It is a story that focuses on one main theme, the theme of death, transmission and alienation. The author has used various aspect of style to clearly communicate this theme. In this essay, we shall concentrate on how the author used the plot of the story and the style of symbolism to communicate his message.
The story begins with an un-named protagonist stepping over stones as she crosses a river, then walking along a familiar road to an old house that she once resided it. Upon finding the house she takes notice of two children under a mango tree.
After several failed attempts to speak with them the story ends with her coming to a realization of her spiritual existence.
This short story can be considered an allegory, as it has both literal and figurative elements that contribute to the understanding of the theme Encyclopedia Britannica, Though it is not directly specified, the tone, setting and symbolism in this story infer that the protagonist is deceased, and therefore presents the theme of the story as the journey into spirituality and the loneliness and separation of such a condition.
The short story is narrated in a third-person limited omniscient perspective. The only feelings that are expressed are those of the protagonists and are dictated from the perspective of an onlooker rather than from the character herself.
This perspective even gives a sense of a slight distance that the character has from herself. This can be deduced by the fact that it is not told from a first-person perspective, which would provide the same effect when conveying a separation from others, but from the third-person implying an even further separation from the character.
In this way, the point of view supports the theme of loneliness in life after death, whereby the spirit and physical body forever detach.
There is plenty of supporting symbolism in this story, which begins from the very first paragraph when she crosses the stepping stones of the river, recalling their individual differences. Not one word is wasted in expressing so much background information to the reader, while also hinting at the theme of life after death.
The descriptions of the stones being different, some safe and some unsteady, are symbolic of the different stages in her life: These points are much like the journey from childhood through adulthood, beginning unsteadily and with uncertainty before coming to a flat point where late adulthood and a time of ease is most commonly assumed.
Finally, the description that is given to the treacherous rock with river water flowing over it is symbolic of the final point in life, where by either old age or accident, the body fails and succumbs to death.
This is the point of spiritual transition to spirituality. This implies that she has passed on. The stones that she has crossed serves as a symbolic reflection on her life, but also expressed in a literal sense as stones that she recalls from a place she once lived.
This literal description is what the reader takes notice of first as it is not until the end of the story that the protagonist, and therefore reader, are made aware of her death.
Upon walking further the woman takes notice of many physical changes to the environment. The road is wider than she recalls and is said to be uncared for, implying the change in time and an overall feeling of being forgotten. Yet despite the condition of the road and the vegetation, she is described as feeling happy.
Glass implies fragility and reflection, which perhaps compliments the theme by of loneliness by hinting at the idea of the bittersweet nature of memories. The tone is both nostalgic and ironic in that the romantic sentiment that is attached with the feeling of a familiar place is confused with an acknowledgement of the physical characteristics having been changed.
Such irony is seen also at the end of the story. The constant movement the protagonist makes as she journeys over the river, down the road, and to the house comes to a stop when she comes upon two children under a tree.
In a short story, every image has an important use to the story. There is symbolic purpose behind the children and the mention of the mango tree. Both are a reference to youth and childhood. Fruit is typically representative of youth, new life, or fertility.
In this case, with the presence of the children, is meant as an expression of her childhood. She makes three failed attempts to communicate with the children, which are wrought with symbolism. Her inability to be seen or heard finally confirm that she is deceased and in a spiritual realm, while also remarking on the loneliness of her condition as she tries not once, but three times to get their attention.
Additionally, her loneliness is confirmed in her approach to the children: In this line, the tone seems to shift into a burst of sentiment as we can see that she has an incredible urge to connect with others.
Being denied the contact she seeks and the final understanding of her condition is ironic as one would not expect such a pleasant journey through fair memories to arrive at such a solemn awareness.
This directly relates the theme of the journey into spirituality and the loneliness that results. The theme in any story is focuses on a broad lesson or understanding of life based on ancient or cultural myths. They speak of what we know, or hope to know, of our existence.
In short, the theme tells us what the story is about Clugston, While we all can relate to feeling nostalgic about places we have made memories in, the elements in this story imply a much more philosophical outlook on the journey she makes.
Her transition from life to death, the loneliness that derives from such an exile, and the difficult acceptance of her spirituality are thematic in this short story.Postmodernism is a broad movement that developed in the mid- to lateth century across philosophy, the arts, architecture, and criticism and that marked a departure from modernism.
The term has also more generally been applied to the historical era following modernity and the tendencies of this era.
(In this context, "modern" is not used in the sense of "contemporary", but merely as a name. In the story I Used to Live Here Once, the author uses her descriptives of recalling how the water flowed, and the roads being wider but carelessly taken care of as her way of reaching back to when she was alive.
She describes the day as being “a fine day, a blue day” (Clugston, ). “I Used to Live Here Once” by Jean Rhys, we. Turnitin provides instructors with the tools to prevent plagiarism, engage students in the writing process, and provide personalized feedback.
Jean Rhys’ “I Used to Live Here Once” is a very well written and thought through short story. Rhy is very descriptive about all of the surroundings in the story. She makes sure to leave out no details regardless if the reader realizes it or not. Film Reviews from The Irish Times, the Definitive Brand of Quality News in Ireland.
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