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Sun Poisoning - Analysis

In: English and Literature

Submitted By mrjackson
Words 1012
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Sun Poisoning

Sun Poisoning is a short story of the collection Slaves of New York, written by Tama Janowits and was published in 1986. Janowits is known for her use of sarcasm and irony as a way of describing issues and circumstances of which she is critical and Sun Poisoning is a prime example of this. The story criticizes a homogenous society and the superficial relationships between people, and is heavily influenced by postmodernism. Notably the narration and the characterization have postmodern traits.

It is very common for postmodern texts to utilize an unconventional narrative form. The narrator in Sun Poisoning is a 2nd person narrator, which is rarely seen in literary work. The effect of this is that it feels as if someone is bossing you around and constantly telling you what to do and feel. This is really how the life of the protagonist works. She doesn’t have much of a say in her life, for example she would rather stay home than go to Haiti but her boyfriend decides for them both that they need to get away. Additionally, the use of the 2nd person narrator engages the reader in a way that is untraditional for literary work. In this story it adds to the ironic and sarcastic tone of the story. As an example we as readers can identify with the sarcastic thoughts of the protagonist after the conversation with the other couple: “Here you manage to interrupt the conversation by saying it’s time for the barbecue dinner and time to get on line. By dragging your boyfriend over to a table, you escape further conversation with the professional travelers” . It’s easy to picture yourself trying to get out of an uninteresting conversation, and as a reader it is very easy to grasp the sarcasm of calling the couple “the professional travelers” as they themselves do in the story.

The use of sarcasm and irony is very apparent throughout the story. Already from the...

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