Beyond Yourself: Boyden's Use of Imagery

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To fully understand a character, it is essential that the reader be aware of their backstory and life experiences. The author has to be able to portray the characters’ development because, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions,” therefore the character has permanently changed, (Holmes, Jr., BrainyQuote). Only when the reader understands these changes are they able to become emotionally invested in the character. Throughout Three Day Road, Joseph Boyden uses the image of invisibility to portray all of the characters in a new light. Using the image of birds, he is able to describe Xavier and Elijah’s pasts and home. Lastly, he uses the image of feeding to depict destructive and, on the contrary, healing changes to certain characters. He has chosen to use many different images to provide depth and emotions to his novel. Boyden, by using physical and emotional imagery, effectively communicates the characters’ feelings and development throughout the novel. One of the most important images that Boyden returns to is invisibility. Being able to disappear plays a role for all of the characters. Xavier is still learning English and because of this he stays silent most of the time, blending into the background. In many ways, he is becoming invisible, like “a brown ghost,” (Boyden 65). It is also important for Elijah and Xavier to disappear when they are hunting back home or sniping at war. They have to become part of their environment; “Elijah’s like a shadow when he wants to be,” (Boyden 102). Finally, when Niska is following her Frenchman and learning about him, she describes herself by saying, “if there’s one thing in which I excelled, it was becoming invisible,” (Boyden 133). Being invisible can have advantages although it may be quite unpleasant. At times, the characters may choose to become invisible, purposefully and
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