Snow (analysis by E. Fedyunina)
The text under discussion СSnowТ was written by an American writer Ann Beattie.
The story we deal with is the first-person narration taking the form of a letter. The author depicts a winter she spent with her lover in the country. She describes some small details that stayed in her memory. For example, the moment when her lover asked her Сto wind a towel when he couldn't find his capТ, or the night, when they looked Сat the sky as the wind whirled down all the whitenessТ. It was time when they were happy, but now they are apart. The author does not tell us why it happened.
It's not a narrative text. The plot is vague. It is partly a description and discussion. Elements of description are contained in some pictures of different landscapes (Сa small curve of light was shaved from the moon lightТ), elements of discussion are represented by such words as "I think", "of course".
The greatest emphasis is given to description of snow. In general, snow plays a symbolic role. It denotes love between two people. There was snow and there was love. There are such words: СEven now, saying "snow", my lips move so that they kiss the airТ. СSnowТ is also key word in this story.
This letter can be divided into four logical parts: Сdescription of winterТ, Сhis vision of the same storyТ, СAlen's deathТ, and Сher reflectionsТ.
The general tone of the story is sentimental. The author employs a number of stylistic devices that reveal her emotional attitude. There are a lot of metaphors, for instance СarteryТ (a narrow road), that reflect the narrator's warm feelings of the past. СIt had rained, and as the rain fell, the cover collected more and more water until it finally spilled onto the concreteТ. It is a case of sustained metaphor. It means their relationship, which was finally broken. There are also several similes like Сit was as hopeless as giving a child matched cup and saucerТ(about their relationships); Сit's as pointless as throwing birdseed on the ground when snow still falls fastТ, Сlike a crazy king of snowТ.
There are personifications: Тfireplace made all of them want to tell amazing storiesТ, Сhundreds of Popsicles crashed outТ. Epithets: СcrazyТ, СamazingТ. Idiom: Сworld had been turned upside downТ. Anaphor: СYou remember it differently. You remember...Т
All these devices depict the vividness of her representation and pessimistic effect of the story.
The message of this text is that dear moments can be turned into symbols, symbols into words, words into images. For example, she imagines a certain picture saying the word СsnowТ. She remembers and hopes that one day everything will be as nice as it was in those days and snow will make them happy again.
The Kiss (analysis by E. Fedyunina)
The story under consideration, СThe KissТ, was written by Kate Chopin. The scene is laid in Nathalie's house. It is a third-person narration. The story is written in ironical tone.
The story begins with the description of the atmosphere surrounding main characters - Nathalie and Brantain. Brantain loves Nathalie, but there is also another main character, Harvy, who is interested in her, too. Nathalie loves Harvy but also wants wealth which could be given by Brantain. She plans to marry him, but at the same time, to have Harry's love. Once, when she is talking to Brantain, Harvy comes in and kisses her passionately. Brantain, who is really embarrassed by this situation goes out. Then Nathalie shouts at Harvy and he claims that he hasnТt seen her companion. Next day, she goes to Brantain and lies to him that she really cares for him and that she and Harvy are like brother and sister. At the end, she marries Brantain but looses Harvy.
In this story we find a picture of relations between three different characters. Nathalie carefully plans how to achieve her aims. She pretends and uses her charm. The moment when Harvy kisses her is a climax of the story. The author employs a good simile here: Сwe have always been like cousins-like brother and sisterТ. Nathalie is not simply Сa little unreasonableТ. СShe left like a chess playerТ (it is another simile). Nathalie is narcissistic, vain and manipulative, and she thinks that she has a right to play with people's emotions. There is also an oxymoron Ц Сslow glanceТ - that proves she is ambiguous.
Brantain is naive and has a weak character. He believes everything Nathalie tells him, for example, about her and Harvy, and doesn't see that she needs him only because of his money. The author employs epithets to describe Brantain: СfrankТ, СblusteringТ, СinsignificantТ, СunattractiveТ, but Сenormously richТ.
Harry, on the contrary, doesn't let Nathalie manipulate him.
The denouement of the story is Brantain's and Nathalie's wedding. The unexpected twist here is when Harvy comes up to Nathalie and says that her husband has sent him to kiss her. Nathalie desires Harvy to kiss her. There is a perfect personification: Сher lips looked hungry for the kiss which they invitedТ. But Harvy says with an irony: СBut, you know, I didn't tell him so. It would have seemed ungrateful, but I can tell you. I've stopped kissing women; it's dangerousТ.
Chopin finishes her story with the words: СA person can't have everything in this worldТ.
In my opinion, it is the message of this story. One should be honest with other people and it is important to set a priority in our life. Happiness can't be bought for any money.
