Analysis of the Character Development of Aunt Flavia: Short Stort Analysis

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Characterization is one of the most important elements of a story. The author must be able to convey the traits and personality of the character to the reader. The descriptions of the characters are what make each of them inimitable, and their different views are what form the actual plot of the story. From the descriptions given, the reader should be able to jump into the minds of the characters and infer the types of decisions and actions that the characters would probably make throughout the story. In her short story, “The Disappearance of Great Aunt Flavia,” Amanda Cross creates the unique character of Aunt Flavia through simple dialogue and different points of view.

Amanda Cross develops the character of Aunt Flavia through clear and concise dialogue. Aunt Flavia is the sort of person that will comment on every minute detail that she doesn’t think fits with the subject. In the middle of describing a movie to Kate, Aunt Flavia interrupts the description with a comment about the smallest detail that she finds ironic and just a bit odd, “We learn that his wife without him would have become a spinster in glasses working in a library (a fate hideous proportions, needless to say, despite the fact that she is played by a gorgeous actress who would have had no trouble joining a well paying high- class bordello…)” (Cross 74).

The comments that Aunt Flavia makes are very opinionated and biased. The actress is considered beautiful by most people, but Aunt Flavia sees her as someone who is fit for a brothel house. The fact that Aunt Flavia states her opinion so easily and does not have second thoughts about what she is saying shows that she is not worried about people judging her based on her sometimes crude opinions. Aunt Flavia’s commentary and views on the subject of what she is talking about is usually the opposite of what one would infer. Aunt Flavia comments that in the movie, “[if he died]…some druggist would have killed someone with the wrong prescription… Lionel Barrymore… would have taken over the town” (Cross 74). It would seem as though Aunt Flavia’s views on the subject of the movie would be the same as anyone else’s. Each person in the world is important and they are the cause of happiness in other people’s lives. Instead, Aunt Flavia portrays her views on the movie using harsh words such as “garbage.” The word “garbage” shows that she thinks the movie itself was nothing but rubbish and that nothing so “cheesy” could happen.

Amanda Cross tactfully uses different points of view in a way that shows the contrasting opinions of Aunt Flavia through the eyes of other characters. The way that Aunt Flavia is perceived through the other members of her family, shows how unique of a character she is, “Leo and I tended to find Great Aunt Flavia a bit much until Kate told us to see Lily Tomlin as a bag lady in touch with people from outer space” (Cross 71). The narrator and the character, Leo, see Aunt Flavia as an odd person because she is not exactly like the rest of their family. Their opinions of Aunt Flavia reinforce her uniqueness and difference from others. Kate’s opinion of Aunt Flavia rivals that of her other family members. She recognizes Aunt Flavia’s independence from her family and her difference in attitude from the elderly people who give up on really living life, as healthy, “Be invisible, discover things…too few people take advantage of the fun of being old; they’re always trying to pass for young” (Cross 75). Kate’s idea that Aunt Flavia could discover more things and not let her elder age stop her, suggests that Aunt Flavia is an adventurous woman that does not let petty things like age get in the way of her life.

Amanda Cross creates the distinct character of Aunt Flavia in her short story “The Disappearance of Aunt Flavia”, through different points of view and straightforward dialogue. She puts together the many opinions and points of view of her other characters to emphasize the uniqueness of each of them. Her word choice and descriptions makes the story truly come alive. These two elements are what make Aunt Flavia seem like a real person that you could grow to either love or hate. Amanda Cross’s masterful use of dialogue and different points of view makes “The Disappearance of Great Aunt Flavia” a successful and intriguing short story.

Works CitedCross, Amanda. “The Disappearance of Great Aunt Flavia.” The Collected Stories. New York: Random House, 1997. 70-88.