Formalist: Protagonist and Character Vs

Topics: Protagonist, Antagonist, Fiction Pages: 5 (1205 words) Published: April 6, 2011
A Formalist Interpretation of Windows by Bernice Morgan
* Character vs. Character (Leah vs. Ruth) – she feels unwanted by Ruth; unwelcome in her home. She has little respect for Ruth’s lifestyle which is filled with second-hand drama, meaningless shopping – little overall purpose. * Character vs. Self (Leah = old and tired, misses Estonia, misses husband)  Protagonist - Leah

* Changes throughout story
* At the story’s start, she feels at peace, even grateful for the notion of death * When the window breaks at climax, she becomes motivated, has a renewed sense of hope and vigor for life * She is a definitely dynamic character

 Antagonist – Ruth
* Makes little effort to interact with Leah
* Doesn’t enjoy her mother-in-law living with her
* A possible intrusion of privacy
 Perspective – 3rd person limited – we know and understand Leah’s thoughts very clearly, but the only insight into Ruth’s thoughts are through Leah’s interpretation of Ruth’s actions.   Plot Structure:

* Exposition – we are introduced to Leah. Her thoughts are revealed which illustrate the mind of a woman well on in her years, who has accepted (and is welcome to) the concept of death, and as such is reminiscing on her life – the death of her husband, her wrong-doings (her lying throughout her daily life) * Rising action – She enters the kitchen with Ruth, Ruth leaves to run errands, she settles down and reminisces of her years in Estonia and her yearnings to see the parts of Canada which have trees, fields, rolling hills, and rivers (like Estonia) * Climax – Breaking of the kitchen window

* Falling action – She commissions the new window which will resemble the one from her childhood in Estonia, she shows interest in the new park being planted next to her house * Conclusion – Leah has a renewed vigor for life – interested in eating sausages, living life to the fullest – planting a garden with her grandchildren in the new park being built next to her house, going to visit her friend Mrs. Palaskine  Setting:

* Leah resides in Canada
* She is originally from Estonia
* Window – portal to youth/living life/life in Estonia/better times  Subjects:
* Old-age
* Depression
* Inner-family conflict
* Homesickness
* Lack of motivation
* Any of the aforementioned subjects can be expressed in terms of theme

Formalist Summary – The Rocking-Horse Winner
Character vs. Character (between the mother and her children as she finds her heart hardened towards them; she feels incapable of loving them)  Character vs. Self (the mother struggles to reconcile her lack of emotion towards her family with herself – an internal struggle she is constantly trying to mask)  Setting

England – significant as it justifies the main activity present in the story – betting on horse races – which is a widely accepted sport in Britain  Theme
There are various subjects at work in the piece such as death, luck, success, and personal growth. Any of these subjects can be expressed in terms of theme  Protagonist
The main character (Paul) – the boy who is able to predict or “feel” who the winner in upcoming races. The protagonist is the “hero” of the story who is dynamic in nature – they change from the beginning of the story to the end. Paul changes throughout the novel as he becomes more and more obsessed with the notion of satiating “the house’s” (his mother’s) greed. He continues taking risks in terms of riding the rocking horse to discover the race’s outcomes, and knowingly takes the “last ride” for the sake of his mother.  Antagonist

There are many possibilities which could be argued; his mother who’s greed spurs his actions, his Uncle Oscar who encourages his betting/gambling in the horse races, or even his “business” partner Bassett, who also encourages his ultimately fatal actions.  Plot structure

Introduction – we are introduced to the mother and learn of...
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