Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Birthday Party

Below is the complete text of a short story written in 1946 by Katharine Brush.  Read the story carefully.  Then write an essay in which you show how the author uses literary devices to achieve her purpose.

            They were a couple in their late thirties, and they looked unmistakably married.  They sat on the banquette opposite us in a little narrow restaurant, having dinner.  The man had a round, self-satisfied face, with glasses on it; the woman was fadingly pretty, in a big hat.  There was nothing conspicuous about them, nothing particularly noticeable, until the end of their meal, when it suddenly became obvious that this was an Occasion – in fact, the husband’s birthday, and the wife had planned a little surprise for him.
            It arrived, in the form of a small but glossy birthday cake, with one pink candle burning in the center.  The headwaiter brought it in and placed it before the husband, and meanwhile, the violin-and-piano orchestra played “Happy Birthday To You,” and the wife beamed with shy pride over her little surprise, as such few people as there were in the restaurant tried to help out with a pattering of applause.  It became clear at once that help was needed, because the husband was not pleased.  Instead, he was hotly embarrassed, and indignant at his wife for embarrassing him.
            You looked at him and you saw this and you thought, “Oh, now, don’t be like that!”  But he was like that, and as soon as the little cake had been deposited on the table, and the orchestra had finished the birthday piece, and the general attention had shifted from the man and woman, I saw him say something to her under his breath – some punishing thing, quick and curt and unkind.  I couldn’t bear to look at the woman then, so I stared at my plate and waited for quite a long time.  Not long enough though.  She was still crying when I finally glanced over there again.  Crying quietly and heartbrokenly and hopelessly, all to herself, under the gay big brim of her best hat.


17 comments:

  1. Batsheva Moskowitz
    “Birthday Party”, a breathtakingly sad short story written by Katherine Brush, is built upon the use of literary devices. As the setting is introduced, we are also told about the characters. The main focus of the short story is on a couple. The husband is described as a man with a “round, self-satisfied face” and the wife and a woman who is “fadingly pretty, in a big hat”. Already with these categorizations we see contrast between the wife and the husband; the husband’s smugness overpowers the wife’s beauty, which is represented by the “big hat”. It is a symbol for the husband’s sense of power and superiority over her. He feels the need to be ‘large and in charge’ and, as a result, the wife is forced to fade into the background.

    After the introduction of the characters, we are told that “there was nothing conspicuous about” the couple. Automatically we know that if the narrator is telling us that nothing stood out about the couple then s/he is about to tell us something that is noticeable about them. Although the narrator describes that what becomes distinct about them is the surprise for the husband’s birthday, we later find out that the author was really foreshadowing the events that follow the reveal of the surprise.

    As the short story goes on, we learn more about the characters and the contrast between them. For example, as the cake is being distributed and people are singing happy birthday, the wife is beaming “with pride over her little surprise” while the husband is “hotly embarrassed, and indignant at his wife for embarrassing him”. It is the description words that give such a strong contrast between the wife with her “shy pride” and the husband who is “hotly embarrassed” and “indignant”. In addition, we are told by the narrator that he was “like that”, a phrase that contains a very negative connotation. The narrator continues to describe the husband’s extreme, unkind reaction to the surprise by explaining that s/he “saw him say something under his breath-some punishing thing, quick and curt and unkind”.

    In the last sentence of the short story, the narrator describes that the wife sits “crying quietly and heartbrokenly and hopelessly, all to herself, under the gay brim of her best hat”. The description words that Brush uses to describe the wife’s reaction is what gives us the sense that she is left empty and hurt. However, it is the contrast of the gayety of her hat and her hopeless reaction that leaves the most impact on the reader.

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  4. By: Zack Plutzer

    In “The Birthday Party,” Katherine Brush describes what at first seems to be an innocent dinner between an “unmistakably married” husband and wife. However, when the couple is viewed closer it can be seen that this dinner ends up going incredibly wrong. Brush’s use of metaphor and diction show how things aren’t always what they seem.

