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A bird in the house Short story one

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Erik de Vries

on 5 April 2013

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Transcript of A bird in the house Short story one

Significance of the title: -The significance of the title ‘The sound of singing’ is the absence of substance of sound, it can’t be physically obtained. -Singing embodies the joys and energy of living.
-The title references that even though the enjoyment of life can be heard, the characters
cannot obtain it.
-The singing referenced in the
title is symbolized in the story
as Uncle Dan. Setting: -This story takes place in a fictional town called “Manawaka” in Manitoba (not so fictional), Canada in the 1930’s.
-The Great Depression is a significant part of the story due to hardships and financial issues within the family in the novel.
-The Brick house, in which this story takes place, is
very structured and organized; emitting an
atmosphere of ‘order’. The house is practical and
put together, with ‘protective’ spruce trees lining
the yard.
-The mood would involve a lot of nerve wracking
tension due to the clashing personalities that reside in the Brick House. Point of view: -The story takes place through the narrator’s eyes.
-This little girl named Vanessa tells the story in flashbacks to significant childhood events. As the first line implies, they are events forever engraved in her memory and affect her personality. Edna Connor:
•Dislikes Timothy
•Dates a lot of men
•Unwilling to marry to simply escape the Brick house.
•Flat/ Static Character

Beth MacLeod:
•Works Hard
•Flat/Static Character

Ewen MacLeod:
•Physician Agnes Connor:
•Religious/ upright
•Mitigated Baptist
•Gentle, cannot be upset easily
•Flat/Static character

Timothy Connor:
•Upright and proper
•Strict and impatient
•Strong and protective
•Hard worker
•Opposite fun spectrum of Dan
-Approx. 80yrs old
•Static/ Round Character

Dan Conner:
•Downright and dirty
•Impolite and wild
•Unpredictable and happy
•Static/ Round Character Vanessa MacLeod:
•Young and creative
•Prefers Dan to Timothy
•Similar temperament to Timothy
•Relates experiences through flashbacks
•Round/Dynamic Character Characterization: Synopsis: •Vanessa and her pregnant mother Beth traveled to the brick house for dinner.
•The grandfather, Timothy, is described as a cold, strict and overprotective guardian of the family.
•Agnes was seated in front of her canary, trying to get it to sing.
•Agnes was described as a kind, calm, and sensible old woman.
•Timothy told Agnes that he would paint the jars on the windowsill enamel green (an almost grey color) Agnes asked about orange but Timothy, asking what’s wrong with green, put her down.
•Timothy’s previous jobs as a blacksmith and hardware store owner are referred to.
•Ewen’s reason for being absent is that he was attending a dying man with pneumonia who refused die in the hospital.
•Uncle Dan showed up at the brick house drunk and dirty. His features were described as vastly different from timothy’s and full of laughter.
•Dinner was eaten with both jokes and discourtesy from Dan.
•After dinner, Dan, and Timothy sat and talked. This evolved into an argument while the women washed the dishes.
•Dan asked for money and got kicked out by Tim. Agnes told him to go after Dan. Tim reluctantly goes.
•Dan, Timothy, and Agnes sat down, while Edna, Beth, and Vanessa journeyed upstairs. Edna mentioned how Vanessa takes after Timothy.
•They retreated downstairs to refill coffee. Beth went to ask if a second cup of coffee was wanted and had to choose which of the old men she’d serve first. She served her father and Dan walks out.
•Vanessa was told to follow Dan and keep him company.
•Vanessa chased after Dan but he was too far away. Major Conflict: -Represents Chaos (Dan) vs. Order (Grandfather)
-They clash in all aspects of life, from choice of occupation to the way they hold themselves -Wants to be more like Dan, but is confined by Grandfather
-Trying to find a balance between Upright and Downright Uncle Dan against Grandfather (man vs. man) Minor sub-conflicts: Great Depression vs. Family (man vs. society) Vanessa vs. Herself (man vs. self) -Causes Aunt Edna to move back to the brick house
-Causes Uncle Dan to ask for money First and Last Line: Vanessa takes after her Grandfather, but she wants to take after her Uncle Dan as well. She thinks it is impossible to take after him because of the strong influence of Grandfather and the order of the brick house. First Line: “That house in Manawaka is the one which, more than any other, I carry with me.” (pg. 11)
-House represents Grandfather, order and being upright
-She carries the memories and influence of the house with her
-The brick house in Manawaka has shaped Vanessa into who she is today because of the strong influence of her upright and strict Grandfather. Last Line: “And I ran, ran towards the sound of the singing. But he seemed a long way off now, and I wondered if I would ever catch up to him.”
-The singing represents freedoms and joy.
-Vanessa wanted to be more carefree, like Uncle Dan, but felt that it was impossible because of the influence of her Grandfather. She wondered if she could ever turn out downright, like Dan, with her upbringing. Together: Symbols: -Michaela LaForge
-Shayna Grover
-Keighly Winsor
-Erik de Vries Created by: The Sound of Singing Brick house- Grandpa, ordered, perpetual gloom, strong

