Before the Firing Squad Essay

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“Before the Firing Squad” John Chioles, a professor of comparative literature, using many literary devices in his works. In Before the Firing Squad, Chioles becomes a master imagery. This literary technique involves the author using metaphors, allusions, descriptive words, and similes to create vivid images in the readers minds. Not only does this make a story more interesting and pleasant to read, it creates a sense that the reader is viewing, not reading, what is occurring. John Chioles uses imagery to represent the stark contrast between the German Ludwigs and Fritzs in Before the Firing Squad. The first instance of imagery utilized by Chioles occurs when he writes, “my knees turned to jelly, my pulse quickened” after he hears…show more content…
He is always sure to attribute positive imagery to the good Germans and negative imagery to the bad Germans. This theme is carried on when the protagonist of the story has to run the mountains to avoid the bad Germans. He talks about how he will pick chamomile buds and wild tea leaves and how happy he will be when he gets to wear trousers (p. 545). However, when the Germans come into sight, he describes them as “ants in the distance” (p.545). While this is a small statement, the imagery present reveals a lot. Naturally, ants are a very destructive force capable of destroying anything and everything they want. Chioles uses this comparison to represent how powerful the German forces are and what they are capable of. He continues to write that the envoy “took on the color of running oil in the absence of the sun” (p. 545). When the Germans start to attack, Chioles expertly sets up the situation to represent how their forces are destroying a peaceful town. Right before machine gun bullets start flying in his direction, he describes the serenity of nature and how vast the forest was. The protagonist accidentally slips down the hill and severely injures his knee. He describes it as “a whole patch of skin from [his] knee hanging upside down” (p. 545). This vivid imagery of a flesh wound is used to compliment how Fritz, a friendly german, responds to the situation. Upon seeing what had happened, he brings over a
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