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Soto Essay

By | Feb. 2012
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Caroline Castro, AP Language and Composition
Gary Soto Essay- A Summer LifeFebruary 3, 2012

In the well-written autobiographical narrative A Summer Life (1990), Gary Soto delivers an original assembly of aspects from himself as a six-year-old child. Soto asserts the scary realization of wants triumphing over what is ethical and he uses many examples of imagery, repetition and a chosen vocabulary to sketch out the ignorance that is evident in a child’s mind. Soto’s purpose is to selectively illuminate feelings of morals, paranoia and imagination that play a leading role in the lives of young children in order to adequately contain the audience’s attention and allow them to apply their own emotions. Given the excessive importance to detail and exquisite symbolism with angels, Soto is writing to a very diverse audience that has some sort of religious or spiritual background or knowledge and it seems he may even be reaching to engage parents’ opinions on the matter.

In the beginning of the narrative, Soto makes an almost instant connection to angels, depicting their presence as nearly everywhere. Soto gives this repetition of angels as a tool to indicate his own take on religion while deceivingly making a child’s perspective merely a mask. He elaborates the bond with himself and angels like a child would; using such words as “flopping”. He offers only a youthful outlook on how to interpret the presence of God by using the examples of “God howling in the plumbing underneath the house…” and “I knew an apple got Eve into deep trouble…” as if he was aware of who the divine is but he isn’t completely sure on how to explain God other than as he pictures God or angles.

Soto displays a series of naïve gestures and vocabulary. He epitomizes guilt as being sweat, this showing his knowledge (at that age) of guilt. Soto also rudely nicknames a character, which is aware he has a pie, as Cross-Eyed Johnny. The frankness of the name is related to children’s open honesty...

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