Writing as Art in The Painted Bird

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Writing as Art in The Painted Bird

Three Works Cited The use of art has many functions. It lacks a satisfactory definition and is easier to describe it as a way something is done --“the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others” --rather than what it is. Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird describes the disasters that befall a six-year-old boy who is separated from his parents and wanders through the primitive Polish-Soviet borderlands during the war. Kosinski fails to mention the boy’s name and the names of the towns the boy travels over throughout the text. This enables the reader to assume that this child could have possibly been any unfortunate youngster during the war. Kosinski’s writings organize the chaos of the boy’s life experiences through form. The use of both organic and conventional form throughout the book draws the reader closer to the horrific encounters the young boy faced on a daily basis.

Using writing as a method of art organizes the chaos of experience through form. Kosinski’s novel applies organic form to portray the appalling predicaments the boy encountered during the separation from his family. The use of organic form in the formal pattern offers the reader the “what-will-be-next” scenario before they proceed through the pages. Kosinski gives the reader a taste of the animalistic characteristics of the towns’ people the boy confronts during the war. This allows the reader not to be “shocked” when the peasants the boy faces demonstrated an extraordinary predilection for incest, sodomy, and meaningless violence.

While reading “The Painted Bird”, the reader gains the impression that religion seemed to be a high priority for the village people. However, Kosinski’s use of conventional form to inform his readers that church was a very important part of the

culture in these villages seemed to contradict this portrayal. In the culminating incident of the book, the boy drops a missal while he’s helping service Mass and is flung by the angry parishioners into a pot of manure . Emerging from the pit he realizes that he has lost the power of speech. Church goes watched as the young boy was tossed into the manure and no one tried to assist him. A group of bullies pushes the boy, a presumed spy or Jew, below the ice of a frozen pond.

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