Sunday, November 28, 2010

Red Ryder Nails the Hammond Kid

In the beginning, the author depicts a coffee scene to get the story started. He tells of a man (Ralphie) and woman exchanging views on "Disarming the Toy Industry." It is from here where the true plot takes place. On page 475, "I sipped my coffee and remembered another Christmas, in another time, in another place, and a gun." This is where we first come to know of how the plot begins. This was spoken by the main character, Ralphie, about his ultimate christmas gift. The rising action is when Ralphie designs a plan to put little hints all around his house that he wants the Red ryder BB gun. He tries to make it obvious very subtley because he knows his parents will not agree. The climax of the story is of course when he is greatly surprised on Christmas Eve when he unwraps the Red Ryder BB gun. He is filled with joy and cannot believe Santa really came through. The falling action then is when Ralphie takes his gun out to play and within minutes the bullet strikes his face. He starts to panic and cannot tell his mom the truth so he makes a lie about an icicle and his mother believes him. The plot is very well designed because it allows the reader to have anticipation for what happens next. Eventhough the audience knows Ralphie is going to get the Red Ryder BB gun, we still wait in suspense to see if it really comes true.

Point of View
This story is told in first-person point of view. Ralphie is who the story follows and the one who is retelling a story from his younger years. With first person, we do not come to know much about the other characters only by way of little dialogues Ralphie has with these people and also little images we see in the story. By having the story told in first person, I was able to feel Ralphie's true thoughts and extreme hope and joy for his Red Ryder BB gun. While reading, I learned of much trouble planning and gaming up for this present Ralphie took. Ralphie was only a young boy at the time and he was behaving as a young child would behave around Christmas regarding presents. The story stays in present tense the whole time. This also adds to the feeling as if I was actually there witnessing these events.

There is really never a time in the story when the author comes out and gives us a briefing on who each character is and what their main characteristics are. Moreover, we never come to know the speakers name until almost the end of the story. Throughout the whole story the only character really expressed is Ralphie. He is a little boy who we come to find out through characterization how much he wants the Red Ryder BB gun. Through indirect characterization, cutting out clippings and dropping hints here and there, we come to know that Ralphie is very persistant. He will not accept no for an answer. We know Ralphie is a hard working kid who makes sure to please his parents. Another character that is briefly mentioned here and there is Flick, a classmate to Ralphie. Flick is portrayed as a bully that is clearly expressed by this line, "I just hope Flick never spotted them, as the word fo this humiliation could easily make life at Warren G. Harding School a veritable hell." Other characters mentioned are his parents. They seem to be your typical parents who look out for the best interest of their children. When Ralphie tells of his Christmas wish, they say "You'll shoot your eye out."

There are two main settings the encapsulate the whole short story. The first setting is in a coffee shop later in Ralphie's life. However, the setting that has the most influence and pertains mostly to the entire story is Northern Indiana in downtown Hohman. On page 478, "Downtown Hohman was prepared for its yearly bacchanalia of peace on earth and good will to men." Ralphie and his family's home is the key spot, "the lights were lit, and the living room was transformed into a small, warm paradise." While reading the story, I pictured the day to day life of any young kid at Christmas. The story progresses to the build up of opening up Christmas gifts. The place where Ralphie's dream came true was his house on Christmas Eve. THe author shows insight to that setting spot to make it well-known to the reader. As an audience, we come to know of Ralphie's family traditions and how important they are to the setting. The setting is typical to almost any family around Christmas time. This helps the reader relate to the Christmas joy. (really glad I picked this story--it made me start thinking of all the things i want for Christmas :))

A major theme brought out in this story is the joy of Christmas. Christmas cheer is expressed in presents, decorations, and just people actions. Ralphie experiences Christmas joy in picking out his Christmas wish and making sure he got it. "I had booby-trapped the house with copies of Open Road for Boys...Red Ryder's slit-eyed face." (page 479) For anything to be done, determination and joy are key aspects that need to be identified. Ralphie put his feelings and believings of Christmas on the Red Ryder BB gun. He is an innocent little boy who finds the greatest excitement at opening up a present that he truly wanted. The overall theme of Christmas passion is clearly present. Other christmas movies that have this theme are: Elf, Christmas Shoes, Eloise at Christmas, and Santa Clause.

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