Birthday Party

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The purpose of this short story is to make the reader feel indignant and angry with the husband and compassion and sympathy for the wife. Brush uses diction and imagery to invoke these emotions in the reader.

The author's diction is significant in the short story in achieving the author's purpose for the work. Brush uses adjectives such as "shy" and "little" and verbs like "beamed" and "crying" to describe the woman. The reader is immediately drawn to the wife's meekness and modesty. She is seen as an innocent mouse who only wishes to please. Adverbs such as "quietly," "heartbrokenly" and "hopelessly" make the reader experience compassion and empathy for the wife's broken spirit. The reader is outraged that someone could treat this gentle and kind creature so heartlessly. Adjectives such as "indignant," "quick," "unkind," "curt" and "punishing" evoke opposite emotions for the husband. The reader feels contempt for the man and scorns his treatment of the wife. The verb "embarrassed" and the adverb "hotly" portray the husband's indecent reaction to his wife's attempts to please him.

The woman is described as being "fadingly pretty." This gives her a noble and righteous appeal. She is pretty, but moderately pretty, not overdone or arrogant. The husband, however, has a "round, self-satisfied face." He is haughty and overconfident. The reader recognizes his self-centeredness and demeans him for it. The reader is told that the woman provides a "small but glossy birthday cake" for her husband's "Occasion." There is "one pink candle" in the center of the cake. The cake's appearance parallels with that of the wife's. Both are small and modest yet in their own way appealing. The wife has supplied a "little surprise" for the one she loves and she is very proud of it. The others dining at the restaurant react with a "pattering of applause" to support the woman and encourage her. The reader echoes this applause in his own mind in order to also help the woman. However,...
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