Literary Analysis-Miriam

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SHADOWS OF YOUR MIND IN “MIRIAM” In the short story “Miriam”, Truman Capote tells the story of an aging widow Ms. H.T. Miller. Capote stages his story in a nineteen hundreds New York East River scene. Using tone and diction, Capote draws his readers into the cold uncomfortable unknown of the aging lonely mind. Capote opens the story describing the lonely existence of Ms. H.T. Miller. She isn’t even introduced using her first name but simply identified as the widow of Mr. H.T. Miller. She is described plainly. Readers are given an early sense of her solitary life. “Her interests were narrow, she had no friends to speak of and she rarely journeyed farther than the corner grocery” (37). Describing her so lonely while being in a large city really allows the reader to grasp her solitude, much more so than if he would have chosen a setting far more remote. Capote’s use of the winter season also leaves the reader with a chilled lonely bitter feeling. Rather than describing the snow in a beautiful and calming way his diction clearly portrayed the biting scene. “In the falling quiet there was no sky or earth, only snow lifting in the wind, frosting the window glass, chilling the rooms, deadening and hushing the city” (39). The harsh cold description leads reiterates the feeling of solitude by removing any sense of warmth or comfort. While out to see a show Ms. Miller’s character is introduced to Miriam, a young girl, who we then learn shares the name with our main character, Ms. Miller. Throughout the encounters that the story characters share, a tone of haste, confusion, and fear is used. “Because I’ve come to live with you, said Miriam, twisting a cherry stem. “Wasn’t it nice of you to buy me the cherries…?” “But you can’t! For God’s sake- go away and leave me alone” (47)! By moving quickly through the dialogue and the tone used, the uneasiness of Mrs.

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