Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Higher Power of Lucky

While all of the literary elements worked in combination to create the captivating story of The Higher Power of Lucky, I find that several were most crucial to the success of the book. I find that I often relate best to characters when stories are told in first person. My favorite books are those that oscillate between different first-person perspectives. That always provides me with a strong sense of all the characters. Surprisingly, I enjoyed The Higher Power of Lucky even though the story is told from a third-person point of view. I felt like I connected much more with Lucky than I typically do in other third-person based stories. (Actually, in writing this, I had to go back and make sure that it was written in third-person, for when I think back to the story, my gut tells me that it was told in the first person.) I think that this is due to the strong and dynamic characters that Susan Patron creates. The sense of Lucky that we get through the third-person perspective is that of a dynamic character who is very relatable and brings the story to life. I can almost imagine myself as Lucky’s sidekick as she partakes in her desert adventures. The way that she speaks and acts really makes her come alive. The growth and change that Lucky undergoes throughout the story is remarkable, which only helps to bring her to life.

I also found the place or the setting of the story to be one of the most crucial aspects, for the plot would not be even remotely that same if the story took place in a different location. The way that Patron describes the setting, not only by telling her readers, but by showing them, really helps to bring the setting to life. I can almost feel the sand blown onto my own skin during the storm, or the heat of a hot desert afternoon. According to Tunnell and Jacobs, quality writing shows the reader.” (Tunnell & Jacobs, 2008)  In this particular book, the place really contributed to the overall mood of The Higher Power of Lucky. The dusty town helped to soften the edges of the characters and created a serene yet weary mood that sucks the reader in. It also brings us back to the characters and allows for a deeper understanding of those characters. The mood of the story was definitely influenced by the tension of both the characters and of the setting. This tension helped to draw the reader in and wonder about the outcomes of the characters.

Part of the reason that the place/setting and the characters are so effective in this story is a result of the language and wording that Patron uses. Her words draw us, as readers, in, and work to keep us coming back for more. According to Tunnell and Jacobs, “The words make the book by defining character, moving the plot along, identifying the setting, isolating the theme, creating the tone, identifying the point of view, developing the mood, establishing the pace, making the story believable, and reporting information accurately.” (Tunnell & Jacobs, 2008) The words that are presented and the ways in which they are utilized in the story make it a quality piece of literature.  The words help describe details of the characters, setting, and mood, propelling the story forwards. Patron does not necessarily use big words to make her point, but instead, can use basic words that are just right for the point she is trying to make. Thus, it is an easy read, yet a meaningful and deep one.
It’s interesting because when I fist picked up the book and read the first page, I was concerned that this was going to be another one of those books that I am required to read, but find no true please between the pages. What I found though, was a remarkably well-written story that was comprised of dynamic characters and rich language that helped to bring the story to life. It is important for me to mention as well that while I focused on characters, place/setting, and mood, that I do recognize that these are not the only necessary components. It is the ultimate combinations of these literary elements that makes the story work. I just found that the characters, setting, and mood in this story are the primary components that kept me going for more.

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