Bonnie Burnard's "Joyride" Analysis

Essay by trait47College, UndergraduateA-, December 2004

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Bonnie Burnard's "Joyride"

The story that unfolds in Bonnie Burnard's "Joyride," in which a woman attempts to evade the harassment of three truck drivers, is narrated from third-person, limited omniscient point-of-view to present the reader with information regarding the thoughts and experiences of the protagonist, the woman. The story would be completely different had it been narrated from third-person, limited point-of-view, because we wouldn't be privy to her imagination, nor to her close relationship with her family members. Furthermore, narration from the woman's first-person point-of-view would show the situation as being far more menacing than it actually is. As we will see, the story's effectiveness is directly related to the fact that it is narrated in third-person, limited omniscient.

The story's opening establishes the woman as being imaginative; this helps the reader to assume that her thoughts will have an important role, which will have an affect on the situation.

The first paragraph shows that the woman amuses herself with her imagination, since she "[Hopes] to catch the exact moment of connection between the warm round base and the flat wheat fields" (56). This "game" (56) she thinks up shows that her imagination is creative enough to stop her boredom. Furthermore, her belief that others play the same "game" not only re-enforces her character as having an inventive mind, but also shows that her thoughts are pleasant and peaceful. Her thoughts are portrayed near the beginning of the story to show the woman's wild imagination and the transformation it undergoes once her safety begins to deteriorate.

Throughout the story, the woman's imagination alters the intensity of the situation, causing her rationality and emotionality to change. Her thoughts often heighten her fears and modify the situation to be worse than necessary. As the night begins to escalate, her imagination...