A Mason-Dixon Memory


1.
Short stories, autobiographies, and biographies are all types of prose that can tell about a part of a person’s life. Similarly, an essay can also tell a part of someone’s life, but it has many differences. A Mason Dixon Line by Clifton Davis is an example of an essay. An essay is a piece of nonfiction prose that focuses on a single topic. It can vary in length and usually is written to serve a purpose such as to entertain, to inform, or to inspire. An essay is also a personal piece of writing. An essay is different than a short story because a short story is a fiction form of prose and can can usually be read in one sitting. Biographies and autobiographies are different from an essay because they are about a certain part of a person’s life but they are not personal pieces of writing. They also are not written for a certain purpose. Although essays do have a lot in common with short stories, autobiographies, and biographies, they are different in many ways.

2.

An essay which is the literary focus of A Mason-Dixon Memory by Clifton Davis is defined as a short piece of nonfiction prose that focuses on a particular theme or subject. An essay can be about almost anything you can imagine like a childhood experience of discrimination as described through the memories shared by the author Clifton Davis or a school essay on how to reach for the stars. An essay can be formal in tone and eminently structured or humorous in a way as if you were talking to yourself when alone in your room. The tone and structure of an essay varies depending on the purpose and topic selected, and can be factual like when Dondre shares his story at the National Minority College Golf Scholarship fundraiser or emotional like when the school chaperone told Clifton he could not go to Glen Echo Amusement Park because of his race. An essay is different from a short story because it focuses on just one specific or limited topic. A short story is a short work of fiction in which a few characters develop through the plot and conflict, reaching a climax and then a resolution. A short story is usually between five to twenty pages as in Amigo Brothers by Piri Thomas. A short story has a fully developed theme but is significantly shorter in pages and less elaborate than a novel that has many more characters, themes, conflicts, and a larger plot. Another form of nonfiction prose is an autobiography as in An Unforgettable Journey by Maijue Xiong. An autobiography is different from an essay because it is a longer story of a person’s life, written by that person. A biography is the story of a real person’s life, written by another person. In the end, there are many forms of prose, some fiction and some nonfiction, providing endless options for the writer and the reader too.
3.

An essay which is the literary focus of A Mason-Dixon Memory by Clifton Davis is defined as a short piece of nonfiction prose that focuses on a particular theme or subject. An essay can be about almost anything you can imagine like a childhood experience of discrimination as described through the memories shared by the author Clifton Davis or a school essay on how to reach for the stars. An essay can be formal in tone and eminently structured or humorous in a way as if you were talking to yourself when alone in your room. The tone and structure of an essay varies depending on the purpose and topic selected, and can be factual like when Dondre shares his story at the National Minority College Golf Scholarship fundraiser or emotional like when the school chaperone told Clifton he could not go to Glen Echo Amusement Park because of his race. An essay is different from a short story because it focuses on just one specific or limited topic. A short story is a short work of fiction in which a few characters develop through the plot and conflict, reaching a climax and then a resolution. A short story is usually between five to twenty pages as in Amigo Brothers by Piri Thomas. A short story has a fully developed theme but is significantly shorter in pages and less elaborate than a novel that has many more characters, themes, conflicts, and a larger plot. Another form of nonfiction prose is an autobiography as in An Unforgettable Journey by Maijue Xiong. An autobiography is different from an essay because it is a longer story of a person’s life, written by that person. A biography is the story of a real person’s life, written by another person. In the end, there are many forms of prose, some fiction and some nonfiction, providing endless options for the writer and the reader too.



Song of the Trees

1.
In the novella Song of the Trees, the literary device personification plays an important role in making the story come alive and helping the reader to make emotional connections with nonhuman characters in the story. For example on page 48, it says, “They answered me with a soft, swooshing sound.” This indicates Cassie’s feelings towards the trees and how she thinks of them as humans, like herself. Then on page 49, it says "But the old pine only tapped me gently with one of its long, low branches." This shows that Cassie, not only thinks of them as people, but also thinks they have feelings and at that moment she is sensing a change in their mood to something a bit more sober. Also on page 49, it says, "The trees, Stacey, they ain't singing no more." This also helps to set the mood of one that is serious and woeful. Finally on page 58 Papa says, "Dear, dear old trees, will you ever sing again?" This shows that Papa also heard the trees singing and felt the same way about them as Cassie.

2.

The use of personification in the novella Song of the Trees has a great impact on the story. It helps the reader not only sympathize with the Logans, but also with the trees. SInce the novella is from Cassie’s point of view, the trees are portrayed through her imaginative eyes. When the trees have been cut down, the Mildred D. Taylor compares the trees to soldiers mourning over their dead. This is a very powerful personification, as it shows that the Logans not only feel sorry for themselves, but for their friends, the trees. The most impactful personification though, is when the trees are singing, but then stop. The mood suddenly changes and the trees and hovering protectively over Cassie. This foreshadowed Mr. Anderson’s arrival and built up suspense. In the end, you see that Papa is like Cassie when it comes to how he feels about the trees. He asks to the trees, “Dear, dear old trees, will you ever sing again?” the trees give no response. Personification really has great significance to the tone of the novella.

3.

Personification had a massive impact in the novella Song of the Trees, added to the depth, emotion, and conflict of the story. For example in the beginning, Cassie thinks of the trees as actual people, not just trees, who can sing and because of this, it makes the conflict larger as it makes you feel for the trees as they are cut down. It brings a much deeper feeling than is she had just said Cassie loves the trees. Also, in the part where they go for a walk in the forest, the part where it stated “. . . . on a muggy, sweat-drenched day, their leaves had rippled softly, lazily, like restless green fingers strumming at a guitar, echoing their epic tales. But now they would sing no more. They lay forever silent upon the ground. Those trees that remained standing were like defeated warriors mourning their fallen dead.” That is incredibly powerful, it makes you realize just how important the trees are to the Logans, it makes you think, wow, and it makes you feel sad and mournful too, just like the trees and the Logan family. All of this makes the climax even more triumphant when papa comes back, It adds even more of an ah… In conclusion, personification was incredibly important to the story, it added much power to the story, more than could possibly have been said otherwise, and it made the story incredibly powerful.

4.

“The Earth was draped in a cloak of gray mist as the sun chased the night away. The cotton stalks, which in another hour would glisten greenly, are gray. The ripening corn, wrapped in jackets of emerald and gold, were gray. Even the rich brown Mississippi, was gray. Only the trees were not gray. They stood dark, almost black, across the dusty road, still holding the night. A soft breeze stirred, and their voices whispered to me in a song of morning greeting.” This example of personification shows how much of an impact it makes on a story. It gives a better and more powerful way to put out details in the story. Another example of this is when Cassie saw the fallen trees in the forest with her mother. “In the cold of winter, when the ground lay frozen, they had sung their frosty ballads of years gone by. Or on a muggy, sweat-drenched day, their leaves had rippled softly, lazily, like restless green fingers strumming at a guitar, echoing their epic tales.” Also, personification can give you a better understanding of something, such as how much Cassie and Papa care about the trees. When Cassie talks to the trees, they answer her in the form of personification. In conclusion, the use personification makes a big impact on the story and is a more powerful way to give details.