Emil

“Before assuming, try asking”

In life, we must not judge or assume things of others. Assuming can lead to disrespect and unfounded frustration towards other people. In Stuart McLean’s short story Emil, Emil appears in front of Dave’s store and Dave irately asks for the homeless man to leave. Morley later tells Dave that “You (Dave) should introduce yourself (himself)” before asking Emil to leave (111). And sure enough, when Dave introduces himself and asks kindly, Emil gets up and leaves the front of Dave’s store. In this situation, Dave didn’t show respect and looked down on Emil even though he knew nothing about him. Later, Dave even comes to the realization that Emil is better than him in some regards when he says that “it bothered him that Emil could keep track of the scrap of paper, and he couldn’t keep track of the books” (114). These quotes show that Dave shouldn’t’ve judged Emil right away because once he got to know him, he discovered that Emil was a person just like himself and was better than him in some respects. On the other side of the story, Morley treats Emil with respect and gives him the benefit of the doubt even when others would not do so in similar situations. For example, when Morley says, “Is that for your garden, Emil?” she doesn’t assume she knows what Emil is up to and asks what he is doing (115). Where somebody like Dave would just assume Emil was up to no good, Morley asks Emil what he is doing and discovers that he had no ill intent. In conclusion, in Stuart McLean’s Emil, the stark contrast between how Dave and Morley treat Emil reveal that we should hold our assumptions until we know more about the situation, even if we think we know enough.

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