Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lit. Analysis #2 - The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer Vol.01 2/20/14

                                                        The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer 
                                                                              By: Michelle Hodkin

   The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer tells the story of a young teenage girl trying to piece together little pieces of memory that she has from the night she lost 3 of her very close friends due to a tragic accident in an old abandoned, broken down building that happened to collapse. Mara suddenly wakes up in the hospital feeling very confused because most of the memory she has in regards to the accident that happened that night is wiped clean. After recovering from the fatal injuries, Mara is released back into her everyday life; the only difference is the night that her friends died still haunts her because she sees them everywhere she goes. 

   Theme wise, I would have to say that Michelle Hodkin's is the type of author that definitely knows how to work mystery, suspense, romance and plot twists. The tone throughout this book can be described as almost a mystery/horror kind of one because there are many descriptions within this story that connects certain past events to current ones. This story accomplished trapping a reader's attention because many of the descriptions had to do with Mara seeing her dead friends alive again everywhere she went. They didn't look dead and or decaying at all! Instead they waved at her, watched her and acted as a constant reminder that what happened that night could never be taken back. Some passages from the book that serve as evidence on how well this author writes include: “I'll walk forever with stories inside me that the people I love the most can never hear.”  and “They rattled my cage to see if I'd bite. When they released me, they'd see that the answer was yes.” 

   The first literary element that could be spotted would be conflict. I choose conflict because it's a character ( Mara in this case) that isn't fighting with any outside forces but instead the forces that hold her back from being the healed person she longs to be. “I don’t have a favorite color, though I strongly dislike yellow. Horrid color.” "I resolved to wear something yellow the next time I saw him. Yellow from head to toe, if I could manage it.” In a way, this shows that Mara is the kind of character that doubts herself repeatedly because ever since the accident she could never feel to sure of herself from that night on. The second literary element would be style which would fall under romanticism. This is so because Mara falls in love with mysterious boy named Noah she met at her school. Noah seems like he's the answer to all her unsolvable problems for he holds all the qualities that Mara doesn't have. “You like me,” he finally said. “You like me, like me.” He was trying not to smile. “No. I hate you,” I said, hoping that saying it would make it so. “And yet, you draw me.” Noah was still smug, completely undeterred by my declaration. This was torture; worse somehow than what just happened, even though it was only the two of us. Or because it was only the two of us. “Why?” he asked. “Why what?” What could I say? Noah, despite you being an asshole, or maybe because of it, I’d like to rip off your clothes and have your babies. Don’t tell.”  Third element would be setting; “I don't have feelings.”  This just basically shows setting because Mara thinks she can't feel as a person ever since she lost her close friends. Just by this passage, it's easy to see that throughout this book aside from the bizarre incidents that unfold such as the hallucinations Mara goes through; she ultimately is trying to find her sanity and peace of mind in the world once again but this time without the aid of anyone but herself.

   Direct characterization is seen in this story by how well the author does at describing Noah's overall physical and mental traits he carries. “Don’t tempt me. Now, what are you wearing?”
“A hoodie and drawstring pants too, I guess.”“Anything underneath?” “I don’t typically walk around without underwear.” “Typically?” “Only on special occasions.” “Christ. I meant under your hoodie” Physically, Noah was the type of guy to dress very casually and laid back just like how he is personality wise. 

Example wise, Indirect characterization can be seen in this passage: “Noah´s bed. In Noah´s room.
Without any clothes on. Holy shit.”  You can see here that it's obvious Mara has a crush on Noah therefore she thinks these wild thoughts to herself however she is always to shy to share them with Noah. Instead she watches him,observes and later talks about how cute he is or how she wants to be with him so badly. Eventually Mara ends up dating Noah which adds a little spark to the novel. 

   After using these writing techniques, it makes it more clear to the reader that both Mara and Noah carry their own sense of style, physical traits and mental ways of thinking. Ideally, Mara is portrayed as this grungy, dark past, shy, lost yet beautiful girl that Noah has been looking for for a very long time. Noah on the other hand is portrayed as this charming, easy going, outspoken, bad boy that Mara can't resist. By using the direct and indirect characterization, both elements work with each other and sometimes off of one another to give the overall effect of how the author wants the reader to imagine each character. With all of this said, this also ties into the lasting impression that the reader gets of each character.

   When it comes down to an antagonist and protagonist, I would say that Mara fits both elements in the sense that it's her fighting her own demons and enemies of her dark past. She starts off as a static character which then evolves into a dynamic character because there are realizations that she comes across about herself throughout the chapters in this book. Overall wise though, I would have to say that Mara is the type of character that's round. 

   Looking back, after I read this book I felt that I had met 2 important people rather than just reading about them because the elements that make up the dynamics in this book seemed very realistic and vivid in the readers' mind. I was amazed by how well the author wrote each and every detail that made up this whole story! A final example of this would include: “I wish we could make out in your bed."
Noah sighed. "As do I, but I'm afraid we have ritual burning to conduct." "It's always something."
"Isn't it though?” This passages fits perfectly because it demonstrates the deep trust and understanding that Noah had for his "girlfriend" Mara Dyer.

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