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The Metaphor by Budge Wilson

A Short Story Analysis: The Metaphor

Simran Kalsi

on 5 November 2013

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Transcript of The Metaphor by Budge Wilson

The Metaphor by Budge Wilson
Individuals should realize that their opinions should not be influenced by others. For example, Charlotte was influenced by her peers and did not acknowledge the fact that her favorite teacher from grade seven was back. She stated, "I was caught in a stranglehold somewhere between shocked embarrassment and a terrible desire for concealment. No other members of the class shared my knowledge of Miss Hancock or my misery. But I knew I could not hide behind that Duo Tang folder forever" (Pg. 229). This quotation explains how Charlotte let her peers' thoughts influence her own. She also states, "At the end of the period, I waited until everyone had gone before I walked toward her (Miss Hancock) desk on the way to the corridor. Whatever was going to happen, I wanted to be sure that it would not be witnessed" (Pg. 229). This quotation explains how she did not want her peers to know that she knew Miss Hancock from before. Another example is "Week after week, she entered the room white with tension and left it defeated. I did not tell a living soul that I had seen her before" (Pg. 230). This quotation explains how depressed Miss Hancock was that her own special student refused to acknowledge her. All of this happened because Charlotte let others influence her own thoughts and actions.

Plot Graph
Character Analysis: Charlotte
Inside Traits
Charlotte has a passion for writing and enjoys literature. She loves to write and she keeps a notebook where she can write metaphors. Some of the metaphors Charlotte writes are about her mother cruelness and her grade ten English teacher, Miss Hancock's craziness. Charlotte is a young adult who is easily influenced by her peers, for example, when she finds out that her fellow students do not appreciate Miss Hancock, she ignores her love for her once favorite teacher as well. This shows that she has a desire to be accepted into the society of her peers and has a lack of self confidence in herself.
Point of View
Mood and Atmosphere
Poem: The Metaphor
The Point of View is the perspective from which a speaker or writer recounts a narrative or presents information. "The Metaphor" by Budge Wilson is told in First Person point of view. This story is entirely told in Charlotte's point of view, using "I" or "we". Charlotte is the main character in this story and she is observing all the action happening around her. This is shown when Charlotte states, "I was caught in a stranglehold somewhere between shocked and embarrassment and a terrible desire for concealment." (Pg. 229) This quotation clearly shows Charlotte's thoughts of embarrassment of meeting Miss Hancock again in her grade ten English class.
The main conflict in "The Metaphor" by Budge Wilson is Person vs. Self. An example of this is shown in Charlotte's character. Charlotte's surroundings, such as her peers teasing Miss Hancock in grade ten, influence her actions and values. An example of this is shown when she states, "I was caught in a stranglehold somewhere between shock, embarrassment and a terrible desire for concealment" (Pg . 229). This quotation explains that Charlotte was put in a dilemma between fitting in with her peers and her childish and jolly teacher. Her solution to this problem was to hide behind her folder and pretend her teacher was not there.
Another Conflict
Another conflict in this story is Person vs. Person. However, this conflict remains anonymous to individuals outside of Charlotte's personal life. An example of this is shown between the tension Charlotte and her mother. Charlotte wrote a metaphor on her mother, which described how her mother was not a nurturing person and was not motherly. This is shown when Charlotte writes, "My mother is a white picket fence - straight, level...The field is bounded on its other sides by thorny bushes and barbed wire" (Pg. 223). This describes her mother's rigidity and her demands for perfection which frustrate Charlotte.
By: Amarpreet, Simran, and Awais
The main character, Charlotte is introduced in this story as a typical grade 7 student who extremely enjoys literature and writing. The flamboyant Miss Hancock is introduced as Charlotte's overenthusiastic seventh-grade teacher who taught Charlotte how to appreciate the beauty of literature. The setting is in a town in the late 1960s, in an elementary school classroom. Charlotte and her classmates are innocent children who adore Miss Hancock's class, as they are free to express themselves in reading and writing.
Inciting Incident
One October day, Miss Hancock introduces Charlotte and her class to the magic of metaphors as "an unfamiliar way of looking at things" (Pg. 218). Charlotte is fascinated by this new technique to express herself in her writing. After the lesson, Miss Hancock gives her an assignment to create a metaphor by herself about someone she knows. Charlotte writes about her mother being a flawless modern building, which is created of fine glass however, is not comfortable. Charlotte presents her mother as a person who makes no mistakes, and who is an exterior, hard and cold. Miss Hancock is surprised by the maturity shown in Charlotte's writing and she asks if she wants to talk about her mother however, Charlotte refuses.
The Rising Action:
After the lesson, Charlotte begins to construct metaphors all the time about various topics. Her education about the metaphor allows her to escape her life at home. Years pass as she turns from an innocent child to a smart, single-minded sixteen year old teenager in high school. Charlotte enters tenth grade in a new school because her family had moved the summer before. She transforms to a mature girl yet, psychologically she prefers to be quiet and anonymous.
Charlotte's mother is described as a cold perfectionist, who is strict and judgmental. When Charlotte arrives home, she describes her home as an empty box, in which nobody lives. Her life at home is lonely and false in the eyes of insiders. Charlotte's father is described as a person who lives on his wife's orders. He is "thin and nervous," and "certainly does not fight with her mother" (Pg. 225). At dinner that night, Charlotte talks to her parents about the metaphor lesson however, Charlotte's mother does not like Miss Hancock, who she thinks is too enthusiastic.
Falling Action:
The story takes place in a town in the late 1960's. It takes places in Charlotte's junior high, high school, and her home. In the beginning, the story takes place in mid-October after Thanksgiving, and continues for the next three years, until Charlotte enters high school as a sixteen year old teenager. Miss Hancock passes away in late March of Charlotte's grade ten school year.
Outside Traits
Throughout the story, Charlotte's physical appearance continues to change as she grows older. In the beginning, she is thirteen years old. She is still developing as a young girl. It is mentioned that she has acne and straight brown, stringy hair. Later on, when she is depicted as a 16 year old, she puts more effort into her appearance by using makeup and curling her hair. She has no more acne and has a more mature look.
The mood in "The Metaphor" by Budge Wilson seems to be suspenseful and serious because the readers can predict that something is going to happen in this story that will change the plot. There are points in this story where the readers get a sense of happiness and calmness for example, "She was fond of luminous frosted lipsticks - in hot pink or something closer to purple or magenta. Her eyelashes curled up and out singly, like a row of tiny bent sticks" (Pg. 215). At other times, readers get a sense of fright and terror for Charlotte such as when she states, "I killed her! I killed her! Halting, gasping, I told her all of it." (Pg. 231). The atmosphere is also very depressing at times because Charlotte had to lose someone she loved to realize her mistakes. This is shown when she states, "Miss Hancock. She teaches us grade l0 English." "You mean that same brassy creature from grade 7?" I didn't answer. I was crying out loud" (Pg. 231). This quotation shows how horrified Charlotte was with losing Miss Hancock. Overall, the mood in this story appears to be sober, serious, and solemn.