News of the Engagement (analysis by E. Orlova)
The story СNews of the EngagementТ is written by an English writer Arnold Bennett. The themes of love, family relationships and childhood are considered here. The author describes 3 main characters: Philip, his mother and Mr. Nixon. One more character Ц Agnes (PhilipТs fiancée) Ц is hidden.
Х Philip (the narrator): A self-centered person engaged to a certain Agnes; he often pigeon-holes people, such as his mother and Mr. Nixon.
Х Philip's mother (Sarah): A widow, who is thought to have no future, but the narrator finds out that she falls in love with Mr. Nixon.
Х Mr. Nixon: A person with a well-established background, nice and fell in love with Philip's mother.
The story illustrates the process of PhilipТs growing up. From being egocentric, thinking that he should be the only thing that his mother cares about, to being considerate and mature at the end.
The story is set in first person from the narrator's perspective. This manipulates the readersТ perception of the events and leads to the twist in the story.
The setting of the story is the mother's home, the Christmas Eve (the time of discoveries and wonders).
At the beginning we meet a young Philip, who comes to visit his mother. He is going to give her tremendous news at supper. Philip expects his mother to be a typical housewife of 45. He stereotypes her as a woman at the house. The phrase СI was the only son of a widowТ shows that the son assumes that his mother is solely dependent on him, and he is her everything. The world revolves around him, so he expects his mother would be able to feel it. A simile is used to describe how his mother СhoveredТ around him Сlike a seagull hovering around a steamerТ. He thinks he is superior to his Сlittle plump motherТ. He Сnever thought of the mother as a woman with a futureТ.
But the supper is set for three Ц for the narrator this suggests that there may be a surprise in the person of Agnes. This also relates back to the self-centered attitude of the protagonist, which shows how he only thinks of himself, and not of his mother. In fact, she is expecting Mr. Nixon for supper. The narrator considers him to be his Сmother's trusteeТ and nothing further. It is least expected that he will become Philip's stepfather therefore Philip jokes calling him Сuncle NixonТ. A table is shown where the whole family settles down to communicate, so it is ironic that Mr. Nixon's seat is also prepared although he is not known as the father or part of the family in the eyes of Philip yet.
Philip and his mother are portrayed to be very close people, thatТs why they are able to relate to each otherТs important things. At the end Philip and Mr. Nixon shake hands that is the symbol of the young manТs maturation.
In conclusion, I would like to say that in my mind the story teaches us a valuable lesson. It shows how important it is to treat parents as individuals, not to be selfish, self-centered and to think of others before ourselves.
The man in black (analysis by I. Myagkova)
СThe man in blackТ is written by an American writer Robert Cates. The text is a third person narration and one can understand that it is America of the second part of 19th century. It can be proved by absence of cars. On the other hand we can notice horse wagons, chewing tobacco, silver money that is not typical of modern life. Furthermore, all the stylistic devices are aimed to create an impression of a typical small American town.
The main characters are Abe Anderson (an assessor in Wayne County), the mysterious stranger, Sheriff Ben, Oliver Johnson, Walter Baylor, the shop proprietor and the audience (it reacts to everything Abe and Sheriff say).
The story tells us about Abe Anderson Ц a man that occupies a high position in this town. He is known by a wide range of people, but he constantly feels some tension and approaching danger. In addition to all that the elections are nearing. AbeТs fears become stronger when he notices Сa figure in dark clothesТ following his steps.
The climax and the first embodiment of AbeТs fears happens when the stranger СgougesТ Abe in his ribs, leads him to a dark place. Abe thinks of worst, but the man only demands money for three extra votes for the assessor. Abe has to give the stranger his lucky piece (that once saved his life in a war battle).
The time goes on and Сin the heat of the campaignТ Abe forgets about the incident. But on the day of the elections the dark stranger approaches him once again. This time Abe is Сat his witТs endТ, the second time cannot be a haphazard. Abe is ready for the worst. But the story ends with an unexpected twist. The dark figure turns out to be a kind of honest man, he tells he couldnТt get one more vote and returns the lucky piece back to Abe.
In my opinion that Сlucky pieceТ symbolizes the truth, hope and clarity of mind. The coin always reminds Abe that life is not a constant expectancy of danger.
The narrator tells the story in an ironic tone. In order to create an atmosphere of nearing danger, the author uses such key words as: СdarkТ, СblackТ, СacridТ. The sense of tense is also achieved with the help of using aposiopesis in many places of the text (for example: УThe feller down byЕФ). Besides, the author uses a lot of Americanisms and ellipses to increase the expressiveness of the story.
We can see an inner conflict in the text. It is inside Abe. Externally very confident and successful, the main character is always afraid for his life. When one achieves a high position in one field, it doesnТt mean that in another field the person will be also successful.
To my mind the message here is that having achieved fame and high position in society someone begins to evaluate his life too much and to worry about everything that happens around. ItТs a mistake. Having become famous you stay the same person, your life is not more valuable than someone elseТs.
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