In "Hands," how does the imagery of the scene in the first paragraph forecast themes developed later?



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It is important to focus on the way in which the author uses the first image of this story to introduce the important and crucial theme of loneliness and alienation. This is shown through the initial image of Wing Biddlebaum walking up and down on his porch, hoping desperately that his one and only friend will pay him a visit. He is alone, and it is indicated that he is shunned by society, as the group of people he can see from his porch who make fun of him demonstrate. We are thus presented with a man who is lonely but desiring human connection in a world where he is shunned by society.

This initial image is one that is supported by the final image of the story, when Wing is still alone, but this time on his knees collecting breadccrumbs from the floor. Sandwiched in between these two vivid images of solitude are various memories that capture the experiences of Wing in his loneliness and isolation before he came to Ohio. The theme of isolation and how this impacts Wing is thus shown from the initial scene of this story.


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