A person reads fiction for many reasons. Often times, as Richard Wright suggests, one chooses to escape one's life, and discover new realities and states of being. Fiction is perhaps the most powerful medium that can transport a person outside of everything previously known, as fiction challenges not only one's intelligence, but also one's imagination. Due to this reason, fiction is here to say, so to speak, unchallenged in its complexity by such things as television or other recreational activities, as computer or video games. The following pages will engage four stories in order to describe just how intricate a written work of fiction can be, and will examine various parts of these stories in order to link them to ways of thinking and daily existence.
An Act of Vengeance by Isabel Allende
This short story by Isabel Allende is truly a melange of intricate details and has a fantastic plot. Though all elements make the story unique and interesting, especially the two main characters, Dulce Rosa Orellano and Tadeo Cespedes and the conflict between them, it is the main conflict, or the plot that advances the story to its poignant and fascinating completion. The reason I believe the plot to be most important, even above characters, is that without it the story truly would not function and would not be the intricate and interesting tale that it is. The plot begins by slowly introducing the reader to the story, to the main character, Dulce Rosa, and later Tadeo, and weaves the link between the two. It is also the plot, which carries the reader further, towards the climax of the story when Rosa commits suicide to honor her father, and finally releases the audience in the denouement.
The story was fantastic due to the intricate, yet simple, plot. The tale is as complex as it is straightforward, and it was quite easy to pinpoint the plot as a clear link and as the most important facet of this story. The reason why the plot was so clear was because the author's language and chronology were absolutely perfect, and this is one of the main attractions to the story. The reader is neither confused, nor angry, at the end. He or she can simply accept the fact that the story ended unhappily, for this underlines the plot throughout. The story is also interesting in that it holds information about the Spanish Civil War, and the violence that it brought, but also sheds light upon the strength of people, the way that they change after violence and their resilience throughout life, which is a great and important face of the work as well. Perhaps the best quote to express this view is the paragraph in which the two characters meet after years of not having seen each other and which the author describes in the following way:
"She went over her perfect plan of vengeance, but did not feel the expected happiness; instead she felt its opposite, a profound melancholy. Tadeo Cespedes delicately took her hand and kissed the palm, wetting it with his tears. Then she understood with horror that by thinking about him every moment, and savoring his punishment in advance, her feelings had become reversed and she had fallen in love with him."
This justification is necessary to explain to the reader why Rosa cannot kill Tadeo quickly, and truly mirrors the emotions of the human heart. In fact, if the story had ended with Rosa murdering her enemy, the reader would have expected it and the story would therefore, not having thrown any surprises, ended in an expected way. By including human psychology in the story, the author raises the bar for this work.
Toni Cade Bambara's work is certainly a different style from the tale presented above. The most important element of fiction in this story is the style. Without the author's attitude-full language, the story simply would not be interesting. In fact, this is one of the most illustrative examples of just how important style can be in fiction. The language here is English, but it is such an improper English and the reader is kept interested in this simple story of a summer's day by reading the mismatched words and sentences of the children who build the story. Just as in the previous story, this element was simple to pinpoint because it was so clear, one would venture to say even more clear than pinpointing the importance of point, for one can actually see from the start that the language, or the style of this story is quite different.
The story is also quite humorous in that it presents a group of children who are learning about various things by going to a museum in New York City. Due to the fact that it is easy to read, this story could be enjoyed by many people of various ages, and I would certainly recommend it. One of the best quotes is towards the beginning of the story when the narrator states:
"So right away I'm tired of this and say so. And would much rather snatch Sugar and go to the Sunset and terrorize the West Indian kids and take their hair ribbons and their money too. And Miss Moore files that remark away for next week's lesson on brotherhood, I can tell."
This seemingly snarky comment is as funny as it is sarcastic, but it shows the innocence and astuteness of a child at the same time. It is truly a testament to Bambara to be able to include such different aspects as the words above describe in a few sentences.
The Man Who Was almost a Man
The third story, written by Richard Wright, has the character at the center of the story. This, then, is the most important elements of this fictional tale of a young boy who fires a gun for the first time and kills the mule with which he works the fields. In this particular story, deciding upon the main element was a bit more difficult because plot and style, as well as theme and setting also play important parts. However, without the main character, Dave, the story simply would not exist. Though the reader only knows him for a few pages, Dave has the stubbornness, one could say, of a mule, in fighting for his gun, and also, scarily, the creativity of a murderer. However, these facets are not exaggerated. Instead, the author presents Dave in these few pages as a fleshed out character of which the reader is not afraid and instead comes to know as an imaginative but silly boy who wants a toy with which to play and reward himself after the hard work that he does in the field.
It was hard to identify with this story, especially due to the fact that no element in it mirrors my own life. However, it is important to read this work because it teaches us about another time and place, in which not everyone was educated or had access to education, in which many had to work hard and reap few rewards. Two facets that shows this fact are the language that the author uses and the point-of-view, which is third person omniscient. The language, or style, is punctuated by short sentences written in dialect when the main characters speak. However, the author also includes his own voice, which involves more complex, and longer sentences and which place it apart from the voice of the characters. The most interesting sentence is, thus, one that the author writes from his own point-of-view, but which sums up the way that the main character, Dave, feels:
"He hesitated just a moment; then he grabbed, pulled atop of a car, and lay flat. He felt his pocket; the gun was still there. Ahead the long rails were glinting in the moonlight, stretching away, away to somewhere, somewhere where he could be a man."
In Paul's Case, a short story written by Willa Cather, one meets a boy, Paul, who is under suspension at his school. The story's most important elements are the most difficult to decide upon. Character is vital, but so is the style and, of course the plot. However, I believe that the language that the author has chosen thoroughly describes the character and the theme and setting, so I would once again state that style is the most important to this story. This is also because style is immediately evident to the reader, since the beginning of the story:
"His clothes were a trifle outgrown, and the tan velvet on the collar of his open overcoat was frayed and worn; but for all that there was something of the dandy about him, and he wore an opal pin in his neatly knotted black four-in-hand, and a red carnation in his buttonhole. This latter adornment the faculty somehow felt was not properly significant of the…