James Hurst's Use of Symbols to Create a Mood.
James Hurst effectively uses symbolism in the first paragraphs of his short stories to create a mood filled with despair, gloominess, life, and death.
To create a gloomy feeling, James Hurst used the changing of seasons. In "The Scarlet Ibis," he wrote that summer was now dead, but autumn had not yet been born. Also, in "The Summer of Two Figs," James Hurst created the statement: a summer born of fulsome promise faded into falling leaves unfulfilled. A feeling of desolation was presented here when Hurst implied that summer was born with great promise that eventually evanesced without being fulfilled. Another emotion stirred up by the two phrases was a slow passage of time that seemed to go on forever. This was revealed by seasons that had ended without the next one coming.
When James Hurst wrote the starting paragraphs of his short stories, he added in death. "Graveyard flowers who spoke softly of the names of the dead," written in "The Scarlet Ibis," hinted that there was a nearby graveyard filled with deadly air. In "The Summer of Two Figs," the fabric originally meant for a party dress that ended up turning into a shroud, allowed one to sense that a dead organism was lurking nearby. The statement "evil lurking around the perimeters of the homesteads," not only represented a horrid feeling of death, but also created a sense of dread and dismay for the place being described.
When James Hurst mentioned in both paragraphs that summer had started and was going to soon end, he indicated that there was a life about. In the life presented, there would be a beginning, and an end. Similar to the people and animals in his stories that would also come, and pass away. The feeling of life in the air was also shown when James Hurst, in "The Scarlet Ibis," described a graveyard flower blooming. The graveyard flower blooming was a sign of life flowing through it, and there would also be a death for the flower in addition to the feeling of death brought on by the flower itself.