Descriptive dialogue, innovative imagery: Craig Middle School 8th-grader’s winning essay examines writing tools |

Descriptive dialogue, innovative imagery: Craig Middle School 8th-grader’s winning essay examines writing tools

Student work celebrated at Craig Middle School literacy night and in print in the Craig Press.
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CRAIG — Students at Craig Middle School were recently recognized for their efforts in writing poems and essays.

CMS eighth-graders diligently worked on developing literary essays in which they had to identify themes in their favorite novels and short stories. Students also learned how to develop an argument and use textual evidence to support their claims with regard to the themes they have identified.

Sadie Smilanich’s piece was named the top work, comparing and contrasting elements of the novel “A Night Divided” and the short story “Charles.”

On Dec. 19, parents were invited to Literacy Night to celebrate the hard work and achievements of students. Students received extra credit in their language arts class for attending.

English language arts instructors also selected the top poems, written by sixth- and seventh-grade students.

Editor’s note: Student work is shared unedited to reflect their original writing. 

Author’s Craft

Sadie Smilanich

In every book, text, or story, the author uses certain language to create a mood or tone for the reader. It is the author’s purpose to create a story using literary elements to form an interesting story.

Jennifer Nielsen, the author of A Night Divided, uses several literary elements to construct a story for her readers, but imagery and dialogue for some of the strongest shown throughout the book. These literary elements also appear in short story titled “Charles” written by Shirley Jackson. These two elements create a crystal clear image of the scenes throughout the book, and when they are combined and used together, it creates a fantastic story.

However, an author can choose to use one element more than the other to help generate a story. This is the case for both the authors of the book, A Night Divided and the short story, “Charles.” Nielsen decides to use imagery throughout her book to form a picture for her readers, while Shirley Jackson uses more dialogue which helps the readers understand what the characters are like.

Both books share similarities and differences, even though the books have completely different storylines.

The book, A Night Divided, is a historical fiction book, which means it is about something that has happened in history, but adds some fiction into it. This book takes place in Berlin, Germany in 1961. The main character is Gerta, and her brother and mom are living in the East side of Berlin, while Gerta’s father and other brother are in the West side. Overnight, the German soldiers built a wall to stop immigrants from going to the West side. The story is about Gerta trying to reunite with her family, but in order to do so, she just put her own life, and others in danger.

On the other hand, the short story, “Charles” is about a boy named Laurie who starts kindergarten and when he comes home, he tells his parents a story of a boy named Charles. A time in the story when he comes home telling the story in a page 73, “Well, Charles was bad again today.” He grinned enormously and said, ‘Today Charles hit the teacher.” However, in the end, the mother finds out that Charles is a fictional character created by Laurie. Charles was just a cover up for all the terrible actions done by Laurie, so he wouldn’t get in trouble.

Even though these stories have very different storylines, there are also some similarities between the two texts.

The author’s use of symbolism is a huge similarity between the two texts. These texts both have a symbol that help create the theme for the acucal story.

A symbol in the book, A Night Divided, is the wall that separates East and West Berlin. To the westerners, the wall was a huge symbol that separated the communist East, and the capital West. To the easterners, the wall separated families and the citizens knew that they had to escape in order to reunite. The wall challenged the citizens that were living in the East because they had to risk their lives if they ever wanted to see their family again. This was the case for Gerta, when she wanted to reunite with her family. On page 91, Gerta begins to dig a tunnel you going to an old abandoned building near the wall for her start spot. “After choosing my starting place, I raised the shovel, stuck the tip of the blade into the dirt, and crunched my foot down on the blade’s shoulder.” When Nielsen used this symbol, it helped me understand how the characters felt about the wall, what it truly meant to them, and why they wanted to escape so badly.

Symbolism can also be shown in the short story, “Charles”. The author of  “Charles” uses symbolism throughout her text by creating a character named Charles. Charles is a fictional character created by Laurie to cover up all his lies that he was telling his parents. A time in the text when I think Laurie’s story was a little suspicious was when he came home late one day. On page 74, the text says, “Charles yelled… so Charles had to stay after school. And so all the children stayed to watch him.” When the author used Charles as a symbol, it helps me understand why Laurie was lying, but also why other people lie in real life. Laurie changed because of Charles because he started to talk to his parents about his day, and he became more polite and understanding when talking to them. I think he started to act this way because he didn’t want his parents to think that it was Laurie getting in trouble.

Both the authors use dialogue and imagery to explain the events that are happening throughout the stories. The literary elements help the reader understand how the characters truly feel. Both the authors use symbolism and literary elements throughout their stories. However, certain literary elements are used more in more story than the other, creating different moods.

There are many literary elements that authors can use to create a perfect image for their readers.

The authors of the two stories, A Night Divided, and “Charles” use several literary elements throughout their stories, however one literary element is used more than the other. An example of this is in the book, A Night Divided, which uses a lot of imagery to help the reader understand the events and creates a mood for the reader.

Although the author of “Charles” uses imagery, she uses a lot of dialogue to make the reader understand what the character is feeling, which helps set the mood for the book.

A time in the book, A Night Divided when the author used imagery to explain a certain scene was on page 91. Jennifer Nielsen uses certain language to create a mood for the reader. A time in the book when she gave very good description of the scene was when Gerta started to dig a tunnel. “After choosing my starting place, I raised the shovel, stuck the tip of the blade into the dirt, and crunched my foot down on the blade’s shoulder.” When I read this scene, I could really picture what everything looked like, and I could feel how determined Gerta was to get to her family. The Nielsen uses very descriptive language like “crunched” throughout her story to create a mood for both the book and the reader.

However,  Shirley Jackson who wrote “Charles” used dialogue to make the reader feel like they were in the characters shoes. An example of the author using dialogue was on page 77, when Laurie’s mother wanted to meet “Charles” mother by asking the teacher about her son. The text said, “After the meeting, I identified and sought out Laurie’s kindergarten teacher. ‘We had a little trouble adjusting the first week or so.’ ‘I suppose this time it’s Charles influence’ ‘Charles?’ She said. ‘We don’t have any Charles in kindergarten’”. By using dialogue for this certain scene, it makes the reader feel all kinds of emotions and they can imagine what the characters are feeling. The reader feels all the emotions because this scene was at the end, and after reading all of Laurie’s stories about “Charles”, this is the scene were the reader realizes that it was all a lie.

Although the two stories use symbolizing, they use different literary elements.

Symbolism, and other literary elements such as imagery and dialogue both appear in the text, A Night Divided, and “Charles.” However, the authors use them in different ways to construct the story and the mood for the reader.

There are many different ways that readers can view a story, and they can picture in their own way. However, when the author uses literary elements to explain what is going on, it can really helped the reader to feel a certain way.

Using imagery and dialogue together in a story makes to storyline stronger, and easier to understand.

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