Critical Lens Essay

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Winnie Chow 9/14/11
Critical Lens Essay

L.M. Montgomery once said, "... we pay a price for everything we get or take in this world..." In other words, there are consequences that we receive for everything we take in this society. This quote is especially true and best exemplified by two works of literature, "Forgive My Guilt" by Robert P. Tristram Coffin and "After Twenty Years" by O. Henry. The use of literary elements such as metaphor and irony further illustrate the validity of the quote.

The plot of "Forgive My Guilt" deals with a man who takes the lives of two birds. The man shoots the two birds and for days, he hears the cries of the birds. He feels guilty for the rest of his life. This work relates to the critical lens because the man payed a price for something he took. In this case, the man took the lives of two birds and in return, his price for that was to suffer through regret and sorrow. The author makes use of metaphor to illustrate the critical lens. For example, "Those slender flutes of sorrow never cease." In addition, the author also uses simile. For example, "They cried like two sorrowful high flutes." This shows that the person is living with guilt because he keeps hearing the cries of the birds. He took the lives of the birds and his punishment was to live with regret.

The plot of "After Twenty Years" deals with a man named Bob that plans to reunite with his friend, Jimmy. In the end, Bob gets arrested and loses his friend. This work relates to the critical lens because Bob payed the consequences for the things he has done. In this situation, Bob was a wanted man in Chicago. As a result, Bob was arrested and turned in by his friend. The author makes use of irony to illustrate the critical lens. For example, "Bob: I was at the appointed place on time. When you struck the match to light your cigar I saw it was the face of the man wanted in Chicago. Somehow I couldn't do it myself, so I went around and got a plain clothes man...
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