Literary Techniques

Imagery in Incarnations of Burned Children

Literary techniques are characteristics of literature pieces of writing, which authors use, in written pieces, and narrators, in oral pieces, to bring out the meaning of the pieces. They range from those concerning the plot, the characters, style perspective and plots among many others. Literary techniques enable the audience to have a deeper view of the piece. They also help the audience to understand pieces of literature easily. These techniques are the basis upon which literary work is developed. The authors of literary work employ literary techniques, in a broad way to improve the development of the piece. Most important of all, literary techniques bring out the themes of each piece of literature. This implies that, in the absence of literary techniques, it would be difficult to develop and explain themes in almost all pieces of literature. Themes depend on the literary techniques to be expressed. This paper digs deep into explaining imagery in the story Incarnations of Burned Children. The author of this short story is David F Wallace. Imagery is the use of words in a literature piece of work to create a mental picture. It is the art of creating mental images in the minds of the audience to give them an understanding of that piece of work.

The title of the story, Incarnations of Burned Children suggests that the children involved died. The use of the word incarnation tells of death that would occur in the story. Therefore, the audience has a perception that there must death in the course of the unfolding of the story. The story starts and the author say that before a door could bang behind the dad he had already perceived the scene. These words create an image of the quick movement of the dad and the urgency the screams created in his mind. Without much imagination, the audience sees a clear picture of the scene of the dad leaving his job and with urgency storming into the house. Another good example of the use of imagery is the description, Wallace gives of the scene the daddy found. The turned pot, the flooded floor and others create an impression of the extent of the mess in the kitchen (Wallace, 2000). As the audience reads on, at the back of their minds, there is this picture of the accident. It makes it very simple for the audience to relate late happens with the start. The description that Wallace gives of the state of the toddler tells the audience at this early stage of the story unfolding. Without having to say it, Wallace has already communicated, with the audience that the accidents involved a boiling pot pouring its contents on the toddler. As he says that the toddler’s hair was steaming, this says that hot water had poured on him. The same way does the description on how the physical parts of the child were. The position of the eyes and the mouth of the toddler and how they seemed different from the screams, gives a clear idea of the child’s pain. It goes without saying, the account, Wallace gave on the position of the mother; tell of her shock (Wallace, 2000). The words used, clearly explains her selfless reaction to the accident, her shock and helplessness. The use of such words as hysterical cries tells that she was helpless in the pains of her child. The fact that the mother was calling invoking their God tells her desperation for help. She was desperate to see her son, not in pains, and, therefore, she called upon her God for help (Wallace, 2000).  

Another example of imagery use in the story is the actions of the daddy to remand the situation. The author says that the daddy threw plates from the sink and struck the tap. These words show swiftness in the actions. He threw the plates to create space urgently for his son. While, he struck the tap so that it could give water immediately without delays. This shows that the daddy had no time to open the tap normally or softly remove the plates. He urgently needed space and water to save his son from the pans. Another aspect of imagery in the story is seen when the author says that despite the father’s calming words, the toddler screamed as if he was still under the tilted pot, creates an idea in the audience. This explanation tells the audience that there was still something unsolved that lead to the unceasing cries of the child. This description also tells us that the screams of the child were as loud as they were before. In support of this, the author says that the screams were a high pure shining sound, which could make his heart stop (Wallace, 2000). In the audience’s mind, a scream that would stop the heart were really loud screams. When the author says that the daddy thought later he knew, tells the audience that what the daddy thought was the problem at that time was not. The father thought the child was crying from fear whereas in real, the boy was still being hurt by the hot water in his diaper. The expression of how the daddy reacted to the site of the child’s burn from the diaper is another good example of imagery. The author says that the daddy turned away and cursed both the world and him. This indicates that the burns were severe and breathe taking. That phrase also tells more about the feeling of the daddy. From that, it can be said that the father felt guilty for not helping their son when he wanted their help the most. Lastly, the insistence on the state of the tenant’s door tells the audience that, the most important thing at that time was to try save the boy than to complete the repair of the door (Wallace, 2000).

In conclusion, imagery has been deeply developed in Wallace’s story Incarnations of Burned Children. Wallace has, with expertise, used words to well up emotions in his audience. He has successfully employed descriptive words to create an impression of the panorama of the mishap. The audience is fully engaged by the unfolding of the story and feels with the characters. For the audience to feel with the characters in the story, it is the fruitful employment of imagery. 

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