Plan B GEC.docx - Self-Discovery in Literature A common...

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Self-Discovery in Literature A common theme in many short stories that have been written throughout history is the theme of self-discovery. A character discovers something about him or herself that was previously unknown, whether it be a simple trait, a source of joy, or any other aspect of that character that was previously kept hidden. In order to make this self-discovery readily apparent, authors use a variety of literary devices to transform their characters. These devices can range from something as simple as the diction of the writing to something as complex as characterization. In two short stories, Cathedral, by Raymond Carver, and The Story of an Hour , by Kate Chopin, both authors use instances of irony and symbolism in order to convey their message of self-discovery. Raymond Carver, in his short story Cathedral , uses several instances of irony in order to first demonstrate his character’s beliefs and prejudices, and later the transformation that the character underwent. Throughout the early parts of the short story, the protagonist seems unwary about his wife bringing a blind man, her friend, into their home. It becomes apparent that the very situation makes the man uncomfortable, and it is clear that this is due to prejudice on the behalf of the protagonist. Verbal irony, in the form of sarcasm, is used to show these prejudices. The protagonist wonders aloud if he should take the blind man bowling. This obvious sarcasm and jab at the man showcases the protagonists prejudices against the blind, implying that he almost does not see the old man as a person. However, later in the story, the narrator undergoes self-discovery that

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