    The story starts off by describing the couple in a positive manner. The husband has a “round self-satisfied face” and the wife is “fadingly pretty”. This use of description depicts a positive feeling around the couple. The story then continues and tells the reader that the wife is wearing a “big hat”. This hat isn’t just a piece of clothing; it’s also a metaphor. This hat is a metaphor for the wife’s big heart. The wife brought her husband out for dinner for his birthday. This was her way of being romantic and loving her husband.

    The wife decided that bringing her husband out to dinner wouldn’t be enough. She decides to also surprise him with a “ Small glossy cake”. Brush’s diction in describing the cake particularly the word “small” garners a lot of depth. The wife saw her surprise of a cake as something small that she hoped her husband would be pleasantly surprised to receive. However, when the cake arrives the husband reacts in a large manner. The husband was “hotly embarrassed” by the cake and the restaurant’s rendition of Happy Birthday.

    Once the entire restaurant stopped singing, the husband began to berate his wife. Brush uses the words punishing and unkind to describe the husband’s reaction to his wife. This diction shows how the husband didn’t appreciate his wife’s “big heart” and all that she did for him. When Brush introduces the husband with a self-satisfying face she was hinting to the deeper characteristics of the husband. He didn’t see the hard work and love that his wife put into the night, all he felt was the embarrassment of everyone staring at him. The story ends with the wife crying “under the gay brim of her best hat”. This further shows the metaphor of the wife’s hat as her heart. Her big heart was the reason she was crying. Even though her intentions were in her husband’s best interest he didn’t want to be surprised.

    In “The Birthday Party” Katherine Brush shows how things aren’t always what they seem. The couple originally seems to be having a lovely evening and enjoying each other’s company. However, we later see that the Husband has selfish characteristics and is unable to see the “big heart” that his wife is expressing.

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  5. Rose Fattakhov

    The story story, “Birthday Party,” by Katharine Brush was written in the year 1946. Brush uses diction, imagery, and point of view as her literary devices to portray her purpose in writing this short story. Brush’s purpose is to show the reader something most people know at the back of their mind, but might unintentionally ignore. The purpose is to show that people might look nice and kind. They don’t look as if they could really upset someone. They look as if they don’t have a dark side. But then suddenly, you see it. You see the truth and all that was hidden. Everything could all be unboxed by one event. In this case, it is a surprise that a wife had planned for her husband out of love and he had been so embarrassed by the situation, he made her cry.

    At first the author makes the couple look healthy. The speaker says “they look unmistakably married” and “There was nothing conspicuous about them, nothing particularly noticeable…” This makes the reader think the couple is in an okay place because of the author's use of diction. The speaker then describes how his wife had reacted to the surprise that she had given. “...shy pride over her little surprise…” She had been happy, but closed off her happiness a little because she might have been nervous about her husband's reaction knowing their relationship better than anyone else in the restaurant. We really get the sense of how negative their relationship is with “Instead, he was hotly embarrassed, and indignant at his wife for embarrassing him.” A good husband in a good marriage would have definitely appreciated this surprise from their wife. Instead, this man was completely embarrassed and upset at his wife for something that came truly from the heart. Also, the husband had whispered something to his wife, which made her upset and he left her “crying quietly and heartbrokenly and hopelessly.” A good husband would not leave his wife crying and would also not make his wife cry for something she did out of kindness and love.

    The author described the situation of the surprise through imagery. “It arrived, in the form of a small but glossy birthday cake, with one pink candle burning in the center. The head waiter brought it in and placed it before the husband, and meanwhile, the violin-and-piano orchestra played “Happy Birthday to You,” and the wife beamed…” The author makes us picture this cake that the wife had a waiter bring out as a surprise for her husband's birthday. This entire situation of the cake and surprise is what made the husband show his true colors in public. One minute a person can seem one way and another minute passes by and they can be a totally different person.

