Time and physical setting

The short story “a strong dead man” by Daniel Alarcón was published in 2005. The story is probably meant to be read as contemporary to the time when it was written, as suggested, for example, by the fact that Mario works with computer systems (l. 82).

The events happen across a few different time settings. Rafael recalls an incident that happened four years before the main events in the story (l. 43), and a brief conversation with his father after the father had his first stroke, in March (ll. 120-123). Mario also recalls an incident from when he was 10 years old, when a dead body fell on him, an event that made him unable to leave his house for several months (ll. 144-155).

The events described in the story take place mainly in New York, as suggested by references to the Hudson River and to New Jersey (l. 45). The action begins on a Sunday in June (l. 7), in Rafael’s family’s apartment: “The curtains were pulled, but through the thin fabric Rafael could make out the brick wall just beyond the window. (…) The room where he sat was dark and hot. Suitcases lay open.” (ll. 10-12). The atmosphere in the apartment seems to mirror Rafael’s state of mind, as he is obviously in emotional pain after his father’s third stroke. The way in which the apartment’s view is blocked by the...

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