Dr. Jessica Jesse
September 24, 2017
Good Lusty People
Literary elements all support one another in the building of a piece of writing. Establishing descriptions of characters in a story and writing them well can be crucial to understanding other thematic elements in the story, and make it easier for the reader to find deeper meanings within a piece of literature. This is also known as characterization. Susan Minot and Flannery O’Connor introduce their characters in two different styles, but they both build their stories around the theme of “lust.”
Point of view is said to be “[what] refers to who tells us the story and how it’s told” (Meyer 195). Depending on how the piece is told may affect how one empathizes with the protagonist. In O’Connor’s piece “Good Country People,” the story is narrated in a third person omniscient style. The story allows you to get immersed from the viewpoint of Mrs. Hopewell’s and Hulga’s eyes mostly. Hulga in this short story is the protagonist and Mrs. Hopewell is her character foil. The point of view in a story is important when reading a literary piece because it can affect how the reader can connect to the characters in a story, and how they empathize with said characters. Meanwhile, Minot’s piece “Lust”, is told from a first person point of view and told from the protagonist who remains unnamed. Having the protagonist in “Lust” remain unnamed is a unique approach to characterization because this extends anonymity to the reader and allows the reader to imagine a character through their own creativity that they can relate too on a closer level. There is significance in Minot leaving the protagonist unnamed because every other male character in the story goes on to be named directly. When compared to the anonymity of the main character the story made me feel, as a reader, able to connect with the protagonist and feel immersed in the setting.
The setting is also an important part that helps build upon characterization. “Setting is the context in which the action of a story occurs” (Meyer 159). The settings in each piece are entirely different from one another. O’Connor has his piece set in one location, while Minot has her protagonist bounce from the various settings within her flashbacks. In O’Connor’s piece, the story takes place in presumably the 1950’s because Mrs. Freeman claims “she said [her husband] owned a ’55 Mercury” (O’Connor 123). This quote allows the reader to presume that the setting takes place in the 1950’s era as the car was considered new. The time period in a story is important because it can help the reader infer about the social constructs the character believes in. By contrast, Minot never specifies the time period her story takes place in; however it was written in 1984, and it would make sense if her story took place during this time era, due to the casual use of alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes and engagement of sex in such young characters within the...