Certain factors in a person’s childhood can influence the decision that a person makes. These factors are likely very significant and can change the perspectives of different people. Langston Hughes, the writer of Thank You M’am, and Barbara Neely, the writer of Spilled Salt, both use various literary techniques to convey to the theme of childhood having an influence on a person’s behavior and decisions. These techniques allow the authors to present this theme more successfully through the use of sympathy, humor, and character.
One method of presenting a theme is through the use of sympathy. Sympathy can be defined as sharing the feeling of sorrow or a relation of affinity or harmony between people. In both stories, sympathy is used to
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Humor is another literary device that can effectively be used to convey a theme. Humor is defined as a message whose cleverness or verbal talent has the influence to evoke laughter. The use of humour can make the reader interested in the story. In Thank You, M’am, humour was used by Mrs. Jones while she caught the boy who tried to steal her pocketbook “The large woman simply turned around and kicked him right square in his blue jeaned sitter. Then she reached down, picked the boy up by the shirt front, and shook him until his teeth rattled" (Hughes, 361). The author, Mr. Hughes, uses humor by describing the exact actions of Mrs. Jones in a comical manner. Mrs. Neely, however, does not use humor in the short story Spilled Salt. Because there is no humor in Spilled Salt, it does not allow the reader to pay complete attention to the plot, since the reader is distracted by the seriousness of the situation. These are two contrasting ways the author uses humor as a literary technique. By using humor, the mood of the story is kept light, allowing the theme to be more effectively represented. Through the various types of literary techniques that the author uses to convey the theme, character would be the most important one which unfolds the plot. Mrs. Jones from “Thank You, M’am” has a very confident character and through that she defended herself from the boy who tried to rob her. Right after the boy grabs