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A Critique of The Patented Gate & The Mean Hamburger, a Short Story by Robert Penn Warren

  • Subject: Life
  • Essay Topic: Hamburger
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 825
  • Published: 14 September 2018
  • Downloads: 23
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A Critique of The Patented Gate & The Mean Hamburger, a Short Story by Robert Penn Warren essay

Robert Warren once talked about the difficult necessity of self knowledge. What exactly does this mean? What does it mean to know ourselves? And does it really matter if we stay true to ourselves. In the story The Patented Gate and the Mean Hamburger by Robert Warren, Jeff York is a hardworking farmer who has to choose between keeping his farm or buying the inn that his wife wants. He finally chooses to sell his farm and buy the inn. Sadly, he kills himself shortly afterwards. Jeff York was a man who knew his place in society, where he came from, and the achievements hes made in his life. However, because he fails to stay true to himself in the end, he sells out on his dreams and his life.

Jeff York was a man who had a strong identity, he knew what his place was in society and where he came from. When the York family was in town, Jeff York stood on the corner with all the other old farmers not because he had to but, according to the story, because his father had stood with their fathers and his grandfathers with their grandfathers, or with men like their fathers He accepted his place in the town and in society, and it was comfortable for him to stand with the other old farmers just like his ancestors had done before him. Jeff York was from a tradition of hardworking people who had to work hard just to survive, and he knew the curse that followed them They only knew the life they knew, and that life did not belong to the fat bottom lands, where the cane was head-tall… So they passed those places by and hunted for the place which was like home and where they could pick up the old life, with the same feel in the bones…

Jeff York was quite aware of the accomplishments he made during his life, and rightfully had great pride in them. As Jeff stood with the old sharecroppers on the corner, one thing made him different, he had broken the cycle of sharecropping and had gotten his own place. It had taken him more than thirty years to do it, from the time when he was nothing but a big boy until he was fifty. It had taken him from sun to sun, year in and year out, and all the sweat in his body, and all the power of rejection he could muster…

The work he put in to the place was another testament to his fortitude when he bought the place, it was not very good. The land was run-down from years of neglect and abuse. But Jeff York put brush in the gullies to stop the wash and planted clover on the run-down fields. He mended the fences, rod by rod. He patched the roof on the little house and propped up the porch, buying the lumber and shingles almost piece by piece… The final step in realizing his dream was when he put up his patented gate. The gate was the seal Jeff York had put on all the years of sweat and rejection. He could sit on his porch on a Sunday afternoon in summer, before milking time, and look down the rise, down the winding dirt track, to the white gate beyond the clover, and know what he needed to know about all the years passed.

Sadly, Jeff York betrays himself and his dreams when he sells his house to buy the Dew Drop Inn. Jeff York was a good man and he cared for his wife and family. Not wanting to deny his wife her dream of owning the Inn. Jeff York decides to sell his house and land. This was no easy decision for a man who has been through so much and worked so hard for everything he has. The banker in the story tells of Jeffs reaction when he offers to buy his house from him. I thought he hadnt even heard me. He looked like he was half asleep or something. Jeff York takes the offer and in doing so betrays himself. He not only sells his house but he also sells his dreams, his legacy and his life.

Jeff York was a good man who knew his heritage, and accepted his place in society. He worked hard to better himself and he had a lot to be proud of. But when he fails to stay true to himself in the end it costs the good man everything. Robert Warren was right when he talked about the difficult necessity of self knowledge. When we get old and gray and were looking back on our lives, weather or not we stayed true to ourselves through thick and thin will be one of the only things that will really matter. Because in the end the only person we have to answer to is ourselves.

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A Critique of The Patented Gate & the Mean Hamburger, a Short Story by Robert Penn Warren. (2018, September 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from
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