Homework

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Topics: Meaning of life
Essay on Homework by Peter Cameron

The theme in Homework by Peter Cameron is about a boy’s struggle to find an answer to the meaning of life. The protagonist, Michael, a senior in high school was faced with a sudden lost of his dog from an unusual accident. He cut a week of school to deal with the situation. Michael discovered that life is uncaring, sad, and meaningless while searching for his answer.

The author set the dark mood right away with a gruesome description of his dog’s injury. He also chose a snowy backdrop, to show the cold reality of the real world. The day also was “prematurely dark.” The author used a situational irony when Michael “fell from his bike in the snowy road.” Perhaps the pain felt more real as Michael thought, “it felt warm.” The tone was flat, accentuated with the author’s use of plain characters’ dialogues. It emphasized the mundane nature of people’s life.

The author used various situations to symbolize Michael’s uncaring family. His family’s non reaction to him missing a week of school, his father’s feeble attempt to find out his feelings, and his mother not caring whether he have his dinner showed how little love there is in his family.

To show how sad life is while speaking to Mrs. Dietrich, Michael just had to “picture her eating a banana in her tiny office.” Michael also felt unhappy when he thought of Mrs. Dietrich “learning to write beautifully as a child and then growing up to be a guidance counselor.”

To show what a meaningless world we lived in, the author used the imagery Photo-Matica booth in the middle of an A&P parking lot near midnight. If that image does not display the emptiness, the “fake” 50 pictures the photo machine showed enforce it. Also, the repeating pattern of the pictures, “graduation, graduation, birthday, mountains, baby, baby, new car, and bride…” showed how predictable life is. Her sister also mentioned that, “everyone in town is taking the same pictures.” Even Mrs.

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