The Shining House – Themes

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A theme the writer develops early and then carries throughout is that of the façade, the false front hiding some other reality. This theme of appearance masking truth is signaled very early in the story, initially through the use of the word “pretext. ” Numerous instances of “pretending” – environmental, societal, personal, emotional, and verbal pretense – occur during the story. Pretending is found in the words of Mrs. Fullerton, Mary and the community of neighbours. In a sentence or two, write a thematic statement that you feel effectively identifies the controlling idea (or one of the controlling ideas) of the story. After you have written your theme – write a short paragraph “defending” your thematic choice – why did you choose the theme you did. By treating Mrs.

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Fullerton as nothing more than an antique piece taking up room, the neighborhood residents idea of discarding her outlines the revolving theme of generation gap and its outcomes. Generation gap can be considered a theme because it’s a revolving topic in the story. The initial mention of this is made when Mrs. Fullerton talks about her husband who seems to have run off. She mentions the age gap between herself and Mr. Fullerton with total acceptance, “He’s not old […] not old like I am. ” Although there is no solid evidence stating her husband left because of the age difference the assumption we can make is that because people from the younger generation tend to think they are more superior in comparison to the older generation her husband could have thought he would have a better chance at getting what he wanted out in the world since he was still young. The real relation to generation gaps is identified through the residents of Garden Place who are selfish and arrogant.

These residents believe they are superior to Mrs. Fullerton because they live in “The new, white and shining houses,” as compared to her who lives in an “eyesore, filthy” house which “is bringing down the resale value of every house on this street. ” Due to the state of her house and for their own selfish reasoning’s they want to kick Mrs. Fullerton out, who’s been living in the area before any of the neighbors were even born. This shows how the younger generation disregards the fact that Mrs. Fullerton has more of a right to the place than any of them do, “She’s been here forty years, now we’re here”; they believe themselves to be young, strong and in power. As age is a factor which singles out Mrs. Fullerton from the rest of the neighbors, they also single out her house from the rest of the houses by using gloomy description for her house and creating a bright image of their own houses. Thus, it can be said that the neighbors only focus on outer appearance rather than understanding what’s on the inside. They prefer all the houses to look alike and aligned rather than a house which stands out for his different qualities which means they prefer aesthetics over individuality and therefore might see Mrs. Fullerton as a threat because she stands out in every way.

The character of Mary is such a significant one because she is portrayed as a bridge between the two generations. She stands up for Mrs. Fullerton by refusing to sign the petition to get Mrs. Fullerton kicked out because she says “I don’t think we have the right. We haven’t the right. ” That preference of aesthetics comes up again when the reply to Mary’s remark is “Mary, don’t you care how things look? You live here too. ” Mary shows her strength by rejecting their value of prioritizing aesthetics by saying “No, I – I don’t care” and in my opinion Mary also shows respect and acceptance of that generation factor whereas the rest don’t.

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