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"Be who you are not who you want to be" - Diane

Mea Culpa - Excerpt from Gary Soto's a Summer Life

  • Date Submitted: 05/21/2010 06:44 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 52.3 
  • Words: 826
  • Essay Grade: 5,00 /5 (1 Graders)
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Bobby Pak
May 19, 2010
Dickel – 2

Mea Culpa

In life, one lesson that is taught is to never steal, as it is considered one of the worst sins one can commit. When one decides to steal, it is accompanied by shame, remorse, and consequences that one does not originally expect, due to being blinded by one’s greed.   In the autobiographical excerpt from A Summer Life, by Gary Soto, Soto’s 6-year-old self steals a pie from the German Market and consequently is overcome by remorse and guilt.   Soto’s six-year old self predominantly displays emotional insecurity after he steals a pie from the German Market, switching from indulgence and love to guilt and remorse.   By religious diction, sensory imagery, and metaphors, author Gary Soto recreates the guilt, moral confliction, and paranoia of his six-year-old self.
Soto’s use of sensory imagery conveys the joy, indulgence, and remorse Soto’s six-year-old self gets from the stolen pie. In the German Market, Soto’s young self eyes the “nine kinds of pie”, feels the “cherry [pie looks] good and [Soto’s] dear, fat-faced chocolate [is] always a good bet.” (2) Only a few moments after arriving at the Market, Soto’s six-year-old self already is taken away by the scent and look of the pies, already indicating to the reader he may make a foolish decision. After stealing, he feels a tiny sliver of guilt, which, however,   “did [not] stop [Soto] from clawing a chunk from the pie tin and pushing into the cavern of [Soto’s] mouth.”(4) Soto’s diction reveal that no matter how tasty the pie may be, it cannot fill up the “cavern” of Soto’s mouth, a never-ending yearn for more pie. Soto does not hold back, “[laying] more pieces on [his] tongue, wet finger-dripping pieces, until [he] was finished and felt like crying because it was about the best thing he [has] ever tasted.” (4) Driven by his uncontrollable hunger, Soto just keeps on eating the pie and sobs in enjoyment from the pie, albeit not feeling or considering the sin he has just...


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  1. thx
    • Mar 03, 2011 - Evaluator: (taiwan84)
    • thank u so much