Rock Springs Explication
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“Rock Springs” Explication
“Rock Springs” starts out with Earl Middleton driving a stolen Mercedes from Montana to Florida with his girlfriend Edna, daughter Cheryl, and dog Little Duke in tow. Even though the car was stolen, when the engine lights comes on, Earl suggests they pull over and see what the problem is, as to not ruin the engine. Edna and Cheryl are both aware that the car is stolen, and are perfectly fine with the situation. They decide to ditch the car in the nearest town, Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Up to this point of the story, it seems like this Earl and Edna are a low key Bonnie and Clyde, stealing cars or cash, but never really causing anyone physical harm – just the loss of personal property. It appears like the rest of the story will track their journey to Florida, and detail each new crime they commit. That, in itself, wouldnt be a bad story. It would have the possibility for some drama, maybe a police encounter or two, and the action scenes of doing the wrong thing all the time and trying to not get caught.

However, that is not how the story unfolds. Upon entering Rock Springs, Earl parks the car off the road, out of sight, and goes to explore a huge white factory. He finds immigrant housing surrounding the factory, and knocks on the door of the first trailer. He meets a woman who lets Earl use her phone to call a cab for Edna and Cheryl. He makes small talk with the woman, and finds out that the large white factory is a gold mine, or gold refinery. After talking to the woman, Earl heads back to the parked car to wait for the cab. The cabbie takes them through the downtown area of Rock Springs, shows them a few of the sights on the way, and finally takes them to a hotel for the night. After everyone is a sleep, Earl walks out to the parking lot of the hotel and begins to look in the windows of the parked cars.

After reading this story, I believe it to be one of the most boring, uneventful stories I have ever read. There are no real action parts, not even a rise in action. The most suspenseful part of the story is when Edna is telling the story of how her monkey died. Even though I was unable to identify a true climax in the story, I enjoyed reading it. Earl is a thief, and doesnt seem to have a problem with that, but he still seems to respect the property he steals. This is shows by the passage:

“Whats that light mean, Earl?” Edna said. She had come and stood by the car with her hat on. She was just sizing up things for herself.
“We shouldnt run it,” I said. “Somethings not right in the oil.” (Ford, 164)
This car is stolen, if it breaks, the biggest problem they will have is finding a new car. But Earl doesnt want to drive it, to presumably risk ruining the engine. I took this as meaning, unlike most crooks; Earl has morals, just not about stealing cars or money. He doesnt steal them to leave the victims without, he simply steals because he or his family needs something.

In the trailer with the woman, before she lets him use the phone, she asks him:
“Youre not going to rob me, are you Mr. Middleton?” she

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Earl Middleton And Rock Springs. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from