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Alma’s character is a do-gooder. Her name, meaning “soul, nourishing” even identifies her as such. Her relationships are earnest and honest and true, but she is still missing something. Her husband Kurt had a past she did not know about until his interjection in this story. We don’t recognize Kurt as an important character until this happens and suddenly his childhood pain becomes a focal point of the story- the what if this kid Peter is also getting hit with a fire poker? Her husband’s desire to follow up on the child’s questionable injuries also marks the point at which he becomes more involved in her life. Until now, the extent of Kurts dialogue with her about her job and her day was a daily, off-handed, courtesy “hey did you show those kids who’s boss.” After Kurt becomes more involved, emotionally, he divulges his past abuse. We then discover that her work as a teacher has been a point of issue between them for some time. They see a couples counselor about it to save their sex life.

Kurt is the one who, in their speculation of Peter’s home life, tells Alma that she’s not trained to handle it alone, and that “it’s dangerous” (212). In truth, by the end of the story, we know that it is dangerous and she’s not trained to handle the situation, but in a different way. Its a nice surprise to find out that Peter is not getting abused by his parents, however the parents’ lack of judgement and  in the very least, supervision of the interactions between the tiger and the child is an incredible feature. Initially, I wanted to say that it wasn’t that bad- not as bad as child abuse.  But we are reminded of the story Alma recalls about the raccoon and the baby. That was a small animal, and it resulted in a child’s death. I asked myself what the point of this story was, and I’m not entirely sure. It has more to do with Kurt and Alma, and less to do with Peter and his parents. We know that this is told from the point of view of Alma, long after the incident occurred. We also know that the last line of the story flashes back to the single moment that has left an imprint on her, when she is calling the police and she apologizes to Peter and he responds with “No you’re not, but someday you will be.” I don’t know how to take that. I almost begin to believe that Peter was indeed being abused, perhaps verbally or emotionally by his parents, and maybe the tiger cub in all his dangerous nature, acted as a shield between Peter and his parents, for he was indeed attached to the animal. What was going to happen to Peter? Did his parents go to jail and he to a relative? Was it sadness he expressed for the loss of his tiger, or fear for what would happen to him after it was gone? The question remains, what would have happened if Alma hadn’t done anything at all?

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