    The last literary device the author uses is point of view. We get the point of view of the speaker, who is sitting in the same restaurant as married couple. The speaker is at another table and notices the couple. He doesn’t see anything out of the ordinary with the couple at first. He thinks the man and woman are nice. Except, the man isn’t. The speaker discovers this once the surprise from the wife is revealed. The husband does not appreciate his wife’s effort to make this birthday special. The reader would not have been able to see this without the surprise. Without the surprise, the couple could have passed as a healthy couple.

    All these literary devices help prove the author’s purpose of knowing that a person might look nice and isn’t or vice versa.

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  6. Doron Karimzadeh
    In the short story “Birthday Party”, Katharine Brush uses various literary devices to help convey her purpose. She mainly uses imagery and diction to do so. The short story is about a married couple at a restaurant, who are celebrating a birthday. Brush describes the man as having a “round, self-satisfying face, with glasses on it” giving us an arrogant impression towards him. The woman, however, was “fadingly pretty, in a big hat” making her seem to look somewhat more respectable. This use of imagery and diction give us a sense of what kind of people they were. By the end of the first paragraph, we are told that they were having dinner for the husband’s birthday, “and the wife had planned a little surprise for him”. Though it seems like this would be a joyous occasion, it ended to be quite the contrary.

    Brush describes the surprise to be a “small but glossy cake, with one pink candle burning in the center.” Though it may not have been so grand, this seems like a kind enough gesture done by the wife. In addition to the cake, “the violin-and-piano orchestra played “Happy Birthday To You,” showing how festive an occasion it was, as the wife “beamed with shy pride over her little surprise.” The wife thought she had done a kind, loving thing by surprising her husband, yet the author writes that he was “hotly embarrassed, and indignant at his wife for embarrassing him.” This choice of diction shows us how arrogant he was for not appreciating his wife’s sweet gesture.

    He was so ungrateful of the surprise that when all the attention had shifted away from him, the narrator claims to have seen him say “some punishing thing, quick and curt and unkind” to his wife under his breath. These harsh words led to the wife “crying quietly and heartbrokenly and hopelessly, all to herself, under the gay big brim of her best hat.” The use of the words “under the gay big brim of her best hat” show us that she wore her best hat, implicating that she put such an effort into making this a nice and romantic evening for her husband, yet he found the moment to be quite embarrassing. Bush’s use of literary devices, such as imagery and diction, definitely help achieve her purpose of writing the story. The husband was unimpressed and embarrassed with his wife’s small yet thoughtful birthday surprise. The use of imagery helps describe the scene of the occasion, and the diction help us understand how both the man and the woman felt while it was happening.

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  7. Michali Betesh
    "The Birthday Party", a short story by Katherine Bush is a disturbingly sad story. The author uses a variety of literary devices including imagery, diction, and point of view to help portray the purpose of her story. The story begins with what seems like an "unmistakably married couple" enjoying a nice dinner together, but for some unapparent reason the night ends horribly.

    Katherine Bush begins her story by using descriptive language and imagery to set the scene, the year is 1946 and the couple is enjoying an evening at a restaurant. The story is narrated by another customer at the restaurant. We are immediately introduced to the characters, a husband and wife both in their late thirties. The husband is described as having a "self-satisfied face" and the woman was "fadingly pretty, in a big hat". By describing the characters this way it is already clear that
    The husband cannot be pleased or satisfied by anyone by himself, but his wife has clearly spent years trying which has taken a toll on her over the years and has caused her beauty to fade. The story then goes on to explain how the wife planned a surprise for her husbands birthday and while she beamed with pride as the headwaiter brought out a "small birthday cake", the husband showed nothing but disappointment. "The husband was not pleased.  Instead, he was hotly embarrassed, and indignant at his wife for embarrassing him". The author was very specific with her use of diction, she purposefully describes the cake as small in order to show that the wife was trying to make a small gesture in order to make her husband happy on his birthday, but even the smallest gesture seemed to upset him.

