In an excerpt from his autobiographical narrative, A Summer Life, by Gary Soto shows his first time stealing through allusions, diction, personification, imagery and similes. Soto begins his story by detailing the event of stealing a pie at the age of six. He uses biblical allusion and religious diction to highlight his struggle with sin. “I knew enough about hell to stop me from stealing. I was holy in almost every bone.” This religious diction shows that he is a good kid most of the time and that he knew what he was doing was wrong but he decided that even though he knew about hell and the consequences he was going to do it anyways. “A squirrel nailed itself high on a the trunk” is an allusion referring to the bible and to Jesus who died for our sins on a cross and it shows his guilt of stealing the pie because he’s relating back to the bible. “…the shadow of angels and the proximity of god howling in the plumbing…” shows again how he knows what he did was wrong and the guiltiness he has for what he has done and how he had committed a sin.
After Soto steals the pie he retreats to his yard to consume his prize. He uses vivid imagery to illustrate his greed and gluttony. “But even that didn’t stop me from clawing a chunk from the pie tin and pushing it into the cavern of my mouth.’’ This image shows his greediness and how even though he knew what he was doing was wrong he did it anyways and didn’t care what anyone thought of him in that moment. “I wiped my sticky fingers on the grass and rolled my tongue over the corners of my mouth.” This image shows his gluttony and how he can’t get enough of the pie by licking the corners of his mouth. “ He watched my fingers greedily push big chunks of pie down my throat.” This image shows his greed and gluttony because even though he is full he continues to “push” the pie down his throat and to not share with Johnny. Once he devoured all of the pie guilt begins to take over.
Soto uses personification, imagery and similes to convey the feeling of remorse for his actions. “…and flung my Frisbee across the street, its shadow like the shadow of an angel fleeing bad deeds. This shows his remorse through the angels fleeing wanting to get away from him because he had sinned and they are holy and don’t want to be around him. “ and heard a howl like the sea.” Its relating god and the water in the pipe to howling like the sea meaning that it is angry that he stole and he realizes what he did was wrong. “I looked and saw the glare of a pie tin on a hot day.” Shows the angriness that he has against himself from eating the pie and how guilty he feels for doing that.
Soto uses these devices to show guiltiness, remorse, gluttony and greed in this story to show what he did was wrong and how much he regrets doing it.