Excerpt: Legend — Author’s Craft Essay by Natasha Epstein

Crime and forbidden love. The perfect “chick flick” plot. The book Legend, however, is something more. Legend, by Marie Lu, tells the story of a renegade boy named Day, his young street-crime partner Tess, and a Republic (government) spy-in-training named June. When Day is framed in the murder of June’s brother Mathias, June attempts to find Day only to fall in love with him while capturing him. In Legend, Lu uses symbolism, revealing actions, and flashbacks to represent Day’s feelings.

A couple of examples of symbolism in Legend are the character Tess, and Day’s pendant. Tess is a symbol for Day’s want for his family (most of whom thinks he are dead), and his subconscious want for safety. Day treats Tess like a younger sibling, much like he would have treated his younger brother if he (Day) still lived with his family. Day’s pendant, an old quarter coin sealed in a metal casing, is a symbol for trust. It is a symbol for trust because Dad’s father, the person who gave Day his pendant, trusted Day enough to give him a valuable object that the government would probably confiscate if they got their hands on it.

Two examples of revealing actions are when Day is experimented on by the government, and when Day’s brother sacrifices himself for Day. Day is experimented on by the government because he got a perfect score on his Trial, a test of physical and mental well-being all ten-year-olds receive. The government does not tell Day he got a perfect score, and instead claims he completely failed, and they have to take him to a “labor camp”.Of course, the government’s assertion that they’re taking Day to a labor camp is a lie, as they simply experiment on him to try and see what makes him so physically and mentally well-off. Day escapes their experimenting, and takes to the streets. I believe this ordeal, from the experiments to the discovery that the government lies represent Day’s fear, as the experiences scarred him physically, as well as taking away his ten-year-old innocence and replacing it with the truth of a corrupt government. When Day’s brother, John, sacrifices himself for Day, the action represents love. The action occurred when Day, June, and John were trying to escape a government building before Day was supposed to be executed. John, seeing that they did not have enough time and needed a distraction to escape, dresses as Day and is executed in Day’s place. This action represents love because it shows John really is, or was, “willing to die” for Day.
Finally, some flashbacks Day experiences are one of a mean Republic officer and one of his first crime. In the first flashback, Day remembers accidentally hitting an officer with a small paper ball he was playing with, and talking back to the officer afterward. This results in the officer taking the family’s dinner – a whole chicken, a treat for their poor family. This flashback shows Day’s anger, as Day did next to nothing wrong and yet their hard-earned meal was taken. Later, a flashback of Day’s first crime, throwing an ice ball dipped in gasoline through a window shows Day’s pride, as criminal activity was a way for him to get back at the government without losing anything personally.

Lu’s novel Legend thus uses symbolism, revealing actions, and flashbacks to show Day’s emotions. Even though the most people would think a novel with a combination of love and crime melodramatic, Legend is not. Readers are drawn into the story from the beginning through the use of intricate character personalities and subtle foreshadowing. I believe the novel was enhanced by the use of these different techniques and that they also resulted in providing the reader a different, deeper story.

Excerpt: Symbolism in Uglies by laurenyih

In Uglies, the heart-shaped pendant symbolizes the constant battle that people fight within themselves everyday. On one hand, Tally wants to go home and party all night. On the other hand, she wants to stay in the Smoke with all of her new friends. When Tally destroys the pendant, it shows that she has won the battle she was originally facing. At the end of this story, readers are left to wonder if Tally made the right decision to choose and destroy the pendant. Was it right to rebel against the government even if they were controlling and intrusive? Or would it have been better if she had followed the laws? While we can see how one decision might be right at the time, we are often left with one question after we make the decision — was it the right choice?

Excerpt: Literary Craft in The Giver by Kathrina Welborn

Things that seem trivial, such as body language and speech, can be a window into a person’s thoughts and emotions. Other indicators of a person’s well being are their environment and with whom that person chooses to spend time. In The Giver by Lois Lowry, the citizens of the community in which Jonas lives are kept in the dark about issues such as hunger, war, and even death itself. They live in a black and white world, both literally and figuratively, and do not know color, love, or any true emotion. All of the memories of hardships and emotion are stored in a single person, the Giver. The Giver passes down the memories to the Receiver, who then becomes the next Giver. When Jonas is selected as the Receiver, he starts to gain knowledge of the real world, not just the utopian microcosm of the real world that he lives in. This journey makes its mark on his thoughts, mental health, and even his physical health. Lowry uses symbolism, dialogue, and sentence structure to show Jonas’s state of being and mental health throughout the book.