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Literary Analysis of The Pie by Gary Soto

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Almost no human being can deny they haven’t done something that they wish they could take back or regret. At some point in a lifetime, anyone can recall an unfortunate event in their life that they wish they could go back in time to redo it. In his memoir, “The Pie”, Gary Soto portrays how religion impacted his struggle with his decisions and to explain his guilt due to his struggle with making moral decisions. In his piece of literature, he includes a lot of vivid imagery, contrast, and diction to depict a child of six years of his views and how religion affects the thoughts and offer a distinctive point of view into the mind of a delinquent six year old.

In Soto’s memoir, contrast is used to demonstrate a point of view from a child’s standpoint as well as a religious one too. In the beginning of the passage, Soto’s begins to explain, “I knew enough about hell to stop me from stealing. I was holy in almost every bone.” Soto compares being holy in every bone to hell. This highlights that Gary knows how frightening hell is, and because of that reason, he wants to refrain himself from stealing at any cost. The only flaw is that the parents can’t teach their children about morals and anticipate that they will instantaneously embrace the values being taught. Gary explains how boredom made him sin. The author uses imagery as Gary is in the market with his eyes locked into the nine different kinds of pie, pecan and apple being his favorite. This visual detail further presents the desire for Gary to steal the pie. Through the image of the mouth-watering pie, the reader comprehends the eagerness of the boy to obtain the pie. This sentence can be read on a religious view point where one can compare the different pies to sins because they are all different flavors and good, but they are the same deep down. Gary also explains that he knew that the apple got Eve in trouble and despite knowing the type of sin that Eve committed, Gary proceeds to steal the pie. Through the use of contrast, diction, imagery as well as allusion, the author thoroughly explains how Gary was impacted by the decisions he made because of his religion yet his desire overpowered his determination to stay holy throughout his mind and soul.

Transitioning from the market into the neighborhood, as Soto describes how he is eating the savory pie, he mentions back to his guilt when Cross-eyed Johnny asks Gary if he could have some of the pie and Gary tells him to get away. He then proceeds to devour the pie once again. Johnny watched as Gary pushed the pie greedily down his throat. The narrator uses contrast between his human wants and Christian route. He expresses that he is feeling guilty but then resumes to demolishing the pie. This shows the influence of Christianity on Gary but also his maturity as a six year old kid. The narrator also uses allusion where the pies can be compared to the holy apple where Eve resembles Gary in which they both committed a sin because of their desire for an object. Later, when Soto describes himself eating the pie, he explains that the slop was sweet and gold-colored and it was the best thing he’s ever tasted. Once again, the narrator relates this using allusion to the tree of knowledge and Eve. When Gary ate the pie, he instantly realised that the pie was the best tasting thing but at the same time it was unclean for his mind. Through the use of vivid imagery and outstanding use of diction, Soto greatly emphasizes the narrator’s desire for the pie and allows the reader to comprehend what greatly driven him to steal. Gary says, “my sweet tooth gleaming and the juice of guilt wetting my underarms.” This flawlessly portrays how induced the narrator was to steal that pie. The statement also highlights the lack of maturity from Gary as well as the strength of desire for Gary to acquire a pie. Throughout the passage, Soto is seen repeating “the shadow of angels and the proximity of God howling in the plumbing underneath the house…” He uses this repetition to express the guilt he felt as god was watching him. Nearing the end of the passage, the author utters, “I listened, ear pressed to a cold pipe, and heard a howl like the sea.” Gary believes that the howl is God’s anger and disappointment towards the actions that the narrator took in the market which causes Soto to undergo a sense of guilt.

In the end, portraying allusion, like Adam and Eve hid from God in the Garden of Eden, Gary is also hiding from the pressure of the sin he committed and the guilt that comes along. At the end, when the tin cover for the pie rolls away, there is a very important lesson being presented. Even though you can get rid of something physically for the moment, you and God will always remember it and it will stick to your conscious forever. Eve extracts the apple and Gary stole the pie only thinking of the short term satisfaction in that moment without considering the consequences of guilt or punishment. Moreover, if they would have just thought of the possible outcomes or consequences, then they might have been able to avoid sinning. Yes, for all I know, if we as individual always took a second to think before we act, if we would just think about the tragedies or frightening outcomes, then maybe the world might be a better place.

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Literary Analysis Of The Pie By Gary Soto. (2022, February 21). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 1, 2023, from
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