    The narrator then goes on to describe that once the cake was placed on the table, the husband muttered something to his wife under his breath and he couldn't bear to see her reaction, but ultimately he saw her crying quietly and heartbrokenly to herself "under the gay big brim of her best hat". The author chose to end the story with the narrator describing the wife's hat again in order to show that the hat could be depicted as a metaphor of the wife's heart. The wife is such a loving and caring person with a big heart who only wants to please her husband but only gets hate in return, causing her to feel lowly of herself and ultimately making her hide in her shadow.

    Katherine Bush used these literary devices in order to help prove her purpose that you never truly know what a person is going through when you look at them at first glance. The speaker originally thought that this was a nice middle aged couple with nothing conspicuous about them and they were a normal couple. But at the end of the story it was clear to the speaker that the wife was in a toxic relationship and even though her husband may have seemed like a self-satisfied, yet nice man in the beginning there was clearly a lot more to be learned about their relationship and who they were as individuals.

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  8. Erica Zaretsky

    “Birthday Party” by Katharine Brush is a short story about a wife surprising her husband on his birthday however, she does not get the response most people would think. Brush uses multiple literary devices to get the purpose of the story across.

    One literary device that was used was imagery. In the first paragraph Brush describes the couples appearance “The man had a round, self-satisfied face, with glasses on it; the woman was fadingly pretty, in a big hat.” The author mentions that there is nothing that dragged attention to them and that there was nothing particularly noticeable about them. Later though, we learn that it’s the husbands birthday and the wife has a little surprise for him. In the second paragraph we get a visual description of the cake that he was surprised with “It arrived, in the form of a small but glossy birthday cake, with one pink candle burning in the center. “More imagery is then used “meanwhile, the violin-and-piano orchestra played “Happy Birthday To You,”. These descriptions help the reader understand what the wife has done for him. The wife has pride from what she has done but her husband is anything but pleased.” Instead, he was hotly embarrassed, and indignant at his wife for embarrassing him.” Imagery was used here to show how displeased the husband was. In the last paragraph the reader can get a sense of what the husband is actually like “I saw him say something to her under his breath – some punishing thing, quick and curt and unkind” He yelled at his wife for something that was supposed to be a kind loving gesture. We get a sense of how hurt the wife is from how he had reacted “Crying quietly and heartbrokenly and hopelessly, all to herself, under the gay big brim of her best hat.” The imagery that was used really showed why Brush wrote this short story which is how some things are not as they seem to look from the outside.

    Another literary device used was irony. The irony was that in the beginning of the story the couple seemed like a ordinary and normal couple. However, we eventually see that they are not. Rather, this is most likely anything but a normal relationship. Based on the way he reacted their relationship most not be healthy.

    Brush’s purpose of showing how things may not be what is seen on the outside but, rather what is really underneath the surface is clearly expressed.

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  9. Erica Zaretsky

    “Birthday Party” by Katharine Brush is a short story about a wife surprising her husband on his birthday however, she does not get the response most people would think. Brush uses multiple literary devices to get the purpose of the story across.

    One literary device that was used was imagery. In the first paragraph Brush describes the couples appearance “The man had a round, self-satisfied face, with glasses on it; the woman was fadingly pretty, in a big hat.” The author mentions that there is nothing that dragged attention to them and that there was nothing particularly noticeable about them. Later though, we learn that it’s the husbands birthday and the wife has a little surprise for him. In the second paragraph we get a visual description of the cake that he was surprised with “It arrived, in the form of a small but glossy birthday cake, with one pink candle burning in the center. “More imagery is then used “meanwhile, the violin-and-piano orchestra played “Happy Birthday To You,”. These descriptions help the reader understand what the wife has done for him. The wife has pride from what she has done but her husband is anything but pleased.” Instead, he was hotly embarrassed, and indignant at his wife for embarrassing him.” Imagery was used here to show how displeased the husband was. In the last paragraph the reader can get a sense of what the husband is actually like “I saw him say something to her under his breath – some punishing thing, quick and curt and unkind” He yelled at his wife for something that was supposed to be a kind loving gesture. We get a sense of how hurt the wife is from how he had reacted “Crying quietly and heartbrokenly and hopelessly, all to herself, under the gay big brim of her best hat.” The imagery that was used really showed why Brush wrote this short story which is how some things are not as they seem to look from the outside.

