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Butler, “Relic”

Butler, “Relic”

Butler has an uncanny way of speaking to the audience. It’s like he says “HEY PAY ATTENTION TO ME!” then he goes into his story, only to stop occasionally to ask the audience, “Are you still listening?” It is very strange how he does this without disrupting the flow of the story he is telling. He uses phrases  like, “You might think,” and “You wonder.” The power behind these simple words is what draws the reader in. You feel, as the reader, that main character is speaking directly to you, and you feel as if you must listen out of respect to the speaker.

The title is something to really study. While I was reading, I was not paying attention to the title of the story. Then I looked at it again after I read. I realized its significance; first the main character tells us he is a Catholic. I know from personal experience that Catholics collect relics, which is why he speaks about bones, and flesh of saints. But after considering this I realized John Lennon’s shoe is also a relic. It is an item of faith. What I mean is he is using the shoe to get something in return, power, wealth, fame, just as one would want a bone of a saint for healing, and miracles.

I do not always recognize the tiny elements Butler uses in his writing. He uses more than just pretty descriptive language. He uses symbolisms, like the shoe, or in his story “Fairy Tale” he uses apples. These symbolism have a unique connection because we the reader can relate this over and over again to something familiar in our own lives. For someone in Vietnam a shoe could represent life, while a shoe in America could represent a journey. Butler litters his works with these, and I am just starting to see them.

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