Empty Love

Good Essays
“The Farmer’s Children” is a horrific tale. Two children, Cato and Emerson, were told by their stepmother to go to the barn and protect their farm equipment. Since the children were poorly dressed and the weather was extremely cold, the boys froze to death. The author, Elizabeth Bishop, used a wide range of literary techniques (foreshadowing, symbolism and allusion) to get her message across. Bishop wrote this story to convey lonely abandonment is a deep pit to fall through. Consequences will have to be paid; Cato and Emerson died as a result of being unattended to.
Foreshadowing was a technique the author utilized. When Bishop mentioned the children’s father and Judd, a man hired by the family, went on “business” (Bishop, Page 287), their activity was suspicious. Instead of looking for ways to increase security at the barn like they were supposed to, they took overnight trips to town and drank. Cato and Emerson’s father could have used this time elsewhere. He should’ve spent more time with his sons than enjoying himself. Later on, the stepmother told the boys to go to the barn. The boys didn’t have the proper clothing, but their stepmother said, “Well, Judd’s got his blankets over there.” ( Bishop, Page 289) That’s when readers are aware with what’s really happening; Judd isn’t at the barn, he’s out with the boys’ father. The boys have to take the adults’ place in the barn and watch out for burglars. Another piece of evidence was stated that “The two boys sat on one side, the two older girls sat on the other, and Gracie Bell on her mother’s lap at the end.”(Bishop, Page 288) From this excerpt, the reader knows that there’s a division in the family. The sons were not intermingled with their step-siblings. Their stepmother didn’...

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...tepmother and stepsisters, and then his thoughts returned to his father; he loved him dearly.” (Bishop, Page 293) The stepmother did not exube nor extend her love to Cato and Emerson. She seemed as if she didn’t care for the two boys. Cato and Emerson died in that empty barn as an effect to their loneliness. One may think the mother deserved to die, but this is Bishop’s writing technique. She used allusion to make the readers think the boys would make it through the cold just like how Hansel and Gretel escaped, but the plot twist gave the story flavor. Symbolism helped readers grasp a clear image. Foreshadowing assisted the readers by feeding bits of information and let the readers come up with their own conclusion. Regular people would think that the antagonist always ends up dead in these stories, but they’re wrong. The innocents had to suffer and die, all alone.
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