Out Stealing Horses Imagery

Imagery is often used to place a reader into an experience with the usage of words, it allows the reader to create their own picture in their mind, allowing them to experience the five senses such as sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste that lead to visual imagery, olfactory imagery, tactile imagery and gustatory imagery. Throughout Per Pettersons “Out stealing horses”, a great amount of water imagery is used in different forms such rivers, lakes, and rain. Water is often used to represent a turning point in a novel in literature, it is known to represent change and life.

The flashbacks that Trond has in the novel are very descriptive; he remembers the little details about his past that indeed had a great influence towards him, especially the summer of 1948. As he recalls it, we learn about his personality being a man who is very reflective, an introvert that carefully observes the little details and had gone through tragedies since his childhood.

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He has now reached an old age, and settled in a peaceful rural area, starts to reminisce his past and try to gain a better understanding of it. At times, the imagery he uses foreshadows the events that follow up.

For example, in chapter two of the novel, during his outing with Jon, before the strange events that follow, he states “I think I was unconscious for a few seconds, because I remember I opened my eyes as if to a new beginning”. This “new beginning” really does occur.

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Tronds personality is brought out by Per Pettersons use of careful use of imagery present in the book. For example, his dramatic and detailed descriptions show the sort of person Trond is. His perspective of the things he sees around him as he grows up brings out the way he is.

A lot of the information about the characters is gained through their actions, not their dialogue. In fact, the book has a lot more imagery compared to dialogue. It can be seen that when dialogues are used, it is only when truly necessary. An example of when dialogues are used is when Tronds daughter asks him if she had preferred it if she hadn’t come and left him in peace instead. This particular conversation is important in showing the person Trond had become after all the circumstances that had taken place in his life. It shows where he has finally reached at that point. A lot of the imagery describes water elements.

Perhaps the intensive imagery used to describe water bodies are due to the reason that they express a very important part of his childhood. Water has a variety of symbolic meanings. It is universally said to represent change and is often used in turning points of stories. Also, it might represent life and death. This can be proven by how it had been raining heavily, the current of the river very strong, during the turning point of the story when Odd had got shot unintentionally. Water also represents purity. The river is one of the main elements described in the book using a variety of imagery.

We learn that Trond and Jon had to take a boat across a river to get across, away from the cottage and towards Barkald’s field where they would “steal horses”. These bodies of water may symbolize life and vitality. For example, the river will always flow, just as how time and life always goes on as well- regardless of circumstances. He uses the river as a place where he can think and analyse moments in his life, symbolizing peace or the need for it. A variety of types of imagery is used by Per Petterson to describe this, mostly though of auditory, visual and olfactory imagery.

An example of a combination of auditory and visual imagery used is, “Behind him, the river rushed down the rapids, its tone unchanging as far as he could tell… and even if its not possible to recognize the water from the way it flows.. “ The river really does indeed play a significant role in his life. During the times when Trond feels happy the river is described in a good light, for example, in chapter 4, the following imagery was used. “The sun was right in the south and there was hardly a shadow in the valley, the river, sparkling, wound its way along, and we could hear it.. ” Trond also describes the river when he is nervous and upset.

One example of this could be during the night of that summer when he had noticed that his father was not in bed. During this night it had also been raining, symbolizing the frustration and turn of events that are going to come. The line is “The water flowed more swiftly now after the drenching rain, running higher up the boulders along the banks, and it swelled up…. the river running was the only sound I heard. ” A river that flows fast may represent strength, this may be strength in a negative way. It may be considered as a foreshadowing to what was next to happen in the novel, Tronds father leaving him.

Another symbol the river might hold is as a barrier. In one instance, Trond sees his dad kissing Jons mother. He did not seem to know what to think about it and had felt his “head almost bursting with emptiness”. It may show how Trond did not completely know his father, which is especially true with how he did not know the truth in what his fathers’ occupation was. He states “the river was the same, yet somehow altered, and that too, was how my father seemed to me when I thought of the stories Franz had told me about him…” This may also represent love and emotions.

During the retirement time in Tronds life, he had reflected upon his life by sitting in front of swan lake. This is another element presented in the book. He had said “But now it is still dark, and I can sit here by Swan Lake thinking about whatever I choose. ” This brings out the personality of Trond, especially his reflective nature. It can be compared to water itself, which also has the ability to reflect. The lake, being a relatively serene body of water represents peace. This may also show Tronds search for inner peace, especially since he is already of old age.

The novel also holds a variety of different imagery contributing towards the events and feelings Trond went through. This ranges from imagery describing the sun, trees, sky, and overall, the whole surrounding. Per Petterson describes these using detailed explanations of auditory, olfactory, tactile and gustatory imagery. Feelings are shown through the imagery he uses. For example, the auditory imagery he uses when he went out stealing horses, the anxious and excited tone, is brought out through the following line, “the vibration in the tree grew stronger and the sound of the hooves filled my head”.

Another example to prove this is that when he gets nervous and scared, he describes the sound to be very disturbing. This is shown in the instance when he got injured when he was out with Jon. The auditory imagery used is “I heard a whinny and the thundering sound of hooves and it all came back like a whirring boomerang”. The book revolves around a great use of imagery that stimulate the senses of the reader and allows the reader to end the book feeling like he/she may have already known Trond for all their life. The element of water especially, does play a great significance in the novel.

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Out Stealing Horses Imagery. (2017, Feb 05). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/out-stealing-horses-imagery-essay

Out Stealing Horses Imagery

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