    Another literary device used was irony. The irony was that in the beginning of the story the couple seemed like a ordinary and normal couple. However, we eventually see that they are not. Rather, this is most likely anything but a normal relationship. Based on the way he reacted their relationship most not be healthy.

    Brush’s purpose of showing how things may not be what is seen on the outside but, rather what is really underneath the surface is clearly expressed.

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  10. Shoshana Orenstein
    The short story, "Birthday Party," written by Katharine Bush is a sad story between a husband and wife who seem like an "unmistakably married" couple, but in reality, have issues within the relationship. Literary devices such as diction and imagery are used to depict the purpose of how things aren't always what they seem.

    The couple looks "unmistakably married," when they are sharing a dinner together. However, when the wife performs a birthday gesture for her husband, he becomes angry and makes her cry. The "little surprise" the wife planned for the husband was supposed to be as it is described, little. However, the surprise that may seem little at first turned into an event that left the wife heartbroken and hopeless. The hat that the wife wore to dinner was her "best hat." She intended the dinner to be a nice occasion that she could share with her husband so she wore her best hat. When seeing the hat, one may realize that it's being worn for a nice occasion. However, after this dinner, the hat is being used to cry under.

    "The man had a round, self-satisfied face, with glasses on it; the woman was fadingly pretty, in a big hat." Having a "self-satisfied face," the husband felt superior through his arrogance. The woman on the other hand was "fadingly pretty." The woman's beauty was fading and therefore she was inferior to her husband. Being that the wife's looks were not matching her husband's, she hid underneath her big hat that she wore to the dinner. The surprise the wife had for her husband was a "small but glossy birthday cake, with one pink candle burning in the center." One may think the gesture was small, but the husband's reaction was a very large one. Although the gesture may have been small, the wife intended it to be something special that she and her husband could share.

    The purpose of this short story was to show that things aren't always what they seem. The couple looked like they were having a good time together until the birthday gesture began and things started to go downhill. It is clear by the reaction of the husband that this relationship is not the greatest and without this gesture, no one would know that there are issues regarding the relationship. However, there are.

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  11. In the short story Birthday Party, written in 1946 by Katharine Brush, we see a clear purpose shown by many literary devices. This purpose is to convey to readers the feeling of sadness and pity felt for the woman in the short story along with a feeling of anger at her husband for bringing these feelings upon her. This purpose is achieved through the use of imagery, noises, and diction.

    The story starts off by using imagery when telling us they look unmistakably married. This alone gives us the notion of two people who love and care for each other. As it goes on describing them with further imagery, we are told about their appearance, with the husband being described as having a self-satisfied face, while the wife is fadingly pretty with a big hat. From this alone with already get a negative connation of the husband and a positive connation of the wife. Next, we have narrator use more imagery to describe that they looked like any other normal couple, meaning happy and loving towards each other, without any red flags of anything more. Then suddenly, we the narrator sees that it seems as if is a special occasion, which was the husbands birthday, and even more so that the wife had planned a surprise for it. From the special occasion we see that there should be a sense of happiness and joy to it, and from the wife’s surprise we see that she loved him so much that she just wanted to see him happy by enjoying his birthday.

    In the next stanza, the birthday cake is described, again using imagery. The gloss cake and pink candle both represent the joy of a birthday and the vision of something which would bring happiness to anyone, while the flame represents the light it brings to people’s lives. With the sound of the song happy birthday, we are also given the message of happiness through music and through this specific song. We are told that the wife “beamed with shy pride”, showing how proud she was of this display of affection for her husband, and how happy she was to make him happy. With the sound of the applause of the people, we see their joy of this display. With all of these forms of imagery and sound, we see that this surprise should have been a cheerful and joyful one that the husband would love and be thankful for.

