Literary Techniques in Cherry Bomb by Maxine Clair
In “Cherry Bomb” by Maxine Clair, she used literary techniques such as tone, childish descriptors, and imagery. She used this to show the theme that childhood isn’t bad and it is necessary to pass through childhood in order to read the beauty of adulthood and see the world in a beautiful way.
Clair uses the literary device of tone to create a strong sense of the nostalgia and reminiscing of her childhood days, then takes a shift and becomes a tad bit more hopeful for what the future has. In lines 62 and 63, “a sort of memento of good times.” This is the part of reminiscing, she is thinking about the memories that were tied to the cherry bomb and how it’s something she can look at as she grows and remember the fun they had. In the last two lines of the writing it says,“Except for Christmas presents, it was the first thing anybody ever gave me.” she has the outlook that she will be given more items that will hold a special significance to her and make her just as happy as the cherry bombs did.
In “Cherry Bomb” the speakers provides us with a vivid descriptions of this from her childhood in lines 34- 37 and lines 40-49, “If you parted the heavy coats between the raggedy 35 mouton that once belonged to my father’s mother, who, my father said, was his Heart when she died, and the putrid-colored jacket my father wore…., you would find yourself right in the middle of our cave-dark closet. Then, if you closed your eyes, held your hands up over your head, placed one foot in front of the other, walked until the tips of your fingers touched the 45 smooth cool of slanted plaster all the way down to where you had to slue your feet and walk squat legged, fell to your knees and felt around on the floor —then you would hit the strong-smelling cigar box. My box of private things.” The speaker tells us that in order to get to her hiding place where she has special boxes of things, you have to go down her “secret” passageway and how you know you have reached it, the smell of cigars.
Throughout this piece of writing we can see that there are phrases that sound rather child-like, in line 10, “that-old-thing of an ice truck”, line 23, “Daddy-said-so” and line 55, “God-is-whipping-you straight”. This shows just how young the speaker is, as line 23 is quoted, “Daddy-said-so”, the speaker is believing everything she hears because it came from someone older. This also shows that she is under the influence of those who are close to her, or are around her. In lines 10 and 11, those phrases are simply used to show how old and worn down the ice truck is and to make an image of how fast the tin was moving.
Through the use of tone,childish descriptors,and imagery, Clair managed to turn the less enjoyable moments of the speaker's childhood and change them so they are viewed as sentimental and have a silver lining.