Characterization Through Deviation of Plot: the Evolution of the Main Characters in "Girl" and "Lust"

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  • Topic: Character, Narrative, Fiction
  • Pages : 3 (774 words )
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  • Published : November 30, 2005
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Plot is an element of fiction that if narrated well, can shape a character and intrigue a reader. Susan Minot and Jamaica Kincaid demonstrate in their respective short stories, "Lust" and "Girl" that this component is not necessarily required in order to create a character. Moreover, in these two cases the creation of the main character is stronger through the abstinence of this feature. Through explication of the text, we can see how the overpowering strength of the characters makes up for the lack of plot.

Plot, according to Ann Charters in "The Story and its writer", is "the series of events in a narrative that form the action, in which a character or characters face an internal or external conflict that propels the story to a climax and an ultimate resolution" (1786). "Girl" and "Lust" both demonstrate how a story can deviate from this conventional definition of plot and still produce powerful and dynamic characters.

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Kincaid composes her story as a series of directions given from a mother to her daughter and chooses to join these directions with semi-colons instead of periods, even when one idea does not join directly to the next. This deviates from the definition of plot in the sense that the organization of phrases does not provide a direct link between ideas. For example, "this is how to make ends meet; always squeeze bread to make sure it's fresh" (840), are two separate sentences that in a typical story would not be acceptable to link together.

Another interesting thought about the style of writing is that the girl only interrupts her mother twice within the story. The first instance is when the mother scolds her, "don't sing benna in Sunday school" (839) to which the girl interjects, "but I don't sing benna on Sunday's at all and never in Sunday school" (839). The second conflict starts with the mother to which her daughter interrupts in italics:

Always squeeze bread to make sure it's fresh; but what if the baker won't...
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