    Nevertheless, the narrator tells us that the husband appeared to not be as pleased as everyone else at this, and that he had the audacity to be mad at his wife for embarrassing him. This imagery helps us achieve the purpose by having us feel mad at the husband for being so unreasonable by being mad at his wife for simply doing a kind gesture. This is not only self-satisfied (as he was previously described) and selfish, but it was also him lacking feelings for his wife and being callous towards her. While she was only trying to be kind and caring and doing something nice for her husband, he was only caring about being embarrassed and what his wife did to him.

    Lastly, we see the impression this left on the narrator. As if it could not get worse, we have her show us that it could. Once the cake was at the table the husband said something curt and unkind to his wife. From this imagery we really get mad at the husband for treating his wife like this. His own wife, who he should treat better than anyone else, especially when she is being kind to him, he treated cruelly and coldly. This was so bad that we even see that the narrator had to look away. This imagery shows us how unbearable the husband’s insensitivity was. However, when she looked up, she saw the woman “crying quietly and heartbrokenly and hopelessly”, under the “gay big brim of her best hat”. This use of imagery is the final thing that makes us angry at the husband for making her feel like this. He acted so terribly to her that he even made her cry, when she was only glad to be out with him for his birthday, which is portrayed by her hat.

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  12. “Birthday Party” written by Katherine Brush in 1946 is a powerful short-story that moves its reader through its 21 lines— that’s saying something. Brush moves her readers through her purpose of making the reader feel the pain that the wife in the story is going through when her selfish husband embarrasses her for ordering him a birthday cake, something totally horrific. Brush uses irony, imagery, foreshadowing, and sound in order to convey her purpose to her audience while simultaneously moving them so.

    Brush writes that “they were a couple in their late thirties, and they looked unmistakably married,” and later writes “there was nothing conspicuous about them, nothing particularly noticeable,” which immediately triggers the element of foreshadowing she is employing here. Brush is foreshadowing that something inevitable will go wrong; a quote on quote “mistake” will happen; something conspicuous will occur— or why else would Brush have thrown in that the couple was”unmistakably” married and there was nothing “conspicuous” about them!? We as the audience could infer that the couple was happily married if the author had left these almost obvious details out! Therefore, it is evident that Brush intentionally included these details to hint that something was indeed wrong and that there was conflict in the marriage we are thrown into, as demonstrated by the husband’s horrific actions toward his wife. These two lines, along with the title, “Birthday Party,” also showcase the evident irony of the story. By starting the story off with the title of “Birthday Party,” the reader would presume that the work would be one of joy and happiness—something fun and exciting. However, as the reader progresses and introduces the couple, and deliberately states that there is nothing “conspicuous” or mistaken about the two, it is ironic because there totally is, as seen when the husband selfishly embarrasses his wife for ordering him a birthday cake!

    In order to transition the reader to the events that occur, Brush uses imagery to set the scene. “It arrived, in the form of a small but glossy birthday cake, with one pink candle burning in the center,” showcasing the imagery Brush is employing to illustrate and paint the picture for the reader to see: a wife ordered a glossy, beautiful cake to show her love for her husband. This imagery is so significant because it not only conveys a clear picture to the reader, but it also shows what the other people in the restaurant were observing— the fact that the cake was so beautiful was mentioned by the character watching the scene, showing that it caught their eye as well, as they described it so eloquently.

    The obnoxious husband in the story was so embarrassed by the good intentions and actions that his wife resembled and performed for him that the observer “saw him say something to her under his breath—some punishing thing.” This shows the lowliness and the tension the marriage encompassed, as if this is what his birthday turned out to be, what was an ordinary night in the household like?! The text continues to say that this “punishing thing” that the man said to his wife was “quick and curt and unkind,” employing the use of the hard “k” sound which makes the reader hear and ultimately feel the harsh behavior and attitude the husband presented toward his wife.

