Love By William Maxwell Essay

1280 words - 6 pages


Love has many definitions and can be interpreted in many different ways. William Maxwell demonstrates this in his story “Love”. Maxwell opens up his story with a positive outlook on “Love” by saying, “Miss Vera Brown, she wrote on the blackboard, letter by letter in flawlessly oval palmer method. Our teacher for fifth grade. The name might as well have been graven in stone” (1). By the end of the story, the students “love” for their teachers no longer has a positive meaning, because of a turn in events that leads to a tragic ending. One could claim that throughout the story, Maxwell uses short descriptive sentences with added details that foreshadow the tragic ending.
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Maxwell story “Love” is written from the point of view of a fifth grade student. The sentence structure of the essay is organized in the same way a fifth grade student would write, demonstrating the age of the narrator. For example, towards the beginning of the story the narrator says, “She was the only pretty teacher in the school”(1). Majority of the sentences in “Love”, are kept short and get straight to the point. Maxwell also includes some fragments in the essay, like in the opening paragraph “Our teacher for the fifth grade.”(1), in order to demonstrate how a fifth grade student would write/talk. Even though Maxwell uses these short sometimes fragment sentences, to demonstrate the age of the students and narrator, however included in these sentences are details that make the sentences descriptive. For instance, when the narrator is talking about the flowers they were going to give her for her birthdays, he says, “Then they took another vote and sweet peas won. When she saw the florist’s box waiting on her desk, she said, “Oh”” (1). These sentences are both short and simple and the second one is consider a fragment, but the sentences are very descriptive, giving detail about the flowers and Ms. Vera Brown’s initial reaction to the flowers. It can be assumed that Maxwell structures the essay this way in order to resemble the way a fifth grade student would tell a story, using short, simple descriptive sentences.
Periodically Maxwell’s descriptive sentences include details that foreshadow the event at the end of the story, Miss. Vera Brown’s death. From the beginning to the end of the story, Maxwell includes certain details that hint towards her death. One in particular is when the Narrator talks about the flowers the students give her for her birthday and when the narrator mentioned that, “She reminded me of pansies”(1). Majority of the time when someone dies or if you are at a funeral, family and friends bring flowers to put on the tombstone or to give to the family. In Maxwell case when he mentions flowers, he could be foreshadowing the image of a cemetery in which Miss. Vera Brown will be laid to rest at the end of the story. When the narrator mentions the pansies, Maxwell is foreshadowing her death because these flowers are usually placed on graves, relating it to the flowers that are on her grave. Another point in the story when Maxwell uses descriptive sentences to foreshadow Miss Brown’s death is when he says, “Her delicate fingers seemed to take forever to remove the ribbon....

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