"Hills Like White Elephants" by Hemingway
The term theme in a piece of art infers to the main or controlling idea that can easily be identified, message or moral that it is intended to be passed to the audience, introduced, explored or developed and made concrete in the imagery or action in regard to a work of art or fiction in an essay, movie or even a paragraph. The universal idea, message or moral which is often about society, life or human nature is nevertheless explicitly defined in any single sentence but it is rather implied. It therefore must be pieced together or deduced from the imagery, subject matter and other variable hints of a story's plot (Pensacola Christian College 124). To take an example from Hemmingway's short story "Hills Like White Elephants" one of the themes that is clearly evident is choices versus consequence. In this story we are presented with a couple wallowing I the midst of a crisis. The girl (jig) is pregnant but the American man does not want to keep the baby though he still wants to keep the girl. He therefore suggests abortion though it is not explicitly stated. The man argues that the pregnancy is an obstacle preventing them from living the way they used to as he does not want to share the Jig with its baby. Jig on the other hand does not want to loose the man's love by keeping the baby but she sees it necessary to keep the baby. She is therefore presented with two choices which also has to consequences (Hemingway PP. 9). Keeping the baby and loosing the man or keeping the man and loosing the baby. With this information from the content matter we come up with our theme which is not implicitly stated but rather implied.
"Lost in the Funhouse" by Barth
The term meta-fiction in literature may be defined as a fiction within a fiction or can be most easily defined as a fiction that talks about fiction. Meta-fiction is a literal tool that enables the author of the story to show fiction in his piece of art whether the literal work is fiction of not. The word is a literary term that describes a fictional work of art that systematically and self consciously draws the reader's attention to its stipulation as an artifact by posing inquisitions regarding the relationship that exists between reality and fiction. It hence self consciously addresses fiction as a literary device hence exposing fictional illusions. Through the use of self reflection and irony a metafictional work does not keep the readers ignorant that they are reading a work of fiction as it includes a commentary on its linguistic or narrative identity. The short story Lost in the farm house by John Barth comes as quite a very good example of a metafictional collection. All the stories in the collection assume a literary reflexivity which ends up in a solipsistic extreme (Barth PP3). The stories continuously attack traditional literally realism and modernism conventions at the same time through making persistent comments on traditional literary techniques while at the same time subversively using them of presenting discourses that are disembodied or self composed to make a reflection of their textual being. The title of the collection adds Meta comments on everything ranging from 19th century fictional cities to physical descriptions in proper use. These comments obstruct linear plot development in addition to puncturing any of the tendencies directed towards realism.
"The overcoat" by Nikolai Gogol
Minimalism refers to artistic work such as in music or visual art where the artist would few words or movement as possible. In America the minimalistic work became common in 1960s. In literature minimalism can be defined as a literary style in which an artist economizes on words in regard to the structure of a story. In other words it characterized by the use of reduced very bare elements in a story while focusing on surface descriptions. Minimalist authors avoid adverbs while allowing context to be dictated by meaning. Readers in these types of stories are expected to play an active role in the formulation of the story and to take sides on the basis of oblique innuendo and hints instead of reacting to the author's directions. Minimalist stories are characterized by unexceptional characters. The plot is marked by repetition of motifs as the narrator describes most of their actions using the fewest details which transform them to very heroic deeds. A very good illustration of a minimalist work of art is depicted by Gogol in his short story "The Over Coat". As pointed above minimalism is characterized by repetition of motifs. In the same manner the overcoat is a motif that is constantly repeated throughout the whole story to demonstrate Akaky's life. Akaky is presented as a very exceptional character and his life can be most easily described using the metaphor of the overcoat (Gogol 25).