Spruce trees- Grandpa, protective

Canary- Vanessa/family, no matter how much she wants to be creative and fun she Is trapped by grandpas pride

Orange paint- Desire for day, orange is happiness, energy, rejuvenation, grandma wants orange happiness

Green paint-Practicality, grandpa is using what is already there, not wasting, smothers joy

Hardware store- Upright, hard work, strength, honest job, started from nothing, sold it

Cigarette & Ashtray- Grandmas tolerance, rebellion, only stand against grandpa, wont own up to it

Vanessa’s story- Connection to grandpa

Singing- Freedom, Dan

Dan- Chaos (downright, mess, no job)

Timothy- Upright, order
A foil is a character who contrasts with another character (usually the protagonist) in order to highlight particular qualities of the other character. A foil's complementary role may be emphasized by physical characteristics. A foil usually either differs drastically or is extremely similar but with a key difference setting them apart.
In the sound of singing Dan and Timothy show a very strong character foil. Their personal traits and lifestyles share a very strong contrast.

Dan examples: chaos, downright, no job, singing, fun, no family or responsibility

Timothy examples: order, family, responsible, conserved, strict, protective Writing Techniques used
Character foil;
Pg: 11
“ On the lawn a few wild blue violets dared to grow, despite frequent beheadings from the clanking guillotine lawn mower, and mauve-flowered Creeping Charley insinuated deceptively weak-looking tendrils up to the very edges of the flower beds where helmeted snapdragon stood in precision.”
-Demonstrates order
-Brick house

Pg: 13
“Step on a crack, break your grandfathers back.”
-Shows general dislike of grandpa especially vanessa

Pg: 13
“ ‘Good grief, Father,’ my mother said, ‘people get sick on Sunday the same as any other day.’ But she said it under her breath, so he did not hear her.”
-Shows respect
-Fear of her father

Pg: 14
“ She would try to coax the canary into its crystal trilling, but it was a surly creature and obligated only occasionally.”
-Canary in cage symbolizes family in the brick house
-Canary doesn’t want to sing much like the family doesn’t want to have fun because they are trapped

Pg: 14
“… and I thought this must surely be so, for it was a family saying that she couldn’t tell a lie if her life depended on it. “
-Shows difference of grandma and grandpa
-Goodness of grandma
-Love towards grandma

Pg: 18
“ ‘ It’s a poor family can’t afford one lady.’ ”
-Gives context to setting
-Hard times
-No money

Pg: 23
“ Sick to death in the freezing log cabin, with the only the beautiful halfbreed lady (no, woman) to look after him, Old jebb suddenly clutched his throat- and so on. “

Pg: 30
“ ‘ One of these days father is going to tell him to get out.’ Aunt Edna. ‘But I’d kind of hate to see that happen, wouldn’t you?’ ‘ He’ll never do that. Blood is thicker than water, as you may have heard father mention a million times.’ ”
-Sternness of character, upright defines character
-Really sets him off

Pg: 39
“ ‘Timothy,’ grandmother said, ‘ you’d best go after him.’ ”
-Grandma was the only person to successfully oppose grandpa

Pg: 41
“ My mother, coming in with the coffee pot to see if anyone wanted a second cup, hesitated and looked from Uncle Dan to Grandfather, as though she didn’t know which of them to ask and couldn’t ask both of them at once. Finally she sighed, a mere breathe, and refilled Grandfather’s cup.”
-Mother is symbolically chooses timothy over Dan
-Making final choice

Pg: 34
""sing with me," he said, before the next song, but i shook my head. i could never sing in front of anybody, for i always thought i might sound foolish, and i could not bear to be laughed at."
-Bears similarities between Vanessa and Timothy.
Significant quotations: Theme: While it is important to be structured, it is equally important to be happy because life without joy is not a life worth living.
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