A Summer Life Rhetoric Analysis

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Jennie Le
AP English
29 August 2010
A Summer Life rhetoric analysis

In his autobiographical narrative A Summer Life, Gary Soto vividly recreates the guilt felt by a six- year-old boy who steals an apple pie. Through Soto’s reminiscent he has taken us on a journey of his guilt, paranoia, and redemption through the usage of tone, allusions, and imagery. Since Soto knows stealing the pie is a sin his guilt is amplified when he ignores his knowledge. Soto’s guilt is emphasized through the tone of the story, “my sweet tooth gleaming and the juice of my guilt wetting my underarms… I nearly wept trying to decide which to steal.” By Soto’s tone towards the pies over exaggerating on which one to steal shows that he is nervous and anxious. This reveals that Soto knew what he was doing however he was feeling bored so he disregarded his prior knowledge. Another example of how Soto feels guilty is when he was trying to rationalize what he has just done. After stealing the apple pie Soto says to himself, “No one saw”. By saying, “No one saw” Soto reveals the guilt that he is feeling but tries to defend what he just did by rationalizing his actions. It also shows that he is denying and that he is really feeling panic and anxiousness. Soto feeling guilty eventually made him feel paranoia. His paranoia is apparent with the religious allusion, “A squirrel nailed itself high on the trunk”. By using this religious allusion illustrates that his guilt has developed into paranoia when the squirrel is being nailed somewhat exactly how Jesus got nailed onto the cross. This reveals that his anxiousness and panic have turned into fear. Another example that shows Soto’s guilt is the allusion of Adam and Eve. By referring to Adam and Eve, Soto reminisces on what Sister Marie showed him in the video when Adam and Eve were casted into the desert, “I knew an apple got Eve in trouble with the snakes because Sister Marie had shown us a film about Adam and Eve being cast into the desert,...
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