The Beet Queen By Erdrich: An Analysis

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This excerpt from the book, “The Beet Queen,” describes in short about the events that happen the night two children, Karl and Mary, come to the town of Argus. The author illustrates the impact of the monotonous town of Argus on the two children by implementing images, small but important details and the tone of the overall passage. Throughout the passage, the impact of the environment is different for each of the children. Erdrich describes Mary as “square and practical,” like her name. However, she is three years younger than her brother, yet she always keep the task of getting to her aunt’s house first in mind, unlike Karl. This personality of hers compares to the “weathered gray” and monotonous feeling of the town. Mary and Karl were sent to North Dakota by train because “times were generally much better” there than in Kansas, so Mary was only concerned with doing what was right and was expected of her and her brother. The “bare horizon”, the “peeling gray paint”, and “the chill [that] had reached deep” had no effect on Mary, despite the effect it had on Karl.…show more content…
Erdrich uses imagery to contrast the tree from Argus; “the scratch of light against the gray of everything else.” The author even personifies the tree which “drew him with its delicate perfume,” making the tree seem like a person Karl was familiar with and missed. The repetition of “he did not move” and “he did not notice” illustrates the obliviousness of Karl to his surroundings once the tree mesmerized him. Despite the monotonous town finally gaining some chaos with the dog and Mary screaming, Karl “only stood,” until the dog came running after him. Karl finally had enough, outstretched the branch towards the dog, and
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