Theme in a story or a narrative is the main idea carried in the events unfolding. According to chapter seven a theme gives the one an idea of what the story is about. In the story “I used to live here once” the main idea that could give what the story is about is the idea of change. The author points out at the process of change, the difficulties and tribulations that process is associated with. Rhys has indistinctly discussed the theme of change while giving very vivid occurrence of the transition. He uses the girl persona in explaining the changes that happened to her life. From the short stories title she recalls nostalgically how she used to live in the given environment a while ago. This theme points out the changes and odds one has to face before the end of a lifetime.
In this chapter Rhys tries to bring out the difficulties one has to face to see one successful. He uses symbols significantly well to portray what one has to face. For instance he uses stones and the river symbolically to show how challenging the going is but uses the girl to show that these challenges can be subdued only if one has determination and will to fight on. He uses a symbol of a journey to represent one’s life and the extent at which it faces challenges. The girl is made to pass difficult times from crossing the river to passing through the dusty and long roads an indication of the roughness and toughness of the journey. The point at which she was looking at the stones and remembering each one of them alludes to the problems she had faced and the changes that had occurred to her life. The author describe at the changes one has to undergo in their lifetime pointing out determination as a key thing in overcoming the changes and tribulations.
According to Potter, for a theme to be well delivered an author need to use varied and effective means of delivery. This Potter points out the use of literary elements or styles used in delivering the story carrying the theme along. The author in this short story use a number of elements in his delivery of the story and the theme. He uses personification which is a style used by the writers to give nonhuman objects human qualities and attributes. “It was strange to see a car standing in front” the car has been given a human characteristic of standing. This style is used to make the story more interesting and striking while deliver certain aspects like mood as explained by Dressel in his work. It makes events more dramatic and alive to the readers of the story.
Literary elements like discussed earlier make it possible for an author to deliver a plot with a theme which significantly contribute to the whole narrative. Without these elements literary works would be hard to deliver and make the works interesting and maintain the richness of ideas. Conclusively it is clear that these writing styles help authors to do their work and produce works that appeal to their readers while keeping the work full of literary ideas.
Fallon, E. (2001). A reader's companion to the short story in English. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.
Rhys, J. (1976). I used to live here once. Sleep it off, lady. London: Penguin Books.