English, ENG 3U0-J
Feb. 4th 2015
Short Story Diagnostic: “Identities”
Part A-fill in the following information.
Point of view: This passage is written in third person.
Protagonist: The protagonist is a wealthy man in the upper class who lives in a rich neighbourhood with his family.
What type of character is the protagonist? The protagonist has a dynamic character as he undergoes a change throughout the story.
Antagonist: Police Officer
Describe the setting: The story commences in his rich and wealthy house on a Saturday morning. In his house, he moves from his study, to his backyard and then the front lawn. He then takes his car into a bad neighborhood where there are fenced gates and gangs walking the streets. In this neighbourhood, he passes a park and school and the stops in the middle of streets around night time.
Type of conflict: Man vs. Man
Describe the main conflict: The main conflict is that this man, although innocent is wrongly accused of stealing his own Mercedes Benz car and shot by the police.
Describe the climax of the story: The climax takes place when the man is so fixed upon the gang of three men and one girl that he does not notice the inexperienced police officer approaching him with a pistol.
How does the protagonist change over the course of the story?
The protagonist starts off as a rich man in his house fresh as he just woke up. Then reminded of his childhood he goes to the front lawn and has the intent of exploring so he gets into his car and drives. Then, he unknowingly ends up in a bad neighbourhood causing him to feel afraid and anxious. He then sees the police officer and feels as if the police officer will help him, therefore feeling relieved and thankful. However overall in the end, he unfortunately dies.
Part B – Further Analysis
Describe the relationship between the title and the theme.
The title of this short story, “Identities” is reflected throughout the content of the story. Near the end, the police, based on looks, mistake him his identity and shoot him unnecessarily. Therefore the theme is misunderstanding his identity while the title is “Identities”.
How does the main conflict help to illustrate the theme?
The main theme is the misinterpretation of identities based on deceiving looks. The conflict starts because the man believes that the police, because of his uniform has come to aide him, although his identity is mistaken and he instead shoots the man out of no experience. On the other hand, the police officer believes that the man is in search pf trouble due to his looks of an unshaven beard. In reality, the man is innocent and the officer misunderstood the man’s identity.
Part C – Literary Devices
Simile: “Paper clogs the fence like drifted snow” (p.5) “The store window illuminates the sidewalk like a stage” (p.12)
Metaphor: “…unattended stands piled high with pumpkins, onions, or beets so that each one was in its own way, a still life. (p.1)
Personification: “…set above hand painted signs instructing purchasers to deposit twenty-five or fifty cents”
Symbol: His unshaven beard symbolizes his mistaken identity.
Foreshadowing: “…in his last voluntary movement of life…” - foreshadows his death ahead.
“…matching pants and jacket made in Paris – he is driving a grey Mercedes-Benz. Gangs of young men follow the car with their unblinking eyes. – shows that the car is something not typically seen in the neighbourhood and that he stands out of the rest of the society there.
Imagery: “The houses are squat, as though they’ve been taller and have, slowly, sunk into the ground”
Irony: As the police approached him and told him to put his arms up, he reached for his I.D which was to