Maxine Clair’s ‘Cherry Bomb’

In the story, “Cherry Bomb,” Maxine Clair writes about her contingencies with her cousins over the summer afore their fifth-grade year in school. She utilizes her past in the story to show how callow she was during her adolescent years. Throughout her story, Clair expresses the point of view and figurative language to characterize her memories as childish.

Maxine uses point of view in many ways throughout the passage to exploit the immaturity and naivete of the little girl. Over the summer the young girl and her cousins were playing with the cherry bombs when it suddenly exploded in Eddy’s eye. The calmness she had toward this disaster of an event showed how through her eyes this was not a big deal. She even said, “I kept it in my cigar box as a sort of memento of good times,” but in fact this was not a good time, but an event where something so precious was taken away from a growing child still learning how to live in the world.

The child most likely did not realize the extent of losing an eye’s effect on a child’s life. After the event she still, “wanted to explore it,” but her mother, “had threatened to do worse to us if we so much as looked at fireworks again,” because her mother understood the danger of playing with cherry bombs. When Eddy had gave his last cherry bomb it showed how he matured and realized that there was more to life than playing around with dangers like the cherry bomb. The poor judgment or lack of understanding of how dangerous playing with a bomb or losing an eye is, the narrator shows how naive she actually is.

Young children all over the world hear or read stories and parables of different plots to entertain the mind like the little girls father had told her tales of The Hairy Monster. Maxine showed immaturity through point of view by suggesting the Hairy Man was hiding at the yellow house. The Hairy Man is a child’s fairy tale fantasy like the monster under the bed. But the Hairy Man was in fact just a, “wooly-headed and bearded,” man that was suffering through P.T.S.D. where he mother described him as, “shell-shocked,” simplifying the name disorder to something easy for a child to grasp and understand.

Moreover, the narrator uses figurative language many times in the essay to depict that the young girl is still merely a child at heart and at mind. Maxine used imagery throughout the excerpt to make it as though the girl was a child through her eyes. She had described herself and her cousin sitting on ice or licking it and, “Bea, combed and braided,” the grass which a young child would actually do. Likewise, she used descriptive imagery implying how a child would trace the exact steps into finding where her cigar box was. She explains through a lengthy process about what actions had to take place to find her box-like placing one foot in front of the other and to slue your feet, and walk squat-legged like a child would describe.

However, an adult would be able to explain this concisely. Children are prone to rambling on and on about things and going into great detail which portrays that the girl was also rambling on and on making herself seem immature and childish. Maxine Clair used different techniques to depict how immature the girl in the passage was by using point of view and figurative language. Through using cliche fairy tales and catastrophic events she showed the innocence of a child’s mind to help identify the immaturity in the girl in the excerpt. She uses literary techniques to portray the youthfulness and navette in the child.

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