Brilliant psychologists like Piget’s studies on the developmental stages have shown that childhood directly impacts adult life. All adults go through childhood, but some people are able to live in a carefree, young age. Maxine Claire’s “Cherry Bomb”, by Maxine Clair, shows this. To portray the theme of childhood, the author uses literary techniques like changing tone, using childish descriptors and using symbolic characters.
Tone is an important technique in literature. One can tell if a narrator doesn’t have one. A gleeful attitude could indicate a longing to return. “Cherry Bomb” is written in past-tense. However, it shifts tone and makes the reader more optimistic for the future. When the narrator refers to the cherry bomb in “Cherry Bomb” as a “momento for good times”, it is clear that her life was not perfect at that time. However, this does not mean she has not enjoyed that moment. However, the last paragraph suggests that her tone has changed to one of looking back and looking forward. The sentence “Exceptfor Christmas presents”, which is a description of how the cherry bomb made her feel happy, leads to the belief she will get more things in the near future. The childhood memories are not only characterized by tone. As a method of portraying the mind-set and creating an image for the young girl, the author also uses childish adjectives. The excerpt uses hyphenated words such as “that -old-thing-of-an ice truck”, “help-him–out block” and “daddy–said–so truth”. This is to show how young she is. Or, she may not have developed the vocabulary necessary to describe such things in a single sentence. These were also used to convey the truck’s damage or speed. Although there are many other techniques, the symbolic character was chosen to communicate the theme.
The “Hairy Man” character is representative of the narrator’s childhood. The narrator mentions that she is “in this world but not of” at the beginning. Combining that with the Hairy Man is an example of what the narrator could have looked like without Eddy’s accident. The “shell shocked” HairyMan represents her without the bomb. This technique is meant to communicate the idea that childhood is fun and carefree. However, it must be grown or there may be consequences.
Maxine Claire Clair used many techniques in “Cherry Bomb,” to characterize Maxine Clair’s childhood memories.