"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Bierce
Epiphany can be described as a moment where characters at some point are presented with a moment of realizing their identity or self understanding. However a sense of paralysis always hindered them from achieving the above. Paralysis can be described as an inability to initiate progress or take action in order to reach an ultimate goal. The characters in seem to have a desire or an aspiration to search for a sense of identity but in the long run they are faced with ranging obstacles to hinder them from actualizing these desire. A form of paralysis makes them to ultimately concede or relent with all their attempts suddenly coming to a stand still hence they are left in a state of paralysis. These paralytic moments in a way demonstrate the characters' inability to reverse and reform the routines which hamper the actualization of their wishes in life. These forms of immobility seem to fixate the experience cycles in the lives hence their conflicts are not resolved. Epiphany can be illustrated using the short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce. This is through focusing on Farquhar the white owner of a plantation as a character. Shortly before his death Farquhar experiences a similar plight to one that a fugitive slave had experienced during the era of Civil War. He experiences epiphany which ensnares his thoughts just moments before his dead. He at some point comes into terms with a form of realty in his mind which is sheltered only that at this point making a difference to change the world is too late. The epiphany flashes before his mind but it is instantly lost second after with his death hence his desires are not resolved (Bierce 30).
5. Unreliable narrator:
"The lesson" by Bambara
An unreliable narrator is a type of narrator whose point of view is normally biased or compromised with his accounts in regard to events appearing to be biased, faulty, distorted and misleading. The narrator's point of view seems to depart from the truth in regard to how the readers understanding towards events seem to differ from what the narrator tries to imply. This discrepancy hence creates a lot of irony in a story. An unreliable narrator usually presents a story in first person narration and normally whatever that the narrator has no knowledge of can not be explained. The reader hence is left with no reason at all in trusting what the narrator tries to communicate. The narrator presented in Bambara's short story "the lesson" can be used to demonstrate what an unreliable narrator is. The hand headed way in which Sylvia narrates the story leads the reader to doubt whether she is biased or not. There seems to be an occurrence of a sea of change following her character from the beginning to the end. Silvia is very much opposed to the teachings of Miss Moore an educated protagonist who serves to give back to her society by waking the children's consciousness over their disadvantaged status in the American society. Eventually as the story ends we find Silvia some how disturbed and flushed out of her assumed complacency. She is exposed to the dark side of the social ladder and her point of view is eventually changed towards acknowledging Miss Moore's view who actually triumphs over her at the end. We therefore learn that Sylvia should not be trusted as she had been always biased (Bambara 14).
"An act of vengeance" by Isabel Allende
A metaphor can be defined as a figure of speech that utilizes a word or a phrase to create a comparison, which is rather implied, between two things that are unlike but which share some common quality. In a metaphor one thing seeks to designate the other hence resulting to a comparison that is implicit. The implicit comparison hence creates a verbal equation which is figurative by attributing some common qualities between the two things in question. The word "His mother's kisses" and the "songs of mass" are metaphors in the story, "an act of vengeance." "His mother's kisses" symbolized that Tadeo Céspedes has not received his mother's love for a long time. This helps the reader to realize that Tadeo Céspedes has stayed for long period of time in wars without going home. The "Songs of mass" in the story, "An act of vengeance" shows that Tadeo Céspedes has also stayed for long period of time without going to church (Allende PP 4).
Louis Mallard is a character in Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour". In the story she is referred to as Mrs. Millard and had been suffering from heart troubles for many years. After the death of her husband she finds new freedom which heals her pains but she eventually end up taking her life
Graveyard shift worker is a character in the story, "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven" by Sherman Alexie. The Graveyard shift worker is insecure as shown by how he looks at his customer; he suspects them to be a criminal. He is also not sociable since he finds it hard to exchange jokes with other people. From the story realizes that the worker is single as the author asserts that if he could be at home he would be lonely looking for a television channels to keep him busy. They are also poorly paid as shown by the lifestyle they lead and kind of clothing they have; they cannot afford to pay for a talk show.
The cook and captain are characters in story "The Open Boat' by Stephen Crane. The captain of the ship is a quite and calm man but commands total authority from his crew. He is totally responsible for the safety of his crew. He maintains a cool head and is always alert even when he seems to be sleeping. The ship's cook retains a naïve and positive outlook during the whole rescue he initially suggests availability of a life saving station. He lives on illusion simple pleasures of life on dry land and though not helpful in rowing he helps in bailing the water
Lyman Lamartine is a character in the story "The Red Convertible" by Louise Eldritch. Lyman Lamartine is dead but his brother tells us about the time they shared together in the past Goody Cloyse is a character from Nathaniel Hawthorne's story "Young Goodman Brown." Cloyse is a Salem village citizen who helps the youth in bible learning but is secretly a witch. Her name is borrowed from the name of a witch convicted in Salem's historical trials of 1962.
