Used To Live Here Once Essay

782 words - 4 pages

Used to Live Here Once
Brandie Markos-Murr
ENG 125 Introduction to Literature
Michael O’Donnell
November 17, 2013

Used to Live Here Once
In the short story “Used to Live Here Once” (Rhys, 1976), tells the tale of one woman’s spiritual journey on her path in the afterlife. The underlying theme in this story is death. Although, “death” is not immediately obvious until the final passage; however, reflecting back, subtle hints were presented throughout the story leading to its ironical outcome. To understand and capture the theme of a story, Clugston (2010) explains that the plot, the mood, and not even the attitude of the author can depict a story’s theme. The theme is the underlying ...view middle of the document...

However, the symbolism used helped convey the overall theme in extraordinary ways. For example, the first paragraph describes our protagonist crossing over a river as she recalls the stepping stones; an unsteady one, another which was pointed, the safe one in which you could stand and look around (Rhys 1976). Each stone in my opinion symbolized significant chapters in her life in which she reflects on as she “crosses over” the river. As she walks through the country side, the woman notices changes, such as the old road was wider, and her previous home had some changes as well. We get the sense that much time has passed, but again, one would still not suspect that the overall theme was death. Additionally, as she is traveling through the countryside the woman notices a glassy sky, one she does not recall ever seeing before. This could be interpreted as reflection and fragility, perhaps alluding to the fragility of life.
The author brings it all together at the very end of the story with the final use of symbolic images. As the woman approaches her home, two children are playing out front. She tries to greet them with a hello, and extends her arms to touch them, this goes unheard and unnoticed. However, what is noticed by the children is a sudden feeling of a chill; the warm...

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