There was once a teacher as bright as the Sun;
A caring soul who thought literature was fun.
On an October day, she told her class to write the Metaphor.
Moved by Charlotte's writing, Miss Hancock told her she was mature.
Charlotte's mother laughed at the childishness of the flamboyant teacher.
To her Miss Hancock was an alien, an extraterrestrial creature.
For Charlotte, writing metaphors became an everyday routine
Until the very day she turned sixteen.
A new town, a new house, a new school, but the same old teacher.
Affected by her judgmental peers, Charlotte was less than excited to meet her.
One late March afternoon, Miss Hancock stepped off the curb.
Her flying away to heaven left Charlotte extremely disturbed.
Charlotte's cold, cruel mother could not care any less,
The guilt of "killing Miss Hancock" put Charlotte in stress.
To stop the guilt, she wrote again another metaphor.
She described Miss Hancock as the Birthday cake she very much adored.
On her first day of grade ten, she is surprised to find her old teacher, Miss Hancock, teaching her English again. However, the fellow students in her class do like Miss Hancock because she is just as childish as she was before. The students think that they are too mature and sensible for a flamboyant teacher. Charlotte does not know what to do, as she is fond of Miss Hancock, yet she still wants acceptance in her peer group. She decides to hide from her teacher and pretends that she does not know her. When Miss Hancock finally recognizes her, Charlotte makes no effort to connect with her old teacher. Miss Hancock does not push the issue, yet she does not seem pleased. She no longer teaches with the same enthusiasm and becomes depressed.
One late March afternoon, Miss Hancock passes away unexpectedly because she gets hit by a bus and is instantly killed. Charlotte is miserable and heartbroken. This quotation explains how Charlotte is feeling, "I felt as though my chest and throat were constricted by a band of dry ice" (Pg. 230). In the Assembly Room, some of her fellow students are mocking Miss Hancock's death. Angrily, she slaps one of the student.

Charlotte is heartbroken and recalls how she was being rude to Miss Hancock. She takes blame for Miss Hancock's death stating "l killed her! I killed her" (Pg. 231). When Charlotte tries to explain to her mother of how her classmates taunted Miss Hancock, her mother blames Miss Hancock for her own death. Distressed over Miss Hancock's death, Charlotte stays at home, weeps uncontrollably, and continues to blame herself. Her mother is extremely cold and thoughtless when she states that Charlotte is ruining the atmosphere of the home.
Charlotte creates one more metaphor which describes Miss Hancock as a frosted, heavenly birthday cake. This astounding cake is filled with party favors that turn into pure gold. This metaphor suggests the value of Charlotte's experiences with her teacher. In the metaphor, she includes that children love this cake, however adults would throw it away after one glance. This represents how children love Miss Hancock, however when they grow older, they drift away from her. She truly wishes that Miss Hancock had not left.
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