Essay about Susanna at the Beach by Herbert Gold

Essay about Susanna at the Beach by Herbert Gold

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Susanna at the Beach, by Herbert Gold, presents a tale of the virtues characters admire strictly contrasting with the vices for which characters are consumed. The characterization of the main character, Susanna, is portrayed as embodying seven “heavenly virtues” including chastity, temperance, diligence, patience, kindness, humility, and charity. While the other characters in the story personify the seven “deadly sins” including lust, gluttony, sloth, wrath, envy, pride, and greed. Herbert Gold depicts a theme of virtues versus vices utilizing the literary device of characterization in Susanna at the Beach as supported by the character depiction from the biblical reference of Daniel and Susanna.
The two main characters depict the characteristics of chastity; they are pure, innocent and sustain the ability to refrain from being distracted and influenced by hostility, temptation, or even corruption. The readers are immediately introduced to Susanna, in the tale of Susanna at the Beach, as a captivating young girl, intoxicating her spectators with her beauty and vulnerability; just as Susanna had with the judges of Daniel and Susanna. Gold describes Susanna, “She had fled all the billboard schemes of the life of a pretty girl. Lips soft and half-parted for a grand design rather than a Lucky Strike, hands taking the measure of ambition rather than the bottle of a Coca-Cola, she has come to perfect her diving in a worn black cotton bathing suit which was already too small after her summer’s growth” (Gold, 643.) Gold is characterizing her as a young woman who surpasses the beauty of a media-driven image and foreshadows a simplistic wholesomeness that defines chastity. As the reader continues, Susanna is clearly a character una...


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...thought of themselves and their hard work as more important than Susanna.
Overall, characterization plays a very significant role in the presentation of the theme virtues versus vices in the short story Susanna at the Beach. By practicing these virtues, both of the Susannas are protecting themselves against the seven “deadly sins,” which are embodied by other characters in both stories. In both short stories, this theme proves that in the end when one acts in accordance with their defining virtues or vices they are rewarded; however, the rewards are much more superior for those who are fulfilled in their virtues rather than their vices. In Daniel and Susanna and Susanna at the Beach, the main character’s are similar in their determination to do what they are compelled to do, as well as are similar by embodying the seven “heavenly virtues.”










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