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In the novel "Boys Life," the author develops a coming of age (loss of innocence) theme through many different techniques in his writing. The author uses techniques such as setting, magical realism, irony, characterization, and symbolism to set the stage for the story to take place the way it does. The characters live through many experiences that end up changing their lives. Cory, the main character, has many things happen to him in his life that are very confusing to him and that he doesn't understand. He doesn't realize why they happen or why they have to happen to him, his family, and his friends.
In the novel, the author uses setting many times to develop the theme. During the scene that takes place in the church, the author uses great detail in describing the way the people were acting. He states that "the people came in like Christian civilization and went out like barbarians" (pg. 70). Cory witnesses that most of the people just ran out and didn't care about who was getting attacked by the bees or who might be hurt. Cory loses a lot of respect for his grandfather when he realized that he left everyone for his own safety. This taught Cory that people cared more about themselves before anyone else's safety.
The author uses magical realism many times throughout the novel. When Cory and his friends do their annual ritual at the end of the summer, they pretend to fly with their dogs (pg. 187). They do this at the beginning of the summer because it shows the innocence and magic that they begin to lose. It also shows that they lose almost all of their responsibilities during the summer. This ritual brought the boys together and kept them very close to one another. The author uses magical realism during the time when Cory's dog, Rebel, was sick and later dies. The author uses great detail when he describes that Rebel has really died , but his spirit still lives. Cory suffers a big loss in his life during this time period. Personification is used when Cory prayed death away from his pet and his best friend; but when he loses his best friend, he realizes that if you love something enough, you will put their best interest first and not yours.
Irony is used in this novel to confuse the reader. The author uses irony when the boys meet Nemo. Nemo is a very small boy that has an unbelievable talent that no one knows he has. The boys expected Nemo to be very weak and not good at throwing the ball, but Nemo surprises everyone, and shows them that he can throw a ball as hard and as far as he can. The boys were really shocked because they have never seen anything like that happen before with a baseball. The boys realize that you can't judge a person by the way they look and that looks can also be deceiving. The author also uses characterization when the boys meet Nemo's mother. The boys see that his mother acts cruel and overprotective of Nemo. They think that she should let her son be a normal kid like them and she should have some sympathy for her son. They realize his life is really hard and that they have it so much better compared to his life. Irony is also used during the scene when Cory meets with Mayor Swope. When Cory sees the green feather in the closet (pg. 287-283), he assumes that the mayor is the killer but later he realizes that he's not. He just wanted to talk to Cory about his award, but Cory thinks hes going to get killed so he tries to escape. Cory later realizes that not everyone is bad and you shouldn't assume their bad until you know it for sure.
Symbolism is used many times throughout the book to develop the loss of innocence. Chile Willow is a symbol in Cory's life. When he sees her at the lake (Pg. 252), his sexuality awakens and he realizes that girls arent really bad and disgusting. During this time, Cory becomes a young man. During the chapter "Summer Winds Up," Cory
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Boys Life, Irony, Cory Matthews
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