Q: Did Hamlin Garland need to use depressing imagery to use the reader’s emotions to support his story Under the Lion’s Paw? H: In the beginning of Garland’s story he creates a sense of sadness with just his depiction of scenery. Garland tells, “All day, notwithstanding the frequent squalls of snow, the dripping, desolate clouds, and the muck of the furrows, black and tenacious as tar.” This imagery already gives the reader a sense a dread and coldness. I wonder if Garland needed to set his story up this way though. The tale goes on to tell of a family who is now homeless due to his farm being decimated by grasshoppers. This plotline is already one a sad nature, so to have Garland use dismal surroundings seems almost overkill. I don’t know much about farming but even the extent of Stephen Council plowing his field in the winter seems a bit of an exaggeration. I also feel he used imagery to accent the hardship of a struggling farmer when describing Tim Haskin’s workload of taking care of his growing farm. Garland describes the Haskins toils when he writes, “Clothing dripping with sweat, arms aching, filled with briers, fingers raw and bleeding, backs broken with the weight of heavy bundles.” I feel Garland set the reader to feel for this hardworking farmer in time for the “lying thief” to arrive in the form of Butler. I almost feel as if the author exploits the reader’s emotions for his end game of Butler trying to swindle more money from the Haskins. I would like to think that as the reader I could still feel the same for poor Tim Haskins even if Garland didn’t over load his story with forlorn and gloomy adjectives. Q: Would the story been of a different nature if it had been set during a warmer season or even not during an era of economic hardship?
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