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”The Pie” by Gary Soto

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Author, Gary Soto, in his autobiographical narrative “The Pie” reminisces about the first time he committed an evil sin when he was only a six year old boy. Soto’s purpose is to portray the different characteristics between good and evil through psychological references. He uses an overwhelming tone to describe the guilt and self-conscious he felt in a vividly manner to connect emotions with his adult readers. Soto interprets a glimpse of paranoia and a disturbing imagination which incorporates the belief of a psychological disorder within a six year old boy. The imagery Soto uses emphasizes his desires as a young boy. It helps the reader to view the story through a six-year-olds eyes and what would have driven him the most to steal. However, his actions as a six year old lead us to believe he portrays a personality disfunction known as bipolar. David Silverman establishes that the precise link between the dimorphic physical features and personality traits is unclear and children may be affected by displaying a multiple personality disorder (D. Silverman). Soto is aware that stealing the pie is a sin his guilt is amplified when he ignores his knowledge. “My sweet tooth gleaming and the juice of guilt wetting my underarms.”

He expresses his desire for the pie as he deeply expounds the feeling of temptation towards the pie (Soto). Soto remarks that there were nine different kinds of pie at the shop referring to the nine types of sin. Afterwards, Soto is burdened with culpability from his action of having committed a sin yet does not fully regret eating the pie he had stolen in order to emphasize the pleasure it had given him. As a six year old boy, he is not knowledgeable about religion or what is and what is not appropriate to perform yet, is assured that he is holy in almost every bone and accuses boredom for his actions. Paranoia is apparent with the religious allusion, “A squirrel nailed itself high on the trunk” (Soto). By using this religious allusion implicates that his guilt has developed into paranoia. Author, Bruce Bower manifests that children who experience trauma can develop behavioral or other early disorders such as paranoia (2). “Mrs. Hancock stood on her lawn, hands on hip, and she knew. My mom, peeling a mountain of potatoes at the Redi-Spud factory, knew” (Soto).

He becomes suspicious as he believes everyone he is surrounded by is not oblivious to the fact that the delicious pie he was devouring had been stolen. Anxiousness and panic have turned into fear when the young boy realizes he is being observed by others and is afraid he will be caught. The repetition emphasizes the guilt that continued to return to Soto throughout the day and the Christian values instilled within a young self-proclaimed innocent boy. Ultimately, the contrast, imagery, and repetition serve to express Soto’s guilt. Throughout the autobiographical narrative the imagery recreates the story in Soto’s young perspective. Soto expresses through biblical allusions such as Adam and Eve and compares it with stealing a pie and become a sinner judged by a higher being, the Holy Spirit.

Psychological disorders are unusual amongst children and rarely detected by those around them, Soto demonstrates that he lacked attention from his mother by implying he was lonesome while she was working at a factory. Paranoia builds up suspension and magnifies the meaning of the narrative by constructing a belief of a personality disorder of a young child. Weakness and lack of knowledge contribute to a poorly decision child had made in committing a sin which affected him greatly. He is aware of the crime he committed however, is not substantiated to the fact he does not regret acting upon his religious beliefs and favoring pleasure. Soto causes the readers to believe he was not emotionally stable as a child, due to his subconscious and hints of an infinite imagination.

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