Story provides social commentary, introspection

Max Lynn, Staff

           The short story, “Toxic Actuality” by Chuck Klosterman shows the difference of ideas between current generations.

            The story follows a walk between two college professors, in which the first professor explains to the second how he was scolded by the dean of arts and sciences for offending a student. The first professor, Benjamin, offended a student by teaching a text about racism, while the student interprets it as racist.

            This story is very interesting commentary on the state of our generation presented in a relatable manner. On one hand, people believe that it is too soft or easily offended, others believe that this is just how generations change. Geoffrey is offered as the voice of reason in this story; however, the reader is able to decide how they see each side of the argument due to the use of a third person point of view in the story. This writing method is very effective in philosophical or political writing as it lets the reader decide what they think and gives the perception that the writer is unbiased.

            As the story develops, the reader is able to change who they agree with or who they relate to and can even give a feeling that you are a part of the discussion. This type of formal writing tactic can fully immerse the reader and allow the writer to enhance their imagery and other story telling methods. This also helps develop the readers opinions about each side’s argument and will most likely cause it to change several times throughout the hypothetical situation. Some may even take the side of the student in the scenario.

            I found myself looking at both sides of the argument and often rereading the story to fully understand what each character was saying, comparable to a judge. However, the story ends so abruptly it leaves the reader without enough evidence to come up with a “verdict.” This strategy makes the reader think about the story after it is done to really decide what each side means to them.

            If you enjoy philosophy or comedy, I would definitely recommend this story, it is apart of a collection of stories like this one in the book Raised in Captivity by Chuck Klosterman.