The Freezer Chest

Dorthe Nors Translated from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra

Read time: a minute

This is a story of a rather unpopular guy who was bullied in his childhood and his way of standing up to the bully. He remembers:

When I think about it, the freezer chest, it’s with a sensation of the ferry rocking and the North Sea beneath us.

With beautiful imagery the author has also worked with great narration. The bully talks about his awesome short life being a musician and how he came about quitting music. He came to the protagonist and,

… said that he wanted to tell me the story of the freezer chest. The protagonist does not care but he has to swing along.

He said that, unfortunately, he had been robbed of his great talent, because he’d been rummaging around one day in his grandmother’s freezer chest, whose hinge mechanism turned out to be broken, and, just as he was standing there about to grab some cinnamon kringles, the freezer lid had slammed down on his fingers. The freezer chest had crushed them. “See for yourself,” he said, waving his stumpy fingers in my face.

The author just listens to him goad like a helpless little child stuck in an uncomfortable situation.

The entire story is written from the point of view of the sufferer and how he actually thought that all of the friends where betraying him by siding along Mark, the class bully.

The protagonist gets his final revenge when he beats Mark in the a bet and asks him to shove the prize of the bet you know where. That moment is the moment of win for him. He goes ahead and remembers it further in life.

It is a simple short story that gives one the perspective of someone who was bullied and how he stood up for himself in his own way.

You can read The Freezer Chest for free on The New Yorker.

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Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH