Magpies By Thomas King Sparknotes

analytical Essay
1106 words
1106 words

In the short story “Magpies” by Thomas King, a unique narrator is used to recount the story of the character Granny’s death and the subsequent conflict involving her burial between Ambrose and Wilma. In his story, King intertwines written and oral literature, and creates an oral voice through a narrator. There are many techniques that King uses to achieve this effect. King’s writing style which is used in “Magpies” is best described by King himself in his essay “Godzilla vs. Post-Colonialism”. He describes this style of narration as “interfusional” which is a “metamorphosis- (from) written to oral, reader to speaker” (Godzilla vs Post-Colonialism 14). Through using the role of a storyteller, King uses the “interfusional” style of writing. The …show more content…

Many words are repeated throughout the story, often suggesting they are significant to the narration. Connecting this repetition to the idea of an oral narrator, these moments of repetitions become moments of teaching. One of the words that King repeats throughout the story is “See-po-aah-loo”, which is important since it is a word in Granny’s language translating to a garbage hole (Magpies 23). The narrator teaches the audience the meaning of the word explaining that it represented, “Everything you don’t want people to see. You put them there” (Magpies 23). This particular word has two important ideas and purposes in the narration. One purpose of the repetition is to connect the reader to the story’s subject’s cultures and community. By using a word in Granny’s language, King creates a greater intimacy between the reader and the narrator. The narrator teaches the word to their audience, imitating a real-life storyteller teaching their audience about his culture and identity through language. The second purpose is to highlight the main irony in the story and the conflict between Ambrose and Wilma. After Granny’s death, the two characters had differing ideas of what to do with her body, with Wilma wanting a Catholic burial. Granny viewed the concept of burial as being put into a garbage hole, the “See-po-aah-loo” (King, “Magpies” 24). After her burial, Ambrose …show more content…

The narration mimics human speech through breaking grammar rules and using informal language. This is exemplified through the passage where Granny is in the hospital and the narrator comments on the medical system saying, “Those doctors tell Granny, ummmm, ummmm, ummmm. Maybe you better stay here. One day. Four days. Maybe we see something” (King, Magpies 23). The narrator pokes fun at a system which frustrates him and a somewhat sarcastic and witty voice is created in the passage. The uncomplicated nature of the narrator’s speech strengthens the voice of a storyteller and makes the narrator more relatable and realistic. The onomatopoeia of the word “ummmm” adds sound to the narration and brings his speech to life. These techniques pull the reader to not only read, but also to listen to the story. The narrator is given a personality through this and is given the opportunity to express personal opinion and engage with the reader, much like a real

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how thomas king intertwines written and oral literature and creates an oral voice through a narrator in his short story "magpies".
  • Analyzes how sentence fragments create a unique voice that brings the narrator closer to human speech and traditional storytelling.
  • Analyzes how king uses repetition to emphasize ideas and feelings to continue the oral voice of the storyteller.
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