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Word Count: 823
Writers often utilize various literary devices in order to enhance or empower their works One of the most effective of these devices is flashback Flashback is commonly used to tell the reader more about the history of the plot and also the history of the characters within the plot In Elizabeth Bowens The Demon Lover for example flashback is used to explain Kathleen and the way she acts today based on events that took place in her past Bowen writes Kathleen behaved well then some months later her fianc was Reported missing presumed killed102 This being told after Kathleen finds the letter from this fianc some twenty-five years later helps the reader to understand Kathleens surprise It also serves to explain more about the people and events that have influenced her throughout her lifetime The concept of flashback is not only employed but mastered by James Baldwin in his short fiction Sonnys Blues Baldwins brilliantly smooth transitions from past to present and then back to past almost redefine flashback and influence how it is used today Baldwin tells the story of Sonnys Blues through the eyes of Sonnys brother a limited narrator In the present Sonny is in jail He was arrested on drug related charges more specifically heroin but the reader knows nothing more Until that is Baldwin incorporates flashback to help the reader understand Sonny his brother and their past at another level Baldwin delivers our first look into this past on page thirty-six with the a reflection of Sonny as an adolescent Years ago when he was around fourteen hed been all hipped up on the idea of going to India He read books about people sitting on rocks naked in all kinds of weather but mostly bad naturally and walking barefoot through hot coals and arriving at wisdom After this the reader can now understand the type of person that Sonny was at age fourteen and
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