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To Everything There Is A Season

Seminar
by

Yara Choukeir

on 24 April 2012

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Transcript of To Everything There Is A Season

Plot Summary Theme Conflicts To Everything There
Is A Season To Everything there is a Season, by Alistair Macleod is a short story about an 11 year old boy who lives on a farm with his family, anxiously waiting for the arrival of his older brother Neil who was recently employed to work on the lake boats at the Great Lakes. Christmas is a big deal for the family, but this year things change as the character felt honored to be asked to stay with the adults this year rather than going to bed and waiting for Santa.
The inspirational finishing sentence reads,“Every man moves on” says my father quietly, and I think he speaks of Santa Claus, “but there is no need to grieve. He leaves good things behind.” (Macleod, 305)
This finishing sentence talks about the main idea of the story which is you can still believe in the spirit of Christmas whether you believe in Santa Claus or not, but the joy that the spirit brings everyone is what it’s all about. Other Types Of Conflict Central Conflict It is about about an 11 year old boy that is retelling the story of him entering adulthood. The main point is that he still believes in Santa Claus and finds out later in the story that he isn’t real. The character is thinking about childhood and when you are considered an adult. The character says, “I thought Anne would believe forever,”(page 301). This signifies that people around him are not believing in Santa Claus anymore. He is wondering when it will be his turn to become an adult and that he is shocked that people around him stopped believing in Santa Claus. POINT OF VIEW SYMBOLISM The box is supposed to be the clothes of their older brother but it acts as a secret because they are not allowed to go near the box. In the box contains presents saying they are from Santa Claus even though they are obviously not. “ My mother says they contain clothes and we are not allowed to open them.” The boy later finds out that they are presents and that Santa does not exist. The boy becomes a man from knowing what is actually in the box. IRONY The central conflict in this short story is internal. The conflict is between the protagonist and himself, thus making the conflict man vs. self. The boy who told the story was struggling with believing in Santa Claus throughout the story. It was not said directly but rather more internally and we could infer that was what the conflict was because at the end it gave us a sign that things were being resolved when the dad talked about always believing in Christmas spirit. Other than that in this type of story there is not really a problem and solution, it’s more descriptive.
Some other types of conflict would be that the family is waiting for their brother or son to return home. He was out east in southern Ontario working on the boats. The mother whispers “thank god,”(page 303) when he pulls in the driveway which means that they must have been worried about him coming home safe and on time. Another form of conflict in the story is that their father is not feeling very well which adds extra tension on the family because it could be his last Christmas. The point of view is from an innocent eye which is the boy. The story is retold from a past experience and is a trustworthy source because he would not likely lie. Some aspects and details of the story might have been missed because he is telling what he sees and there are definitely things he has missed. For example, his parents could have been fighting with each other and he said nothing about it. The boy could have also thrown in what he thinks happened and puts his own point of view on it because he does not know what something's mean. The irony in the story would be that the reader knows that Santa Claus is not real and the boy still believes in Santa until the end. “Yet I am not so much surprised as touched by a pang of loss at being here on the adult side of the world.” The boy is not that shocked at what he has seen in the box. He thinks that now that he doesn’t believe anymore that he is officially an adult which is realistically far from it. The antagonist in the story is the boy himself. The conflict is internal and it is a man vs. self conflict.
He fights within himself about whether he should still believe in Santa and what it is like to be an adult. There isn’t another force that creates conflict between any of the other characters because it is strictly just himself. Antagonist
The main motif, and recurring element of the story is maturity and growing up. Maturity is brought up over and over again throughout the story. In the short story the Motif is the recurring theme that the story revolves around almost as if were the second theme.
In the first few sentences the author illustrates how he’s matured with the following lines.
“Yet when I speak on this Christmas 1977, I am not sure how much I speak with the voice of that time or how much in the voice of what I have since become.” (Alistair MacLeod, 300). These lines show that over the time throughout the story the main character has matured and evolved from what his firstly began as.
The final line of the story showed that the character has made it to full maturity making the motif stand strong with the brave, bold words “Every man moves on” (Alastair MacLoed, 305).


Motif
The tone is what the speaker or in this case narrator feels about the subject or story. In this story the tone that the narrator gives off is more nostalgic than anything. He makes it obvious that he misses the days of his youth.
The author being a maturing child as a scent of sadness in his voice when he talks about the times when he had remembered about his childhood.

Tone
The setting of the story moves from place to place like the scenes of a play from act to act. The setting begins with them going from house to house singing carols, the setting then moves into their home where they set up presents and reminisce about the past. The majority of it was during the nighttime I’m not even sure any was during morning hours. It was during Christmas Eve so obviously in December.



Setting
A metaphor is a type of analogy, a figure of speech that gives perspective. There aren’t many metaphors in most stories and this one is no exception.
“The snow fell between us and the doors and was transformed in shimmering gold beams.” (Alistair MacLeod, 301) This metaphor shows how when they were going from house to house when a door opened is as if the light given off are like those of shimmering gold beams.
“ . . . I am trying to hang on to him any way that I can . . . I have hoped in all possibilities as fiercely as I can; much in the same way, I think, that the drowning man waves desperately to the lights of a passing ship on the high sea’s darkness.” This is another moving and powerful metaphor which emphasizes the pain he’s going through as he’s trying to hold onto his belief in Santa just like an overboard passenger, desperately.

Metaphor The protagonist in the story is the boy. We do not find the name of the boy in the story but we find out more about himself as a person. We find out that he does not believe in Santa Claus and that he is an unsure person. This makes him a round character because he is definitely not static. The character has conflicts with himself throughout the story and wants to see his brother because he is worried about him, and the whole family can not wait for him to get home. The boy says, “Yet when I speak on this Christmas 1977”(page 300) The boy/protagonist is retelling the story and begins to fill in more information about himself and his experiences.
Protagonist THE END
The narrator is first person, because of the usage of I, he, she, etc.. The eleven year old boy who lives in the rural, who is narrating Christmas time. He is rather mature for his age, since he was accepting and welcomed by the older kids while his younger siblings went to sleep on Christmas Eve.
An example of some of the characteristics of the young character who narrates his beliefs in Santa Claus at such a young age, are shown in the following sentence, “The boxes are filled with gifts nearly wrapped and bearing tags. The ones for my younger brother’s say ‘From Santa Claus’ but mine are not among them anymore, as I know with certainty that they will never be again.” (Macleod, 305)
With this being said, we know that the narrator is aware of what is going on, and he is really intelligent for his age. We get read from his point of view from believing in who really gets those presents, and if he is old enough to receive them anymore.
Narrator The type of image this short story gives us is Christmas time at a large family’s home which is described to the reader as being in the country, because they have pigs and sheep which put an image in our mind when the narrator said, “Before we leave we feed the cattle and sheep and even the pig all that they can possibly eat so that they can be content on Christmas Eve.” We can also imagine that it is winter time because they walked through large masses of snow. The narrator described how his older brother, Neil, worked “up north” in the Great Lakes, this means that they are south of where we live which we can infer is in America because he travelled by airplane. Ex. his brother had to walk half a continent up north (Macleod, 302) IMAGERY Similes “We moved like muffled mummers, upon darkened country roads” pg 301 "The clothes my mother hangs on the line are frozen almost instantly and sway and creak from their suspending clothespins like sections of dismantled robots." pg 302 A figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind. This short story was written very descriptively so there were many metaphors and similes, a few examples are:
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