The Literary Analysis of Backpack Literature

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The Elements in a Story

The elements in a story are often used by the reader to enhance their understanding as well as improve the comprehension of the plot. The literary analysis in a story is essential as they help identify and separate a particular story and narration from other stories. The literary elements also help initiate a form of authenticity in a certain story. The literal analysis in a story is like a bungalow which has several rooms, and hence the readers are invited to make themselves comfortable by exploring whichever room they feel like. The aspect of conflict and a suitable resolution in a story often initiates a sense of ownership and comprehension to the readers who find a purpose and a sense of direction in their reading. Through the analysis of the book "Backpack Literature," it is possible to analyze the use of literary elements such as symbols, imagery, and character traits and determine how they affect the plot of the story.

Symbolism in Stories

Most authors often use symbolism in short stories, poems, and novels to represent a greater object or cause than the object in question. In William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily," for instance, Emily's house is used symbolically in the story (Faulkner 9). The author states that the house was built in the 1970s and hence was one of the most spectacular structures of its time. However, the current state of the house is inhabitable and pathetic as he states that it was an "eyesore among eyesores" meaning that it had greatly downgraded. It equally means that even the surrounding structures such as the gasoline pumps were better than the house (Faulkner 10). The house equally symbolized the glory of the south before the civil war era. The deterioration of the house equally points out the old glory of the south that had slowly withered. Additionally, the house symbolizes the stifling power of the society where Emily lives. Emily is supposed to go through different developmental stages in life such as from daughter to wife and eventually mother (Kennedy & Gioia 56). However, just like the old house, Emily is static and eventually deteriorates from her former glory. The author in this perspective, therefore, uses symbolism both in its literal and figurative aspects (Wadham & Jonathan 47).

Harnessing Symbolism

The author could also use symbolism to further describe events and assign certain hidden meanings for the readers to find on their own. In "The Lottery," Shirley Jackson states that the black box was old and out of shape even though the villagers saw no need to replace it. The author uses symbolism in this perspective to criticize the cultural aspects of the villagers who are conservative and ignorant (Jackson 12). Symbolism, therefore, diversifies the plot of the story through giving different directions and viewpoints to the readers who will be inclined to the side that is most convenient to them (Jackson 10). Additionally, authors exercise a sense of liberty and extra creativity through symbolism. An example is in the case of the black box in "The Lottery" which gives the author reason to be critical and even derogatory on the ignorant nature of the villagers who seem to have stagnated in ancient destructive values and refuse to change.

Imagery in Stories

Authors could alternatively employ the use of imagery to form strong mental pictures in the minds of the reader to further build on the plot. Most of the imagery created in stories often evokes a sense of visual response to the readers although strong imagery can also induce sensational and even emotional feelings from the readers. Imagery manages to capture all the five senses through bringing about a certain description that is appealing to them. Although imagery need not capture all the five senses at a go, it often influences the readers understanding of a certain story through building the credibility of the plot. In Trifles, Mrs. Hales describes Mrs. Wright by saying that, "She used to wear pretty clothes and be lively, when she was Minnie Foster, one of the town girls singing in the choir" (Glaspell 15). The description already helps the reader build mental images in their minds. Imagery, therefore, helps the reader relate to what the picture that the author tries to paint (Glaspell 12). The reader also creates a sense of ownership while reading and hence is able to make valid conclusions from the plot.

Characterization and Character Traits

Authors often use the aspect of characterization and character traits to assign human values to objects and animals. However, in human beings, characterization helps to elicit emotions, approval, or disdain. The character development in a story often examines the role of a particular character throughout the plot from beginning to end (Keller 4). There are also different levels of characters such as the major, minor, primary, and secondary characters. The main function of the characters in a story is to perform certain actions which affect the direction of the plot in the long run. In "The Lottery," for instance, Tessie Hutchinson arrives late for the lottery event. Tessie also speaks out loudly during the proceedings and points out mistakes indicating that the entire process is not fair. However, she is silenced by the angry villagers who see her as a threat to their longtime traditions and beliefs. In this perspective, for instance, the author further reinforces the plot through using Tessie as an example (Kennedy & Gioia 25). By stoning Tessie to death, the villages make it clear that they cannot tolerate any form of change or alien ideas as compared to what they believe as the gospel truth. Emily's character equally helps to reinforce the plot of the story which is about deterioration and degradation of the south after the American civil war (Wadham & Jonathan 46).

The Importance of Literal Elements

When telling a story, authors often have a form of independence and command concerning the direction of their plot. However, the plot is only a plain and vague idea that forms the structure of the story. It is inevitable to initiate literal elements such as symbolism, imagery, and characterization as witnessed in "A Rose for Emily," "The Lottery," and "Trifles." Imagery helps the author and the readers to form mental pictures which will create a sense of ownership and authenticity in the plot. Symbolism, on the other hand, is important as it gives the author the freedom to communicate different conflicting messages within the same perspective. Characterization plays a crucial role in spicing up the plot by incorporating different viewpoints, including that of the reader. In "A Rose for Emily," for instance, Emily emerged as the main protagonist and hence her character is directly related to the plot of the short story. It is, therefore, the literal elements in a story that spice up the plot and make it worth analyzing.

Work cited

Faulkner, W., & Overdrive Inc. (2012). A Rose for Emily and Other Stories. S.I.: Random House Publishing Group. (9)

Glaspell, Susan. Trifles: A Play in One Act. Los Angeles, CA: Baker's Plays, 2010. (15)

Jackson, Shirley. The Lottery. Mankato, MN: Creative Education, 2008. Print. (10)

Keller, Mathias. Symbolic Realism in Susan Glaspell's Trifles. München: GRIN Verlag, 2005.  (4)

Kennedy X. J. & Gioia Dana. Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing, 5th Edition. University of Southern California, 2016.

Wadham, Rachel L, and Jonathan W. Ostenson. Integrating Young Adult Literature Through the Common Core Standards., 2013. (47)

December 12, 2023

Education Literature

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Reading Literature Review

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