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Her Heart Is Going Home, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 881

Essay

The Use of Abstract Foreshadowing in Heather Schumaat’s Her Heart is Going Home

Fiction writing uses creative thinking and imagination to create a world of its own. The writer employs narration techniques to portray the thoughts and intentions of his characters. For instance, the use of third-person point of view allows the writer to see everything going in the story. As a consequence, the writer shares this knowledge with the reader, which reveals the character’s inner thoughts. Similarly, the writer uses foreshadowing to predict future events. There are two distinct types of foreshadowing. In concrete foreshadowing, the writer uses tangible and visible objects to talk about the future, e.g. an old building to foreshadow about the death of someone or the nearing end of something. Abstract foreshadowing uses intangible objects, which involves notions, illusions and images that do not represent physical objects. For example, day-dreaming about events is abstract foreshadowing, since the events happen in the character’s mind. In the short story, Her Heart is Going Home by Heather Schutmaat, the writer reveals the main character’s imaginations about a planned journey.  In this regard, the essay argues that the short story, Her Heart is Going Home, uses abstract foreshadowing to portray the mental state of the main character.

The repeated use of the present continuous tense ‘going’ indicates an event that has not happened. The words “tippy toes” means that she is ready to do something, i.e. ready to begin a journey. However, the ‘journey’ itself does not involve physical travelling from one place to another. As already pointed out, it is an imaginary foreshadowing of events. Secondly, the future tense “will” in phrases such as she will (drink coffee, be writing letters, be surrounded by characters…..and so forth), point to future events that the character imagine. Similarly, the author asks questions that indicate that the character has intentions about something that has not happened. For instance, he asks the character “Where are you going?” and then answers that “she is going to a place where the sky is blue,” meaning that there is no event that has already happened.

In abstract foreshadowing, the author makes reference to objects that do not exist. He uses intangible objects such as images and sounds. In the story, the main character imagines events that will happen, such as listening to music and walking in the streets, meeting people and talking to them.  The writer knows what the character is thinking about and makes it the plot of the story. It can be said that it is her mind, and not her body, that “travels” (wonders off) to the mentioned places, such as crossing the Mediterranean, drinking coffee in Spanish plazas, going to the El cafe and walking the streets at night. She remains in the same physical location, but her mind wonders off to far places, and she imagines what she can do in those places. In addition, she imagines meeting a Spanish boy who will be interested to know about her (Short Stories Online 2009). These imaginations show that the character is thinking and dreaming about what will happen, as opposed to describing real events. She imagines about smoking cigars and drinking beer, going from one plaza to another, talking and laughing, singing and living. She even imagines listening to a Dylan song, which will make her so happy that she will smile so hard. However, this is day-dreaming, as the events to do not happen. They are only imagined in the character’s mind. In this sense, then, ‘going home’ does not refer to a physical journey, but to the character’s imagined journey to Barcelona. The phrase “Her Heart is Going Home” has a deeper meaning, which means a place where she desires to go, like the streets of Barcelona. Therefore, the plot of the story is imaginary and based on abstract foreshadowing.

Lastly, the author refers to things that have not happened altogether.  He describes them as  events that have happened, and yet they have not happened in reality. For instance, the character imagines being by herself, yet not alone, since she is thinking about children chasing pigeons and women discussing the weather, but who do not exist. Similarly, she feels “so small and so big at once,” indicating that her images are not real, because, in reality, she cannot be big and small at the same time. She also imagines being at a place where “the clothes are a painting that is not yet painted, and the photograph is not yet taken” (Short Stories Online 2009). The term ‘photograph’ refers to an image of something that has already been taken. On the contrary, the character’s ‘photograph’ is not yet taken, which is a contradiction. This, perhaps, suggests that the character is in a state of confusion caused by her imaginations.

In conclusion, fiction writing uses imagination to create scenes and events.  Abstract foreshadowing is a technique of fiction writing that uses intangible objects to reveal a character’s thoughts. In Her Heart is Going Home, Heather Schutmaat uses this style to reveal the main character’s thoughts and plans. Therefore, this essay concludes that the plot of the short story does not describe real events, but the imaginations of the main character.

Works Cited

Short Stories Online 2009. “Her Heart is Going Home.” Backhand Stories. 2009. October 29, 2010 <http://www.backhandstories.com/fiction/her-heart-is-going-home-by-heather-schutmaat/

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