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The plot of the story is cast in a linear fashion. This can be seen in the manner in which Saenz lets the reader be carried by one event to another so that it is let in on Zach’s life and full glare of his predicament. For instance, the problems that are to herald Zach’s ending up in rehabilitation centre and loss of memory are well shown to emanate from an alcoholic father, an abusive brother and a depressed mother. These setbacks precipitate intrapersonal shift so that Zach becomes too silent, confused, hopeless and lonely. Subsequently, this development at the home sets precedence for Zach to contemplate running away from the house that is no longer a home to him, from the house that gives him only nightmares, bad memories and the monster that appears in his dreams. Thus, Zach, a rather brilliant student finds himself in the deep mire of alcoholism to an extent that he finds himself cabin 9, bed three; all in a rehabilitation centre.
The Metaphors, Symbols and Characters in the Novel
The author uses metaphors and symbols in the story, by for instance referring to problems as monsters. This lets the reader in; into the extent these problems bedevil Zach’s emotional and psychological wellbeing. At the same time, the substitution of ‘problems’ with ‘monsters’ help the reader notice that the fear of these problems that haunt Zach, comes from the fact that Zach is still too young to withstand the reality of these problems.
The characters in the novel also help underscore the various themes that are sparsely distributed in the book. First and foremost, it is in Zach, the author’s mouthpiece that the events unfolding in the book are clearly orchestrated. In Zach, readers or the audience are let in on the gravity of parents loosing it to alcoholism, depression, negligence and abuse at home. Similarly, it is in Zach that the effects of teenage frustration and mistreatment are made to come alive as alcoholism is depicted by the author as a symptom of a greater monster (problem) that haunts Zach. As a matter of fact, a careful analysis at Saenz’s standpoint towards Zach seems to intimate that the tale tale sign of a child who has given up and is headed alongside a primrose path is rapid decline in once so brilliant academic performance and the caving in to juvenile delinquency and alcoholism (Pinker, 2009, 75).
Other characters such as Rafael exist in the story to be used by the author to show that goodness is a value that transcends disability of any nature. Despite the murky circumstance he is in, Rafael is a very good and friendly influence to Zach. As a matter of fact, he brings cathartic effect to Zach’s chaotic life, thus aiding in his recovery. The gravity of Rafael’s positive influence is seen in the instance where with tears rolling down his cheeks, blurring his vision, he remembers that the very last time he felt alive was when his friend Rafael sang to him. Similarly, the fact that the author intimates that help may come out of unlikely quarters is underscored by the fact that Rafael brooks a friendly relationship, successfully despite the big age difference between himself and Zach.
In a closely related wavelength, the presence and creation of the character Rafael helps the author bring about irony and use it as a literary device. For instance, it is ironical that Zach’s father cannot show Zach parental love, to an extent he, together with his wife, is oblivious of the abuse Zach goes through. The irony in the story is also found in the fact that Zach finds comfort within the precincts of a rehabilitation centre, in lieu of his home. Similarly, it is when readers are let in on Zach blacking out to alcohol that a new life begins in his life.
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