Life After High School

502 Words3 Pages
Life After High School Oates uses literary elements to make a social commentary on mans’ basic struggle for survival by writing on how all problems derive from relationships. In the story Life After High School, Zachery Graff exemplifies how a “normal boy” with a high IQ ends up suicidal because he loves people who don’t accept his love. “…The popular, confident, good looking girls, club officers, prom queens, cheerleaders like Sunny Burhman and her friends, tossed out indiscriminately, for that was the style” (Page 574). One of the literary terms that best describes this quote would be a stereotypical tone. When thinking about Zachary’s High School and all of the Stereotypes listed, the feeling of him not fitting in with anyone gives the tone a depressing, almost sad emotion. Tone plays a huge role throughout the story, but is really shown in the beginning and end; when Zachery commits suicide. Characterization comes into play in Life After High School. An example of characterization would be how “Sunny” Burhman (Barbara Burhman) got her name. “…Her teacher had said, to all the class, in one of those moments of inspiration that can alter by whim, the course of an entire life, ‘Tell you what, boys and girls- let’s call Barbara ‘Sunny’ from now on- that’s what she is” (Page 578). One could say that Sunny was always a “sunny” person no matter what happened. Another example of characterization and the survival of man through that would be the description of Zachery and his uncontrollable love for Sunny and his best friend Tobias. “Another thing- after Zachery went to you, that night, he came to me” (Page 587). To Zachery, without Sunny or Tobias (but mostly Sunny) he could not live and even before she rejected his love for her, he went to Tobias to tell him he had feelings for him as well. Zachery could now be described as bisexual, but one could also say he
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