In the passage by Joyce Carol Oates

In the passage by Joyce Carol Oates, We Were the Mulvaneys, there are many different types of literary techniques that were used in order to make the passage seem either more formal, informal, eloquent, or rhyme through alliteration or parallelism. This particular passage contains many of those techniques which help characterize, Judd Mulvaney.
Imagery is used throughout the entire passage in order to make Judd Mulvaney more “character-like”. In lines 4-6, it says, “Sky the color of lead and the light mostly drained so I couldn’t see my face only the dark shape of a head that could be anybody’s head.” The details in that particular sentence provides emphasis on what the character somewhat looks like. It adds a tone which can be described as melancholy. There are many other example of imagery in the passage which help describe the scenery, but not so much to characterize Judd.
Another thing that can be used to see how the character is, is to look at the point of view of the story. In this particular passage, it is in the first person perspective. First person point of view allows the reader to experience what the main character is experiencing and also understand what the main character is thinking and how the character feels. The first person point of view helps the reader figure out that Judd could be considered to be an insecure person. In lines 33 and 34, it says, “. . . raging hurt Am I going to die? because I did not believe that Judd Mulvaney could die.” This shows how Judd feels about death using the first person narrative. He is scared to die and does not want to.
The use of foreshadowing and metaphors also helps the reader understand the character as well as characterize Judd Mulvaney. In lines 34 and 35 it says, “. . .on a farm living things are dying, dying, dying, all the time. . .” Which can foreshadow what the Mulvaneys are to expect. It gives a sense the Judd is a real person and faces death just like any other living thing. In lines 27 and 28, “. . . When dry yellow leaves (like on the birches) don’t fall from a tree the tree is partly dead.” That is just a metaphor for death and gives a real life example of what death is and how Judd views it.
The passage gives many examples of literary techniques that help characterize Judd Mulvaney. These literary techniques can help the reader understand the passage more clearly, but can also help give characters in the story a personality or can help describe them. Literary techniques are something that are very important for people to know how to look for them and to understand them.


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