Elisenda is a character from the story "A very old man with enormous wings" by Garcia Marquez. Elisenda is the wife of Pelayo who see her husband as a nuisance. She chiefly concerns himself with her child's and husband life but is rather relieved when the husband leaves Lena is a character in the story "Spunk" by Zola Neal Hurston. Lena is a woman who has no respect for the institution of marriage as she accept Spunk a man who admires to become her lover even before her husband dies.
Dulce Rosa is a character from the story "An act of vengeance" by Isabel Allende. Rosa is the only daughter of a girl who receives the crown of Carnival Queen Jasmine. She is charming and god pianist but the mothers to other candidates are jealous of her and curse her victory. Homer Barron is a character from William Faulkner's story "A rose for Emily". Homer I a man who posses a good sense of humor on top of his gregarious nature. She has fallen head over hills with Emily which the people see as scandalous.
Miss Moore is a character in Toni Cade Bambara "The Lesson". Miss Moore is an educated woman who seeks to give back to her society by educating children to try and awaken their consciousness over the disadvantaged status that they occupy in America.
Ambrose is a character from the story, "Lost in the funhouse" by John Barth. He is portrayed in the story as harboring some secrets since when he was young. The experience that Ambrose went through in his youth affects him until today; he seems not to enjoy holiday with his family in a day everybody seem to be happy. The funhouse reminds him of some part of his life that he would like forgotten. Ambrose hates his customs since he could not make friendship with the people who were not his race; the girl she found in the funhouse and fallen in love with was a Negro and the custom could not allow marriage between a white and a Negro. It is paradoxical in that despite the independence Ambrose is celebrating, he is still not free from the customs and cultures of his people.
Leroy Moffit is a character in the story "Shiloh" by Bobbie Ann Mason. He is a truck driver who marries at age eighteen. He adores hi wife but somehow feels they have grown to be strangers. After an accident injuring her leg he can not drive and spends all his time at home worrying instead of concentrating on improving his life. Jig a girl from the story "Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway is presented with the dilemma of whether to under go an abortion in order to keep her white American boyfriend who does not want the baby and pressures her to have one.
Sonny is a character in the story "Sonny's Blues" by Baldwin is a young man who is troubled and becomes a heroin addict at a tender age. Despite this he is calm and likes keeping his problems to himself except while playing music which is the only redemptive and freeing outlet making him channel all his frustration to his performance. Akaky is a character from the story "The overcoat" by Nikolai Gogol. Akaky is a small man usually abused by the worldly things. He is roughly frustrated by the realities in life till eventually he dies. His life or even death seems to affect no one at all.
Eli is a character in the story, "The overcoat" by Gina Berriault. Eli is depicted as a caring man in the novel as he is seen dishing out some money to the waitress who come from a poor background as shown by the neighborhoods she comes from. The neighborhood littered and old rusty vehicles are scattered everywhere. Eli is also pessimist as he tells the waitress not to have great expectations of changing the situation she is in.
Stella is a character in the story "the shawl" by Cynthia Ozick who is first described as jealous of her younger sister since she always enjoyed the warmth of her mother's shawl. Stella at one time even steals the shawl. She and her family were suffering from abject poverty.
Peyton Farquhar is a character in the story "An Incidence at Owl Creek" by Ambrose Bierce. Farquhar is a prosperous planter, land and slave owner. He is a supporter of the confederacy who is eventually executed at the Owl creek bridge. Sylvy is a character in the story "A White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett. Sylvia is a young lonely who declines to reveal the whereabouts of a beautiful white heron to a hunter who she had always adored and wanted to please. She looks for the bird with the intention of showing it to him to please him but on seeing its beauty decides otherwise.