Literary Analysis on an Excerpt from A Summer Life Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 27 July 2016

Literary Analysis on an Excerpt from A Summer Life

When people are faced with the problematic decision between right and wrong, and have chosen the wrong decision, they often battle the guilt that eats away at them afterwards. In an excerpt from his autobiographical narrative, A Summer Life, Gary Soto looks back into his past when six year old self committed a theft. He achieves a humorous telling of the story due to the new perspective that he has as an adult through the use of similes, imagery, and personification.

Upon finishing the stolen pie, he begins to play with his Frisbee and he compares it shadow “like the shadow of an angel fleeing bad deeds. ” The reader gets a sense that he does feel guilty for what he has done, and he wishes that he could flee from the situation at hand. He slowly and uninterestedly jogs after the Frisbee as though the pie is weighing him down. Not only is t weighing him down physically, but mentally as well. He knows what he had done was wrong and that does cause him to have some internal conflict.

Along with the use of a simile, Soto uses imagery to visual manifest his guilt. The image of his face “sticky with guilt” depicts a picture of Soto being very guilty for what he has done, so guilty that it turns into some sort of paranoia. He believed that everyone had known that he had stolen the pie. The gold- colored pie filling that coated his face was somehow the teller of all his secrets. This also adds to the humour because the reader knows that nobody knows or probably cares. The reader can see that adult Soto does not see it as being a big deal as well.

He is mocking the childish mentality he had towards the situation and is amused that he actually took the offence so seriously. Not only is his guilt established through his paranoia, but also through the empty pie tin “glaring at [him]. ” The pie tin is personified by possessing the human characteristic of glaring. Soto employs this personification to reiterate the guilt that six year old Gary is feeling. Glaring is an act usually done by a parent that knows that their child has done something wrong. When it is done by an inanimate object, there is a feeling that they have really messed up.

Even these soulless entities seem to be able to differentiate between right and wrong. Soto has grown and gotten some new insight which had caused him to change his view on the matter. He demonstrates this through his uses of similes, imagery, and personification to add a humorous tone to the guilt that had eaten him up when he was a young, six year old boy. Soto has shown us that perspective does change over time and the problems that we may face while we’re young will be seen as a little silly when we are older.

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 27 July 2016

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