"The Richer, The Poorer"
What is a short story? Ð²Ð‚ÑšA short story is a work of fiction that develops a single ideaÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (Dowling Central, n.d.). Dorothy West, an author of many short stories, has entertained and taught many lessons throughout her writings. This paper will discuss WestÐ²Ð‚â„¢s short story, Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe Richer, The Poorer.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ In addition, this paper will examine the entertainment value of this story as it relates to the lesson it teaches to the reader by discussing the literary elements found in Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe Richer, The Poorer.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ
The first element that this paper will discuss is the plot. Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe plot shows how a conflict, or struggle, develops and is settledÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (Dowling Central, n.d.). In Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe Richer, The Poorer,Ð²Ð‚Ñœ the conflicts are internal and external. For example, the exposition of this short story explains the lifestyles and desires of the characters. Bess is the type of person that Ð²Ð‚Ñšlived each day as if there were no otherÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (LaRocco & Coughlin, 1996, 106). She did not see the urgency in the lifestyle that Lottie wanted her to live. On the other hand, Lottie pushed experience aside because she did not want to live her life Ð²Ð‚Ñšskimping and scrapingÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (LaRocco & Coughlin, 106). Many events happened in Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe Richer, The PoorerÐ²Ð‚Ñœ that shows the human against environment conflict. For example, LottieÐ²Ð‚â„¢s work environment changed. Her bossÐ²Ð‚â„¢s son took over the company and saw no need in keeping her on the job; therefore, Lottie retired at the age of sixty. She sought new employment but was unsuccessful. The work environment evolved into new technology. Lottie, unqualified, could not compete with the younger, more capable applicants. At this point, the plot climaxed. Lottie did not know what to do with her life. She faced another conflict, human against herself. After offering Bess a place to live, Lottie had to renovate a spare bedroom. This means that she would have to spend her hard earned money. Once she completed the renovation, she was pleased with the results and wanted to renovate the rest of the house. As a result, the character reached a resolution. She realized that she missed experiences in life. She no longer wanted to live that lifestyle and realized that BessÐ²Ð‚â„¢s lifestyle was not sorry after all.
Another literary element is character. West uses a direct presentation to describe the characters of Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe Richer, The Poorer.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ Direct presentation is the author telling the reader by exposition the features of the characters. For example, Ð²Ð‚ÑšLottie had a bank account that had never grown leanÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (LaRocco & Coughlin, 1996, 106). This excerpt explains that Lottie was determined to save her money. On the other hand, Ð²Ð‚ÑšBess had the clothes on her back, and the rest of her worldly possessions in a battered suitcaseÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (LaRocco & Coughlin, 106). This statement explains the difference between Lottie and Bess. Bess did not worry about her future wealth. She was concerned with the present. West also showed the character types of Lottie and Bess. Lottie was dynamic character. Her way of life changed at the end of the story. Ð²Ð‚ÑšI know IÐ²Ð‚â„¢m too old to kick up my heels, but IÐ²Ð‚â„¢m going to let you show me howÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (LaRocco & Coughlin, 1996, 110). However, Bess remained the same throughout the story. As a result, West characterized Bess as a static character, one that remains the same.
Theme is also a literary element in Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe Richer, The Poorer.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ The theme is Ð²Ð‚Ñšits central insight, concept, or controlling ideaÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (Jackson Dade Schools, n.d.). The thematic message of this story is the richness of experience. Money is not the meaning of wealth. It is not the meaning of life either.
Point of View, a literary element, Ð²Ð‚Ñšrefers to the way a story is told, the perspective or angle of vision or position from which the events are narrated for the readerÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (Jackson Dade Schools, n.d.). The narrator chose to tell this story using the third person point of view and uses the pronouns she and her to talk about the characters. For example, Ð²Ð‚ÑšShe would let Bess have her room, but the mattress was so lumpy, the carpet so worn, the curtains so threadbare that LottieÐ²Ð‚â„¢s conscience pricked herÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (LaRocco & Coughlin, 1996, 108).
Style is another literary element found in Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe Richer, The Poorer.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ Sentence structure, diction, and tone are types of style. Ð²Ð‚ÑšSentence structure refers to the general pattern of sentence forms used by a writerÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (Jackson Dade Schools, n.d.). In this story, West uses complicated sentences structures. She also used figurative language for imagery. For example, Ð²Ð‚ÑšThey were often in rags and never in richesÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (LaRocco & Coughlin, 1996, 107). The writer uses this metaphor to explain the marriage of Bess. Another example is Lottie, trapped by the blood tie, knew she not only have to send for her sister, but take her in when she returnedÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (LaRocco & Coughlin, 108). This statement explained the relationship between Lottie and Bess. The second type of style, diction, Ð²Ð‚Ñšrefers to the writerÐ²Ð‚â„¢s choice of wordsÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (Jackson Dade Schools). West uses an informal style of writing by using contractions, such as, itÐ²Ð‚â„¢s, IÐ²Ð‚â„¢ll, and thatÐ²Ð‚â„¢s. The third style, tone, Ð²Ð‚Ñšrefers to the emotional feel a work has for the readerÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (Jackson Dade Schools). In this story, the tone is irony. Although Lottie thought that her sister was not living a prosperous life, she later learned that she was wrong.
In conclusion, this paper has discussed the literary elements of the short story, Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe Richer, The Poorer.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ In addition, this paper has also discussed the literary values of this story by analyzing the plot, characters, theme, point of view, and style elements.
Dowling Central (n.d.). Mrs. Dowling's Short Stories. Retrieved July 20, 2006, from http://dowlingcentral.com/MrsD/area/literature/ShortStories/ss.html
Jackson Dade Schools (n.d.). Lecture on Literary Analysis. Retrieved July 20, 2006, from http://jackson.dadeschools.net/teachers/borchers/lecture_on_plot.htm
LaRocco, C., & Coughlin, J. (1996). The Art of Work An Anthology of Workplace Literature. Cincinnati, Ohio: South-Western Educational Publishing.