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  13. When reading the "Birthday Party", the reader initially infers that this short story will be discussing an occasion celebrated by a couple; a natural, comfortable couple analogous to many other married couples. Despite this inference, the first literary device used by Brush, the literary device of foreshadowing, portrays that this is not the case. With the line "there was nothing conspicuous about them, nothing particularly noticeable" and the description that exclaimed that the couple looked as though they were "unmistakably married", it is insinuated that this couple was indeed conspicuous.
    Another aspect of the story that undoubtedly provokes the reader is the unexpected turn of events. Despite initially assuming that this couple was a natural, content couple, this was far from the truth. This is evident when Brush describes the resentment the husband treats his wife with subsequent to her lovely surprise. “But he was like that, and as soon as the little cake had been deposited on the table, and the orchestra had finished the birthday piece, and the general attention had shifted from the man and woman, I saw him say something to her under his breath – some punishing thing, quick and curt and unkind.” In this line, Brush creates a sense of empathy with her use of alliteration and diction; “quick and curt and unkind”. With this hard K sound, the audience is almost able to live vicariously through the wife, feeling the harsh words that her husband is brutally spitting at her.
    Another aspect of the poem that helped differentiate between the couple that the audience initially assumed this couple was and the couple they actually were is the diverse connotations that are used when describing the wife and the husband. When describing the husband, Brush describes the husband as a man with a “round, self-satisfied face” and the woman as “fadingly pretty”. Though the audience maybe assuming that these descriptions are just simple descriptions providing a little more information about the characters, this isn’t the case. With the description of “a round, self-satisfied face”, Brush gives off a negative connotation, these words exhibiting the arrogance and unscrupulous that was inherent in this brutal man that rebuked his wife for her loving gesture. With the description of “fadingly pretty”, there is both a positive and negative connotation. Although it seems as though there is this loveliness instilled in this wife, a woman who takes pride in small gestures such as surprising her husband with a birthday cake, her husband is causing this loveliness to disintegrate, or to fade.

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  14. Estee Sigal

    “Birthday Party” is a heartbreaking short story written by Katharine Brush. Her purpose of the story is to show the readers that not everything looks and seems how it actually is. Brush uses literary devices such as foreshadowing, diction, and alliteration. The story tells the tale of a couple that seem to be having an amazing dinner, but it all turns around and becomes a somber evening when the wife does something to upset her husband.

    Brush’s choice of description for explaining the couple’s appearances seems as simple as that, but in reality she is also giving the reader insight into the personalities of the couple as well. “The man had a round, self-satisfied face,” showing his arrogance and self confidence in his power. “The woman was fadingly pretty,” showing that she was silent and introverted. Additionally there is the opposite in their accessories. He has glasses while she is “in a big hat.” These components of their outfits show his intelligence and her hidden personalities.

    Brush uses foreshadowing to show that the reader’s initial assumption that this is “a couple in their late thirties, and they looked unmistakably married,” is incorrect and about to be totally skewed. The use of the words “there was nothing conspicuous about them, nothing particularly noticeable” gives the reader a sense of anticipation that something very noticeable is about to happen to the couple. And it does; it comes in the other paragraphs. “It became clear at once that help was needed, because the husband was not pleased. Instead, he was hotly embarrassed, and indignant at his wife for embarrassing him.”

    Another literary device Brush uses is alliteration. Once the husband has been agitated from the situation regarding the birthday cake, he says “some punishing thing, quick and curt and unkind.” These three adjectives with the hard K sound is so harsh and the reader can practically hear the bitter and sharp words of the man.

    These literary devices, among others, ensure that Katharine Brush is capable of getting her point across. She proves to the reader that you don’t see everything that is happening with people. You never know what is going on behind closed doors, or even “under his breath.”

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    Happy Birthday Cake for wife

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