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Desperation in life Essay

Desperation in life Essay

Question Description

I’m working on a english writing question and need a sample draft to help me study.


Breece D’J Pancake’s stories are set in the harsh backdrop of rural West Virginia. Pancake often uses the environment to help reveal the burdens and inner-conflicts of his most hardened characters. In “First Day of Winter,” Pancake introduces us to Hollis, a farm boy confronting the ever-present reality of the approaching season and what it means for his fate. Hollis’ endless struggle with his own desires, family guilt, and his inner failings are juxtaposed against the fierce, unrelenting environment (both outside and inside of the farmhouse). This haunting, bare-bones account of Hollis closing down the family farm before the hardest season hits is sure to leave you with a deeper sense of his inner-strife born from a dark sense of “place”.

Format: MLA typed Reader Response paper; 5 paragraphs

Exact quotes from the text to support your claims

Analysis Prompt: At the end of the story, Pancake crafts a final image of Hollis succumbing to the reality of his dire situation. Pancake uses funeral imagery to describe Hollis as he takes his nap, and we can assume Pancake wants to convey how dead and hopeless Hollis feels. But why? Now, look back at the story and develop a thesis explaining which elements from the story help to understand/reveal/prove why Hollis feels like he is attending his own funeral.

  • Provide support for your claims; Use quotes from the text
  • Develop your analysis in each body paragraph but only one point per paragraph
  • Discuss his main conflict within the story/why he would feel so dead
  • You may want to analyze symbols/symbolism which help to reveal his feelings
  • You may want to describe and/or use examples from the text /Pancake’s descriptions of the setting to support your understanding of Hollis’ feelings
  • Maybe discuss family relationships, guilt and neglect–are these factors?

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