To portray the themes in the short story “The Charmer” by Budge Wilson, the author used various literary devices such as, allusion, flashback and characterization. The entire story is based on flashback, the narrator (Winnifred) is referring to childhood events. The first theme is duplicity. When Winnifred ended up having her own kids, and she hears the familiar excuses, she had a deja vu of her brother. Because of similar experiences with her brother Zack, she knew what would happen if she let her own children follow Zack’s footsteps, they would end up just like him. Therefore because of her relationship with her brother, she knew how to discipline her kids when similar traits started appearing. This goes to show how certain relationships with people can change you as a person for the better or worst.

Another theme is aestheticism, it is show by the character Zachary through characterization. He uses good looks and his “acting skills” to create a genuine mask of reget. Not only does he use his charm, but exaggerates his remorse by dramatizing his actions. Zack uses false remorse to escape severe consequences, like when he used the words “Prodigal Son” to induce sympathy from his parents, which makes them lessen or forget punishments. Also “Zack delivered apologies that would’ve brought tears to a preacher’s eyes…”. This makes the audience understand how manipulative a person and to not be blinded by charm or looks.

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The third theme is good and evil, this was portrayed through relationships in the story for example, Winnifred and Zack’s and Zack with his parents. Allusion appeared due to the fact that Zack made his parents believe that he was good even though he was extremely in the wrong. Winnifred realized his evil and tried to do something about it when she had that the chance which is with her children. Once she saw similar actions by her kids she tried to change them for the better meaning that Winnifred is the good and Zach is the evil. This represents the fact that good always wins. Winnifred is having a good life and given the opportunity to change people for the better when Zack most likely never changed and is still an alcoholic.

Symbolism was also used to show the climax of the short story. The symbol is the milk. This is because when Stephanie throws the milk at the wall this is the climax of the story because Winnifred realizes her daughter is similar to Zach and that she needs to stop being so easy on her and letting her get away with everything or else her family will be torn apart like her child hood family.

A connection I have to the story is that I have met friends who knew exactly what to say when they have been caught doing something forbidden and have been able to get out of it without consequences. Because of the experiences I have had of these kind of friends, I can identify people who are similar in personality if they react the same way when put in such a position. Due to my relationship, I can better react when I meet someone similar.

The point of view used in the story is first person because it is told from Winnifred’s point of view, whether in the past tense or the present tense. It is shown this way so we can see the conflicts between the parents and Zack and how Zack behaves regularly. This gives us the opportunity to have a better understanding of the story. The author did a great job at showing the theme because he expressed it in multiple ways and through different figurative language. So if you didn’t catch on to the meaning the first time you are given multiple chances. Another way he showed the message is through the characters because some of them changed throughout the story therefore, they learnt a valued lesson and so should the reader.


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