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Violets and Strawberries in the Snow

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Introduction

Violets and Strawberries in the Snow Choose a short story in which the author makes effective use of symbolism. Show how the write made use of this technique to enhance your appreciation of the text as a whole. In the short story "Violets and Strawberries in the Snow" the author, Shena Mckay effectively uses symbolism to portray the stories main theme. Shena Mckay effectively uses symbolism to portray the idea that happiness is hard to achieve. The addition of symbolism to the story has greatly enhanced my appreciation of the text as we can clearly see the stores theme. Violets and Strawberries in the Snow is based around Douglas, an alcoholic residing in a mental hospital. During his stay he notices that the patients in the hospital are desperately unhappy. He also comes to the conclusion that he himself is unhappy with what his life has become. Before he was institutionalised he came across a woman living in a rich part of town. ...read more.

Middle

Rotten fruit is symbolic of the patients. They have been dumped in the hospital by society and left to rot away. The fact they are described as rotting fruit helps emphasize the bad condition that the patients are in. They do not have a chance. They are stuck in the hospital with no chance of recovering. A rotten piece of fruit cannot be revitalised and much is the same with the patients. 'Vinyl chairs' gives of a very tacky image and helps emphasize the vile surroundings in which they are stuck in. These two uses of symbolism effectively portray the mental hospital as being a horrible place to live but more importantly help us to notice that the patients are desperately unhappy. For the patients of the mental hospital happiness is very hard to achieve. Symbolism is also used to portray that other people, not just the patients are also unhappy with their lives. Before Douglas was taken in, he was a paper boy delivering free papers to a posh part of town. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Satsuma is symbolic of Christmas time for the children. It has been ruined by Douglas being taken into the hospital. This effectively tells us that in this particular point in time, Douglas's children are finding happiness hard to achieve. After receiving this comment Douglas says "that pulpy, sodden Satsuma was all that was left of his heart" The symbolism of the Satsuma representing Douglas's feelings effectively tells us that Douglas is very unhappy. He fully realises that he has ruined his children's Christmas and cannot forgive himself for it. He has finally succumbed to the depressing and repressing environment of the hospital and is finding happiness very hard to achieve. Overall the author has very effectively used symbolism to convey the stories main theme that happiness is hard to achieve. She manages to use symbolism to tell us that the patients, the rich in society and Douglas are all finding happiness very hard to find. The use of symbolism has greatly added to my enjoyment of the text since it allows the theme to be very clearly recognised allowing you to fully appreciate the text as a whole. Tom ilett ...read more.

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