Monday, May 24, 2010

Revision for Literary Analysis 'True or Untrue Grit'

So for this section of my blog, we had to revise one of the works we did this year. Taking into consideration that I already posted this up as a piece of literary analysis, I felt as though it would be a good idea to revise it and make it an even better analysis. This piece of writing was done exactly in the middle of the year in December, and I feel as though it can be seen that my writing has improved since the beginning of the year. Although I think that my writing improved, there is still always room for improvement. The bold sections are the parts that I edited and revised because they needed to be tweaked to sound just right. Most of my revisions can be found in the beginning of each paragraph, because in December, I was still working on learning how to create a good sounding paragraph while also saying what I wanted to. I also made numerous revisions concerning solely analysis, because in my old essay, I tended to stray away from the analysis and talk about techniques.

Here is my revised version of my Literary Analysis:

Kellie Leonce
English Literature AP
Gallagher: 7
Ownership vs. Belonging

In the short story, “True or Untrue, Grit” by Laura Chester, the author touches upon major cultural clash, but in a lighthearted, comical fashion. Through her subtle use of humor, Chester is able to address the issue of clear cultural stereotypes, while also suggesting that the borderline of “ownership” and “belonging” are clearly distinguishable. In order to create this idea based around humor, Chester incorporates profound irony as well as childish tone. In using humor to mock certain cultures, Chester’s suggestion of distinguishing “ownership” and “belonging” as two separate entities is more easily accepted due to her lighthearted approach. Chester transforms a very controversial topic to a somewhat comical and enjoyable piece of literature, while also incorporating the idea of two very different ideas: ownership and belonging. Chester's definition of ownership and belonging plays a huge role in the story because this bigger theme is incorporated with moral value. In creating such a universal theme throughout her story, the reader is able to form their own moral opinion in their heads, while enjoying the light-hearted story behind the controversy.

Throughout the story, Nora continues to point out and expand on cultures outside of her own. Though the reader only knows that she is from Manhattan, New York, Chester shows that Nora is clearly in a place out of her ordinary, by surrounding this Manhattan woman in a place with “Hispanic” and “Native American” culture. The first clash of culture is seen when Nora believes her contractor when he says “Mañana”, the house would be completed. Chester touches upon the laid back Hispanic culture when she clarifies “Mañana” as being “Twice as much, twice as long, no exaggeration of fact”. This stereotype Chester incorporates is mentioned as a culture barrier, and she brings it up in a way that pokes fun at both Nora as well as the Hispanic stereotype, while continuing that culture clash. In relation to the Indian Grit, Nora replies “Uh-oh!’ I knew about Indians and (al-co-hol” right after he asks for a drink. Continuing Nora’s ignorance to other cultures, Chester is accurate in creating Nora as a character who is unaware of what culture really means. Nora is obviously not purposefully labeling these people, but she purely and truly gives in to the stereotypes that are put forth. What makes Nora so comical is the fact that she is not saying these things in spite of other races, but just because she reacts as a child would in this case. In displaying Nora as an American in this land of many ethnicities, Chester builds upon the fact that though she does in fact own her land, there may be issues in her belonging.

The place where Nora owns and the place where she feels where she belongs, “down in the bowels of the city, waiting for the E train as usual” is portrayed though Chester's use of irony. Though this short story is highlighted with many instances of irony, it helps the reader understand more about the controversial aspect of ownership, while also adding a hint of humor. In revealing a place where Nora feels normal in the end, Chester makes the reader view Nora as if she is in a place where she now belongs. This belonging that Nora feels in the end is what Grit is trying to get back for himself, and his people. Subconsciously, Nora in fact knows that boundary between “ownership” and “belonging”. Although she owns the land and put a lot of effort into building her house, she knew that the Apache Indian belonged there. Her understanding of this belonging is seen when she explains that “there was one small lien, a simple condition required by the original owners”. Though humor was used when addressing the plumbing situation, the fact that Nora would give up a piece of her new home for the Apache Indian shows her understanding of his belonging. Nora clearly owns her land, but subconsciously knows that the Apache Indian belongs there. Nora’s previous stereotype of the Hispanics and Indians also aids the idea that there is a borderline of ownership and belonging. Although Nora came from an outside place and had previous views about these people, she still felt the need to honor Grit’s wishes because deep down she knew that was the one place that he belonged.

Taking into consideration the amount of humor and light-heartedness added into this short story, it is safe to say that the literary device, irony plays a huge part in the tone of the story. Irony is used throughout the entire story in the fact that Nora was waiting for the E train in Manhattan while all of the events of the story were supposedly happening. The irony of everything around Nora being a dream creates an ironic situation where so many things are taking place in her dream, while she is really alone on a train in Manhattan. There is also an ironic contrasting plot from the trains in Manhattan, to a suburban country-side. Another ironic incident is Nora’s reaction to her house being finished. She describes it “like the end of analysis, or an affair of the heart”. After complaining in the beginning about how she wanted her house to be finished, she suddenly changes to utter “sadness” in that she was going to miss her “handsome contractor” or even miss the fact that she owned something and was creating something larger than it actually was. Sarcasm is even used when she states that their “property wasn’t huge, only forty-six acres”. Chester now reveals why Nora does not belong in this place. She is not only unappreciative of the fact that her house is done, but she also finds no appreciation of the sacred land she resides on. She is more upset about the fact that her adventure of creating something out of nothing is now officially over. When Nora states that her land “wasn’t’ huge, only forty-six acres”, Chester shows the reader that Nora does not view these acres as anything but land. Grit on the other hand has so much passion and respect for the land that was now being taken over by Nora. The irony of Nora’s responses and feelings show that although she owned the land, she showed no sense of belonging, as Grit had.

Through her irony and mockery of serious matters, Chester is able to contrast two very controversial themes while also poking fun at the situation at the same time. She creates a humorous tone through the mockery, in a way that other readers will not get offended. She refrains from forcing her ideas upon the reader in a serious manner, but she hints her ideas subtly through the humor of her mockery and irony. Chester is successful in structuring her idea of “belonging” in a subtle manner, that at the end of the story, the reader knows that Grit and Nora do in fact end up where both of them belong. In bringing in such different aspects of culture such as Hispanic, Indian, and American culture, and poking fun at each, Chester opened up the story to a more cultural clash while still bringing in the idea of ownership versus belonging. In the story, Grit is not the only character who ends up where he belongs. Although Nora did spend much time and effort on her house, the fact that she did not belong there overruled the fact that she owned the house. In the end, Nora ended up in Manhattan on the E train where everything seemed back to normal for her, intentionally were she belonged.

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