Both Sylvia Plath’s and Charles Dickens’s - Sample Essay
Using “Superman and Paula Brown’s New Snowsuit,” by Sylvia Plath and the extract relating to Christmas and the capture of the convicts from “Great Expectations,” by Charles Dickens, show how each writer deals with the theme of “childhood fears and the part they play in understanding the adult world. ” Both Sylvia Plath’s and Charles Dickens’s intention in writing these extracts was to show how the things you experience during childhood effect the rest of your life in the way that it changes you and your way of thinking forever.
They explore the different factors that affect this, for example your childhood fears or the environment you live in, and describe them in many ways using literary effects to enhance the story and carry the point across. Sylvia Plath describes the memory’s of the child in her story as being like “changing colours” and as if “seen through a kaleidoscope”, the changing colours could represent herself changing and the kaleidoscope could be how she perceived her life as a child, full of colours and never the same pattern.
Charles Dickens tells us of how this little boy Pip has to lie to his loved ones to protect them and himself and in doing this is discovers something for himself. “In a word, I was too cowardly to do what I knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong. I had had no intercourse with the world at that time, and I imitated none of its many inhabitants who act in this manner. Quite an untaught genius, I made the discovery of the line of action for myself. ”
The literary effects that these authors use can be very different but they are both trying to enhance the story with them. Sylvia Plath uses colours a lot to aid the depiction of the changes in her life and to create an atmosphere and mood. An example of this would be the main part of the story when Paula Brown slips and falls into the oil ruining her snowsuit, the moment when there is silence and stillness she creates an atmosphere for us by telling us “the dull, green light of the late afternoon came closing down on us, cold and final as a window blind.
” She uses green to describe the surroundings which is a neutral colour implying that none of them knew what to think or who to blame, the decision was left hanging in the air, “the late afternoon came closing down on us” suggests the decision of Paula to blame her came closing down on her and “cold and final as a window blind” could signify the warmth and happiness of childhood being shut out and the darkness and cold harsh reality surrounding her and it being final so there was no changing it or going back.
Charles Dickens also occasionally uses colours to complete an image he is trying to make, an example of this is when he describes Mrs Hubble, “I remember Mrs Hubble as a little curly sharp-edged person in sky-blue”. Sylvia Plath uses a lot of irony in this story.
When she describes the narrator’s home and her living environment there is an element of irony I it, she tells us how the narrator would gaze at the airport, “before I went to bed each night, I used to kneel by the west window of my room and look over to the lights of Boston that blazed and blinked far off across the darkening water”, its ironic because its like she is looking into the future and seeing either a dark confusing pool of thoughts or she is seeing the pool of oil that Paul Brown would fall into, which would evidently change her life.
She then describes to us the place where she escapes the real world, where she feels safe and the only place she would feel safe, “the sound of waves was lost in the perpetual droning of the planes. I marvelled at the moving beacons on the runway and watched, until it grew completely dark, the flashing red and green lights that rose and set in the sky like shooting stars. The airport was my Mecca, my Jerusalem. All night I dreamed of flying. ”
There is irony in the paragraph when she describes her dreams, “My flying dreams were as believable as a landscape by Dali, so real that I would awake with a sudden shock, a breathless sense of having tumbled like Icarus from the sky and caught myself on the soft bed just in time. ” It is ironic because the series of events in this story cause her to feel like her dreams have come crashing down, also the fact that she was dreaming about flying shows that she was trying to break away from reality by imagining she was in a place where she didn’t have any worries, where she was free.