Love, Wealth, and Irony in Todd Robbins' Spurs - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-09-17
Love, Wealth, and Irony in Todd Robbins' Spurs - Essay Sample
Categories:  Literature
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 657 words
6 min read


Todd Robbins's short story, "Spurs" is based on a small traveling circus in France. The main character, a dwarf, known as Jacques, is a lonely man who longs to fall in love with one of the beautiful ladies in the troop. He manages to woe the troop's bareback rider, Jeanne Marie, who agrees the dwarf's proposition to marriage after learning how much wealth Jacques has lately inherited. Paradoxically, Jeanne Marie is genuinely in love with his theatre partner Simon who she promises to marry after acquiring Jacques's property. During the wedding feasts, Jeanne's actions reveal that she is not in love with Jacques, but she is only motivated to get the bridegroom's estate since she is sure that Jacques would not live for long "These pygmies were a puny lot. They died young" (Robbins). Jacques realizes the secret between Jeanne and Simon and decides to revenge using the shield of his dog, St. Eustache. Therefore, through this story, Robbins intends to show the reader the causes and the perpetuation of revenge among characters.

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Revenge is the action of hurting a person in response to harm or injuries suffered as a result of previous acts perpetrated by the avenged. In the story, Jacques suffers humiliation due to his physical stature. Other characters laugh at him and view him as impotent of, among other things, making love. During the wedding feast, after Jacques got drunk, Jeanne boasts how she would torment his little man every day after their marriage. "Simon I could crack his skull between my finger and thumb, like a hickory nut!" (Robbins). Simon also promises to marry Jeanne when she finally poisons Jacques to death.

Forget you, Jeanne?... By all the dancing devil in champagne, never! I will wait as patiently as a job till you have fed that mouse some poisoned cheese. But what will you do with him in the meantime Jeanne? You must allow him some liberties. I grind my teeth to think of you in his arms! (Robbins)

Although intoxicated, Jacques can eavesdrop on the conversation between Simon and Jeanne. Besides, Jeanne humiliates Jacques as she carries him up on their way home and promises to carry him from one corner of France to the other "You shall lose your wager, for I swear that I could carry my little ape from one end of France to the other!" (Robbins). Upon realization that there is no love between them, Jacques decides revenge against his wife and his ex-lover Simon. The reasoning behind seeking revenge is clear, "there is a polarity between Jacques and Simon" (Bursky), and hence, the reason why the former "appears on a wolfhound, with a sword, and takes his revenge" (Karamanos). The author reveals to the reader that some actions perpetrated by manipulative characters deserve revenge. Jeanne would not have agreed to marry Jacques if it were not for the mention of his vast wealth. Her intentions from the start are motivated by greed and selfishness, and hence, "after all those horrible things she did to humiliate Jacques, there is a necessity for revenge" (Bursky). Moreover, insecurity motivates Jacques to seek revenge against both Jeanne and Simon. From what happens at the wedding feast, Jacques is assured that he would not get hold of his bride for long unless he devises some means to contain her, for example, by oppressing her. Also, "the innate hatred Jacques hold on Simon makes revenge inevitable" (Bursky). Hence, by killing Simon, Jacques eliminates the threat of losing his wife to her ex-lover.

Works Cited

Bursky, Kira et al. "Freaks Vs. Spurs: Interpretation Of Characters". Filmthisfilmthat. Com, 2020,

Karamanos, Hioni. "Review Of Tod Browning's FREAKS On DVD". Disability Studies Quarterly, vol 25, no. 3, 2005. The Ohio State University Libraries, doi:10.18061/dsq.v25i3.581.

Robbins, Tod. "Spurs." The Story of Jacques Courbe, the Dwarf of Copo's Circus, and Jeanne Marie, Bareback Rider. Munsey's Magazine78 (1) (1923): 24-32.

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