it would be decided how one member from each gang would settle the score. The author has placed Dave and Tigo in an enclosed basement to play the game; this creates a powerful and intense environment for the reader. The boys also try not to show any sign of fear because if they do it would make them feel incapable and powerless in the game.

“’ We going to sit and talk all night, or we going to get this thing rolling’ Dave asked”

This quote shows that Dave is showing no sign of dread to Tigo so that he looks and feels aggressive. The last spin gave descriptions of the two main and only characters in the story, which were Dave and Tigo. Tigo has large brown eyes and thick black hair. He also wears his gang’s jacket which is a green silk jacket with an orange stripe down each of the sleeves. Dave is a nervous, paled faced boy with dirty lips. His gang’s jacket is blue and gold.
The author has described the jackets because it emphasizes that they are enemies. The jacket told Dave that Tigo was his enemy. The jacket Shrieked ‘Enemy, Enemy! ’ This quote shows how Dave knew Tigo was an enemy because of the colour of his jacket. This story keeps the reader in suspense as they don’t know when the gun will go off. They should also feel horrified at how the gangs in America used to settle arguments and that the boys kept adding bullets into the gun, putting their life at risk just so that they wouldn’t let the other gang members down.
“He broke open the gun again, and slipped the second cartridge into the cylinder. Now we got two cartridges in here,’ he said” This quote reinforces how the gangs brainwash people to think that they have to take these kinds of risks just so they can be popular. The length of this sentence is used so that the reader can fear for the boys because they know the dangers of this game. The main theme in the short story ‘The Last Spin’ by Evan Hunter is gang culture. The gangs in the story make the careless decision of putting one of their fellow member’s lives at danger.
The boys didn’t seem to care that they were going to play this game at first, then as the game went on they realised what a bad mistake it was so they make a deal. They would have one last spin before they end this terrible game. Unfortunately this last spin was the one that ended Dave’s life.

“The explosion rocked the small basement room, ripping away half of Dave’s head, shattering his face. A sharp cry escaped Tigo’s throat, and a look of incredulous shock knifed his eyes. He then put his head on the table and began weeping. ”

This quote shows us that the intense atmosphere in the basement and the hope that the gun would click one last time made the sound of the shot become so real and the outcome unbearable for Tigo. It was also very powerful emotionally when you picture how Tigo reacted to realising he had just lost a friend. Tigo was devastated and knew that all of the plans that they had promised they would do together after the game, he would never be able to do with Dave.

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