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Theme Of Violence In American Literature

Decent Essays
Acts of Violence in American Literature literature than in Violence is very different in real life. When one thinks of violence in real life, one most likely thinks of arguments, fights and riots. In literature, it is not all physical; it can also be mental. Violence plays a deeper role in literature than it does in the real world. This essay will analyze how violence is incorporated into works of American literature.
A Fragment from How to Read Literature Like a Professor explains, “Violence...can be symbolic” (95). Foster explains that violence in literature may be literal while also symbolizing something else. In The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Douglass explains the gruesome act of his aunt
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Foster elucidates that violence in literature between two characters are linked in a more confidential way. Foster writes: “Violence is one of the most personal and even intimate acts between human beings, but it can also be cultural and societal in its implications” (95). The short story begins with the daughter of the narrator asking if he had ever killed anyone. he then answers no to the nine year old because of his guilt. The narrator can't fathom the thought of telling his little girl that he has taken the life of another. Although this short story takes place at a war sight, between two enemies that have nothing in common, the two characters are connected. The narrator did not intend to kill his victim, yet the man is dead. “There were no thoughts about killing” (Ambush 812). The narrator lived the remainder of his life uncomfortably knowing that he took another man's life. Unfortunately, the narrator relives this action quite frequently, knowing every detail. According to Foster, this was O’Brien’s plan-”writers kill off characters for the same set of reasons-...put other characters under stress”(97). Of him knowing that he did kill someone, yet lied about it only shows what kind of character he is. He spares the disappointment of his daughter if her were to explain to her the…show more content…
Violence appears everywhere in our everyday lives and in literature, but there is a distinct difference between the two. Foster analyzes many different ways violence can occur, but the range of possibilities are larger than one can explain. Although, one can infer there is sometimes a hidden meaning within violence, it may exemplify something completely hidden within a story. Foster writes, “Authors rarely introduce violence straightforwardly, to perform only it's one appointed task…” (103). This is why violence should be viewed as whole and the question is to be asked, “what is really going on here?” Violence is nothing more than a link between two characters who are somehow connected. Without violence in literary works, reading would be quite
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