A candle in a dark room, the red coat in that black and white film, the energy, the emotion and the symbolism of these scenes can make apparent to any reader the abyss that there seems to be between the beginning and the end. But what happens when these contrasts between life and death are blurred? When two seemingly unarguable ideas contradict each other? The School, by Donald Barthleme and The Road out of Eden, by Randall Grace are examples of such conundrums. The texts use contrasting structure-styles, irony and differing thematic ideas to explore how various aspects of death impact individuals. The simplistic style in “The Road out of Eden” is used to emphasise the childish aspect of the narrator as he tells his story. His use of
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This is most apparent with how the narrator describes what Steven looks like after he has killed Joe Ron saying “He closed his eyes and just began crying, his arms hanging at his sides, the gun still in his little hand.” The crying,, the limp posture and the illustration of Steven’s small hand influence readers to allude Steven, a killer by definition, to the child he still. This argues that Steven’s innocence, his childish views on death, contributed to the murder since he was not mature enough to grasp the implications. By way of mirroring this, “The School” argues that age doesn’t necessarily mean understanding death. Throughout the text it’s strikingly clear that the main character struggles to come to terms with his loses and though he is a teacher at “The School” at time it appears his students have more of a grasp on death. The children’s questioning “But isn’t death, considered a fundamental datum the means by which the taken-for-granted mundainity of everyday may be transcended in the direction of-” is too complex to be voiced by actual children and because of this the children can almost be seen as symbols that represent how even adults have an understanding of death that mirrors that of a child.
The roots for all the differences the works have lie in their differentiating looks on death as a theme. In “The Road out of Eden” death is shown as a very real thing. The structure is simple, use of context shows death is neither black nor white and plot is