Structure

Title

The title of the short story “Goldhawk” by Katherine Magyarody has both a literal and a symbolic meaning.

In a literal sense, the title is a direct reference to the hawk seen outside the office building: “There, on the Norway pine, ten feet from the wall of the building, perched a great golden bird” (l. 79). One of Dinara’s co-workers identifies the bird as a red-tailed hawk (ll. 105-106). However, Dinara is sure that the bird is of a different species because its feathers are gold. She refers to the hawk as a “goldhawk”, but this is not the name of a real hawk species. Dinara has picked up the name from a street near her home: “Dinara didn’t know many animal names, but Goldhawk was the name of a street in her neighborhood” (ll. 102-103).

In a symbolic sense, the title reflects Dinara’s situation. Her co-workers have very little information about her background. However, they make many assumptions about her, just like they do with the hawk. The men misidentify the hawk and believe it does not belong in their part of the country: “ ‘What we saw was a red-tailed hawk. They’re actually not supposed to be this far south and west’ ” (ll. 105-106). They also have a similar attitude towards Dinara, who they see as an immigrant, but they are unable to identify her origins: “Where she was from was equally difficult to tell” (ll. 30-31). The encounter Dinara has with the hawk and her decision to not share the location of its nest with her colleagues symbolises Dinara’s decision of protec...

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