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Ironweed Case

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Author: William Kennedy

Synopsis: A man named Francis Phelan sees his father die while at a young age and then accidentaly drops and kills his infant son Gerald. He then runs away from his family and leads the life of a bum seemingly without morals. He travels many places and kills many people but finally ends up in his own home town. He finally confronts what he did by accidentally killing Gerald and goes back to apoligize to his family. After doing this he goes back to being a bum until all of his best friends die and eventually goes back to his family for good.

Themes: The two most prevalent themes are that nothing lasts forever and that you should not judge a book by it's cover. The theme that nothing lasts forever shows itself when Francis' friends who he had been with for many years died and when his family finally forgave him for leaving them. The theme that you should not judge a book by it's cover shows itself in many places like when Helen who seems to be a regular bum turns out to be a fabulous singer.

Point of View: The story is told sometimes through the third person omniscient point of view when the main character is having a flashback but for the majority of the book it is told from the first or third person.

Characters/types: Francis Phelan was the protagonist of the novel, Helen Archer, Rudy Newton and Pee Wee were Francis' best friends in the book. Annie was Francis' wife, Billy was his son and Gerald was also his son.

Figurative Language/literary devices: note extensive or unique uses as well as describing the overall effect.

There are two literary devices that are mainly used in the story. The first that is used extensively throughout the novel is flashback. All throughout the novel Francis is remembereing past times and things that he had done before, this helps to show why the character is the way that he is and what events caused him to become like that. The second literary device that is used extensively is apostrophe. It is used mainly when Fraancis is talking to dead people that he had killed or caused to be killed. It shows the feeling that he has about what he has done and caused in the past.

1. Which element was the most important to the development of the novel? Explain

why. There were two developments in the novel which were about equal in importance. The first is when Francis accidentally dropped and killed his young son Gerald, this is important because it causes Francis to run away and become a bum and this sets the stage for most of the other events in the novel. The other event in the novel that is very important to the development of the novel is when Francis first returns to his home after visiting Gerald's grave, this is a very important part in the novel because it shows how Francis has changed in his journey as a bum from what he used to be.

2. Identify the elements of plot below. Justify your answer.

A. initial incident: The initial incident of the novel was Francis dropping his young son Gerald and killing him. This causes Francis to run away from his family and become a bum which sets up almost the entire rest of the story and begins the story of Francis' journey.

B. climax: The climax of the novel was when after years of running away and not seeing or speaking to his family, Francis finally returns home to see



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