Themes and message


An important theme in the short story “Parole” by Mathieu Cailler is regret. The narrator is haunted by what he did in the past, and his actions have led to his loss of freedom and him wasting his life and losing his chance at a family.

The narrator has just been released from prison at seventy-one, after spending most of his life there. His imprisonment was the result of an impulsive decision forty years before, as he argued with his pregnant girlfriend, got drunk, and killed a clerk at a liquor store during a robbery “for a measly forty-six dollars.” From what the narrator hints he had not meant to shoot the clerk, but he was drunk and panicked. 

The narrator is haunted by his feelings of guilt and regret. This is seen at the beginning of the text, when he is thinking about the people on the bus who do not know who he is. The narrator feels encouraged by a little girl smiling at him: “like maybe I got a shot at being free – and not just in the literal sense.” This implies that he has not just been a prisoner literally; he has also been imprisoned psychological...

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