Literary techniques are helpful in short stories for various reasons. “The Fly” by Katherine Mansfield, “A Secret Lost in the Water by Roch Carrier”, and “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson all employ literary techniques to convey their various messages. Based on the three works, it is evident that literary techniques can help conveying messages that cannot be easily grasped concretely.
Symbolism refers to the use of images to represent ideas or themes. For instance, the Lottery entails the use of the term, “black box” to refer to various themes in the story (Jackson 25). It is arguable that the term, black, refers to darkness, as well as to a culture that is harmful. On the other hand, the term, box, refers to something that is constraining since a box has corners that restricts movement of anything inside of it.
The story reads, “The black box grew shabbier each year: by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained (Jackson 26).” It also seems that this statement refers to the idea that the natives may not understand the essence of the culture they have inherited, and that the culture is losing its nature over time. In this case, what the natives hold as culture is only its fragment. Besides, “A Secret Lost in the Water by Roch Carrier” entails the use of irony. For instance, although the son has gone to school, he cannot discover the source of a spring the way his father used to do (Carrier 339). The farmer tells him, “Don’t feel sorry,’ said the man, thinking no doubt of his farm and his childhood; ‘nowadays fathers can’t pass on anything to the next generation.” However, the farmer does not know that the father had taught his son to find springs, but the son did not pay adequate attention thereby failing to replicate the skill in his adult life.
Earlier when the son his gaining his literary skills, and the father feels that he is being alienated, he tells him, “The time’s come to show you something.” The irony, in this case, is only understood by the son since his father had taught him how to find a spring, but he seemed not to have paid adequate attention. The farmer also reveals and even though he has invited agricultural officers, they cannot locate the springs. The idea of contrast also shows in “The Fly” by Katherine Mansfield also shows the idea of contrast. While Mr. Woodifield has gone to see his friend, he is already retired and ill (Mansfield 46). Unfortunately, the friend is proud of his office and furnishing in spite of the fact that his friend has gone through the same life, but is now ill.
In conclusion, it is evident that literary techniques can help in expounding on internalized messages. As evident from the three stories, the features can be used in symbolic ways, and in reference to ideas that have deeper meanings. In addition, the technique can be incorporated to contrast different characteristics inside a narrative. Consequently, the use of literary devices aids in creating interest and adding emphasis into narratives.
Carrier, Roch. “A Secret Lost in the Water.” Grady: The Penguin Book of Canadian Short Stories (1980): 339-341.
Jackson, Shirley. “The lottery.” The New Yorker 26 (1948): 25-28.
Mansfield, Katherine. The fly. Paralela 45, 2003.
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