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Imagery in Johnny Got His Gun and Cry, the Beloved Country

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Introduction

Imagery in Johnny Got His Gun and Cry, the Beloved Country We all have wished to change something in our lives. Everything would be perfect if we could control what happens in the world. However, we know that life offers us no choice but to accept changes that occur in life. Therefore, we grieve at piteous downfalls but rejoice great transformations. Trumbo and Paton efficiently depict changes that their main characters encounter in life. Trumbo and Paton use imagery to show positive and negative changes throughout the lives of their main characters. Trumbo uses imagery to portray Joe's pleasant past life. For example, Joe feels loved when he pictures "the sled" that was "his Christmas present" and his mother who is "laughing like a girl" and his dad who is "grinning in his slow wrinkly way" (11). The sled symbolizes familial love not only because it is given to Joe from his parents but also because the sled allows the family to spend loving time as a whole, making memories. Joe further remembers the time he spent with his family when he thinks about his mother's rolls that were "steaming hot" and "melted" when "you put butter inside them" (16). Trumbo highlights not only Joe's ability to smell and taste but also Joe's emotional pleasure associated with sharing his favorite foods with the people he loves. ...read more.

Middle

holly with red berries nestling like hot coals against them" in his mind, contrasting his past days of Christmas where he is physically able to celebrate (200). Trumbo uses a simile to portray the fresh memories of Christmas in Joe's mind that are now Joe's only keepsakes for internally celebrating the holiday. Finally, Joe falls into despair when "he could almost hear the wail of pain that went up from his heart" after his hopes are rejected by the doctors (235). Trumbo uses personification of a heart that wails to contrast the feeling of acceptance Joe felt in Shale City to the sense of betrayal Joe now feels from the doctors and society. Although Joe has put forth his whole heart and effort into his tapping, society has rejected him. Through imagery, Trumbo allows us to see the changes in Joe's present lifestyle from that of the past. Similarly, Paton uses imagery to portray transformations in the characters that Stephen Kumalo loves. For example, when Stephen meets Gertrude in Johannesburg, he notices that "the voice that was once so sweet has a new quality in it, the quality of the laughter that he heard in the house" because Gertrude has transformed into a new being (60). The laughter Stephen refers to is shameful, so he relates the laugh to Gertrude because she is no longer an innocent and respectful being. ...read more.

Conclusion

Furthermore, after Jarvis comes to Ndotsheni, the town starts to make progress: the men no longer plough "up and down" but "throw up walls of earth, and plough round the hills, so that the fields look no longer as they used to look in the old days of ploughing" (299). Jarvis' young demonstrator teaches the men of Ndotsheni ways to preserve the earth and rebuild the town; Jarvis brings a positive change to Ndotsheni. In addition, Stephen shows his emotional change towards Jarvis, taking a cypress branch and making it "into a ring, and tied it so it could not spring apart" and "put the flowers of the weld, such as grew in the bareness of the valley" (298). This wreath symbolizes Stephen's gratitude towards Jarvis; Stephen's guilt and pride no longer prevent him from accepting Jarvis' warm offerings of help. Through imagery, Paton portrays changing aspects in Ndotsheni and Johannesburg. Through imagery, Trumbo and Paton successfully express the physical and emotional changes throughout Joe and Stephen Kumalo's life. However, Trumbo is more efficient than Paton because his imagery contains more vibrant descriptions to help the reader feel the gravity of Joe's changes. Trumbo gives the reader a more vibrant picture of Joe's life through the use of powerful similes and personification. Trumbo's imagery of the changes in Joe's life reminds us of our weakness to control our own lives. Word Count: 1382 ...read more.

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