Four Stations in His Circle

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In the story “Four Stations in His Circle”, Austin Clarke reveals the negative influences that immigration can have on people through characterization of the main character, symbols such as the house that Jefferson dreams to buy and the time and place where the story takes place. The author demonstrates how immigration can transform someone to the point that they abandon their old culture, family and friends and remain only with their loneliness and selfishness.

The first literary device that the author uses to express the theme is the characterization of Jefferson. As we can notice right from the beginning of the story, Jefferson is characterized as “immigration transformed”. (27) This suggests that he was different before, and he changed after having immigrated to Canada. It is not clear yet if this transformation is good or bad, but it already confirms that Jefferson’s behavior has been influenced by immigration. Later on, after receiving the letter from his mother, “Jeff”(29), as she used to call him, proves that his greediness led him to forget where he began from. Jefferson wants to buy a house so much that he lets his mother die, by not sending her money for an operation. But the house was not necessarily the only reason for his selfishness. He does not only want a simple house. He wants a huge house in a rich neighborhood. He wants to look like and live like rich people. Jefferson used to say: “Five years! Five years I come to this country, with one pair o’shoes!”(27) These words prove that he wants to demonstrate that he can start from nothing and in just five years, live like rich people and feel like a “true” Canadian.

A second literary device that the author uses to express the theme is symbolism. The most obvious symbol in the story is the house that Jefferson dreams to buy. Right from the first paragraph he says: “I must own a price o’ Canada!”(27) This suggests that he wants to buy a property for himself. As the story goes on, we notice that...
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