Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

Victim by Oliver Smithfield

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In this essay I intend to explore the narrative conventions and values, which Oliver Smithfield presents in the short story Victim. The short story positions the reader to have negative and sympathetic opinion on the issues presented. Such as power, identity and bullying. For example Mickey the young boy is having issues facing his identity. It could be argued that finding your identity may have the individual stuck trying to fit in with upon two groups. The main character Mickey is represented as valuing the outcasts of society.

He is at an age where identity is important to find and seeking power to prove he can fit in. The issues facing this character have values and attitudes reflecting his actions. Another essential feature of an example is showing the Mickey is trying to prove he is strong, but not tough enough to harm another person so he uses his anger to think about making an irrational decision. “I – I – I’m gonna k – k - kill it! He cried. ” This example shows how Mickey is unsure of his decision.

As a main character presented we as readers feel sympathy toward him because he is forced to act in a certain way that others will accept him. Power is defined as an ability to do or act; it represents strength, control and position of authority. Victim is based on identity and how power can have conflicts in certain groups of people, in more in depth a culture. Benda is another main character that represents physical power. This is shown through the way he looks and acts towards other people. “Butch, sensing Mickey’s uncertainty snarled, “You’re such a reject. They began to close in on him pushing and laughing. ” Butch is described as “a muscly, thick-set boy with a shaved head. ” Ras is a character who is also an outcast but has the ability to show he is not afraid to say what he thinks or feels. “Michael…” said Ras softly, “It is not the way. ” Mickey is a character who struggles with power and doesn’t know how to show the ability of self-control. These individual characters show different qualities of power and give the reader the ideas of how power can be shown.

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Narrative conventions are used through out this short story. The main narrative conventions used are setting, theme, descriptive language and conflict. The setting is based in a school ground, which represents innocents of youth. The theme represents society and power, the power between characters and finding our identity in society. Descriptive language is used through out the short story to help us feel sympathetic towards the outcasts in this instance we feel for Mickey and Ras.

The conflict in this short story is about man vs man, man vs society and man vs self. Man vs man is portrayed through the bullies and Mickey, man vs society is struggling with identity and man vs self is the struggle with inner self power. Narrative conventions have been used to position the reader to respond sympathetic and have the view on how identity also power are important for one’s self. The issues presented in Victim are shown through Mickey wanting to fit in by killing a creature smaller than himself.

I believe Mickey has found his identity by not killing the creature because he shows self control and has qualities which others maybe intimidated by using descriptive language it positions the reader to not only think deeper in the short story but possibly reflect upon themselves. I believe this short story has made me think how others are affected when people do not accept them for whom they are. As a young person it is important to feel wanted and accepted in society. Victim has shown as a light view on how hard it is to fit in society now days because people are still scared of what and who is different.

This essay explored the narrative conventions and values, which is represented in Oliver Smithfield’s short story, Victim. We learn the influence of others may find us wanting to have a different identity and can inflict one’s self on how we interoperate the power we have. It can be seen that more than these issues can lead to not only wanting to find identity but the issues of power. I believe reading Victim, it has not only presented certain issues of power and identity but has shown society in a negative light. As I have argued though out this essay I believe identity is an aspect of showing who you are.

Victim by Oliver Smithfield essay

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