Analysis of “Beneath My House”
“Beneath My House” by Louise Erdrich, is a literary essay with an expressive approach. Erdrich narrates the day she rescues a kitten from beneath her house, despite the fact that she does not even like cats. Her maternal instincts take over when she hears the kitten cry, which causes her to do whatever it takes to rescue the kitten. Then, the author analyzes the event and she expresses her emotional response. Through the use of description and narration, Erdrich allows for the audience to imagine the rescue of the kitten “beneath her house.” The overall theme is the act of being born.
The literary purpose is apparent throughout. Erdrich uses every opportunity to entertain her audience with the use of figurative language, descriptive imagery and irony. Through figurative language, Erdrich allows the audience to see what the house symbolizes: a mother. She uses personification to give the house human characteristics of “giving birth” and says the “floor cries” where she steps. Erdrich describes the kitten as a “tiny ball of fur,” and as it“scrambles” away, the “tin resounds like small thunder.” Her use of metaphors and similes help engage the senses of touch and sound.
The author uses birth imagery to unify the theme of giving birth. As she goes into the “earthern crawl space,” she says “this is no crawl space anymore,” and she can “hardly raise her shoulders” and only “move by shifting her hips up and down,” and “she has never seen a space so tight.” This graphic imagery allows the audience to imagine what it is like to be born. After she snatches the kitten from the “space in the rocks,” she says “out it came with a squeak of terror, a series of comic hisses,” this portrays a newborn baby coming out of the womb.
Erdrich’s use of irony deflects from the danger at hand, and allows the audience to see the humor in the situation. She writes if the house settles on her back, in this wild rescue for a cat, that, “Shit! I