Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Fear Part 3: Love Orange
For an exercise in symbolism, imagery, and figurative language in preparation for our English exam tomorrow, we had to read a short story ("Love Orange") by Olive Senior. I looked for a place for all of you to read it online, but everything I found was either a broken link or directed me back to my textbook. Sorry about that.
Before delving into the actual story, however, I want to talk about "author's purpose." In middle school, they told us that everything is written to either persuade, inform, or entertain. This topic came up briefly in class today while discussing theme. I think they left out the most important (and common) purpose: enjoyment.
Look for more on that sometime in the next month. There's something I'm sitting on at the moment that relates closely.
I think "Love Orange" is a beautiful, haunting piece of writing, and I'm legitimately enjoying analyzing it. (Despite that I'm procrastinating from the assignment by starting to write this post. Ha.)
Over the course of the story, a girl debates whether or not to share her "love orange" with various people (a neighbor's grandmother, another neighbor's son, her own grandmother), because she believes that everyone has only so many segments of love to hand out. Her orange is precious.
She comes close to giving it away several times, but always takes it back at the last second because in her mind's eye, it has transformed into a broken doll.
The storytelling is amazing. Our conditioned minds first see such things as the orange and the doll to be symbols, but they're not. In the mind of a child-- who doesn't have much experience with language and therefore can't completely make the transition from thoughts to pure words-- images are to be taken at face-value. It isn't a literary device. It's a brilliant piece of narration. That's the way kids think (or at least that's the way I used to think, and I've been chasing after that mindset ever since).
"Love Orange" invokes fears that all of us have faced: Do we share that most precious piece of ourselves with others? Where do we draw the line? What if our well-intentioned actions only bring harm? Is it better to love and lost than to never have loved at all?
Even while I was analyzing it, the small, scared child within me woke up, crawled out from under the bed, and looked around. That's what I love about good literature: it reveals what we know to be true of ourselves through tantalizing narrative.
I found the entire thing to be very powerful.
Have any of you read it?
Also: the elementary school's librarian (who I've known since I was 4) gave me a couple books today. One of them consists entirely of quotes from writers about writing.
I will never lack something to stick at the top of a post ever again. I have enough right there for over three years of daily blogging. I'm excited.