Analysis of Sees Behind Trees by Michael Dorris and Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes

April 28, 2011
Storytelling- The Key to Transformation:
Analysis of Sees Behind Trees by Michael Dorris and Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes
One essential element of a good novel is a story that involves character transformation. Included in any definition of the word transformation is the phrase “a marked change for the better.”   Thus, one might conclude that a good novel must include character transformation that leaves the characters in a better place. Authors have several literary devices at their disposal to accomplish this feat.   In Dorris’ Sees Behind Trees and Grimes’ Bronx Masquerade, the authors utilize storytelling within the novel to advance the plot, pass on cultural lore, enhance communication and understanding between the characters, and foster relationships. As they characters tell their stories and listen to stories, the changes occurring among the protagonists is both dramatic and life altering. The purpose of this essay is to examine the function of storytelling as a literary tool in two novels: Sees Behind Trees by Michael Dorris, and Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes.
Sees Behind Trees is a Native American tale set early in American history. The story concerns a young boy, Walnut (Sees Behind Trees), who is visually impaired. He is at the age of passing into manhood, but is having difficulty because of his eyesight. His journey into manhood is peppered with stories, tempered with adventure, and packed with rapid personal growth and understanding. Bronx Masquerade is set in modern day in the Bronx. The novel revolves around a group of students from the Bronx who are able to give voice to their fears, worries and insecurities and injustices through poetry while learning valuable insights into the lives of those around them. Through writing and sharing of their poetry, the students learn about themselves and as well each other.
How can two so seemingly dissimilar books such as Michael Dorris’ Sees Behind Trees and Nikki Grimes’ Bronx Tale...