If there is one thing certain in life, it is that we are all going to die one day. No matter what we do, what we eat, what we don’t eat. At some point we will be gone. We might not know it at first. But at some point in life. We all must accept the fact that we have an expiration date. This exact realization is what we go through together with Rafael in this short story.
A strong dead man is a piece of prose written by Daniel Alarcón. We can conclude that it is a short story based off some key genre features for short stories. First off, a short story is usually between 3000 and 5000 words, and A strong dead man has a word count just about 3000. Besides that, another genre feature of short stories, is that a short story usually takes place in the span of a few hours or days, which A strong dead man does.
We get to know Rafael’s personality through his language and through the narrator’s words. On line 57 through 59, we learn that he has moved to a new school and “Friends had never been easy.” This shows that Rafael might have been a shy kid. Luckily Rafael manages to make some friends in the new school, by accident. Like many other children today, Rafael sought the approval and acceptance of his friends. When they spot the dead man floating in the water beneath the pier, Rafael calls him “a strong dead man” (line 55) and feels good when his friends laugh at the joke. They way Rafael acts in the episode, shows that he had no understanding of death.
These contrasts very well with Rafael when he has grown a little more, and loses his dad. In the last couple of years Rafael became more self-aware, yet he struggles to put his feelings into words, which we can see on line 31 and 32, “I'm here, Rafael thought, on the couch. Can you see me?”. Through out the story, we follow Rafael as he discovers a lot of new things about life and death. Suddenly life isn’t a cakewalk anymore, and death isn’t just a small obstacle.
Even though Rafael learns a lot from this chapter in his life, there is still a lot to come. That is why there is no ending to the story, Rafael from now on has to live with the loss of his dad.