The short story “The Hiking Trip”, has Jeff, the main character and the protagonist, facing the problem of attempting to rescue his brother from a poisonous snakebite in a race against time along with coming to terms with his fears. In the duration of the story, the author reveals traits and characteristics of Jeff through the usage of various literary devices such as rich dialogue, detailed imagery, and descriptions of actions. In addition, knowing personal information about the main character allows the reader to better connect to his actions and feelings, leading to an altogether more cohesive story and better understanding and enjoyment of the text.
One of these literary devices was the use of the dialogue “I never wanted to come on this stupid old hiking trip anyway!” and “..I’m scared I don’t even want to have the courage!”(pg. 1), shows that Jeff at the start of the story is a child, incapable of setting aside his own problems in favor of much more pressing emergencies due to his young age and inexperience. Through this, readers can be sure to empathize with his situation and fear that he feels while hiking back with his father. As the story continues, Jeff’s development is jump started with his father providing words of confidence, stating that he is the only one with enough strength to do so. Jeff thinks to himself that he ”.. can’t stop..” and that ”Mark’s in big trouble. Gotta keep going.”(pg. 2), during the rising action, which calls attention to his growing maturity and acceptance of the stressful situation.
Emotions are also heavily expressed in the deliverance of said dialogue with the utilization of adjectives such as “… shrill and panicked..” (pg, 1), enhancing the tone of worry found in this scene. Additionally, when he rebuffs his father’s comforting words, the author writes that he “..retorted.” (pg.2) him, hinting that the tone was sharp and irrational due to the stressful circumstances. In the last sentence, Jeff “..laughs out loud..” (pg. 2), relishing in the light of his success and his father’s praise, finally overcoming his fear.
Imagery and other literary devices that are found throughout the story adds to the overall feel, stating simple actions in new inventive ways making it easier to understand Jeff’s reactions to his environment. In fact, during Jeff’s hike up the canyon, he is impeded by the overhanging limbs that were described as “..nature’s weapons” (pg. 2). This metaphor, along with the personified trees that ”slap[ped] and scratch[ed]” (pg. 2) Jeff, leads readers to the conclusion that the ordinary terrain was now pushing back and creating a challenge just for him, in contrast to the earlier “interesting challenge” (pg. 2). Still he desperately pushed onwards, coming to terms with the fact that if he failed, his brother will most likely die. His dynamicism is highly emphasized during this scene as he relentlessly continues through the rough terrain of the canyon.
Throughout the story, the author garners a variety of responses using different types of literary devices coupled with both diction and dialogue. These devices create an interesting backdrop to a story about a young boy who manages to brave his fears and uncertainties to become an unlikely hero.