Literature Analysis Chart Filet of Soul by J California Cooper

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LITERATURE ANALYSIS CHART of Story J. California Coopers "Filet of Soul_______________________________________________________________ Instructor:
Identify whether they are major or minor characters
Luella a major character in the story
Sedalia, who is Luella’s mother, is also a major character in the story
The conman is a minor character
Sedalia’s high school lover is a minor character
Luella’s true lover is a minor character
The major theme in the story is love. Sedalia is unable to find true love after her high school lover abandons her while she is pregnant. She therefore does her best to prevent her daughter, Luella from falling in love. Luella however ventures out upon her mothers death in an attempt to find love. She falls for a conman who steals from her. She however triumphs by meeting the love of her life.
Another theme in the story is betrayal. Sedalia feels betrayed by love when her lover abandons her while she is pregnant. She also betrays Luella by raising her to believe that she is ugly and unlovable so that she cannot attempt with love. Luella is also betrayed by the conman who steals from her in the pretence of love.

Lastly, another theme is self-identity. Sedalia believes that she cannot fall in love again after being betrayed by her lover. She does not therefore attempt to look for another love. Luella on the other hand grows up believing that she is unlovable and ugly. However, this changes when her mother dies and she attempts to find love. She manages to get true love, but after some betrayal.
Plot Summary—(points at which major changes of development are shown)
Sedalia cannot afford to go to high school prom because of her poverty.
However, Sedalia is enchanted when her teenage lover leaves the prom party to dance with her at the school lawns. They engage in physical overtures that result in her only sexual encounter that leaves her pregnant. She later gives birth to Luella. Because of this, she becomes even poorer than before.
After giving birth to Luella, she vows never to allow her to repeat the same mistakes that she did in her teenage years. To achieve this, she raises Luella by making her to believe that she is ugly and not worth of love from men.
This however backfires when her mother passes away and leaves her a modest inheritance. Luella’s luck changes but not immediately, as she would have imagined.
First, she falls for a conman who tricks her into love and leaves her later own. She feels betrayed because she looses her dignity and inheritance to the conman.
Despite the betrayal and the unfortunate love experience, Luella does not give up on love and she soon manages to find everlasting love.

(identify whether they are internal or external)
a) Sedalia experiences an internal conflict as she struggles with guilt following her unplanned pregnancy after her first sexual experience. The conflict triumphs because she ends up not finding love at all.
b) There is an external conflict between Sedalia and Luella. Sedalia wants to raise Luella in a way that would protect her from heartbreaks and pains of love while Luella wants to explore and experience the true meaning of love. Luella triumphs when her mother passes away.
c) Luella experiences an internal conflict as she struggles with self-identity crisis following the belief that she is unlovable and ugly as uncalculated by her mother. This conflict is however manifested externally as she struggles to find love. Despite being betrayed by the conman, the inner desire to disapprove her mother enables her to find true love.
The story is set in the rural poverty-stricken location. Sedalia is a poor black woman who cannot afford to go to high school prom. The actual events move from the school setting where Sedalia is first betrayed, to a family setting where Luella is being raised up. Upon the death of her Sedalia, story shifts to a town setting where Luella is abandoned by the conman and eventually meets her true love.
Point of View(s)
The story is written from a black woman’s point of view as she struggles to find her identity despite all odds. A back woman struggles to find her identity through the various odds presented by family, love and sexuality. The author’s believe is that one a woman finds her self-identity, she would be able to triumph all obstacles in life, including finding true and satisfying love.
There is the symbol of the struggle and triumph for love. Love has been used to depict the elusive freedom and identity of the black woman. the failure by Sedalia to find true love indicates the many failures women have undergone in search of liberalization and freedom. Being betrayed in love indicates the many challenges that women have to undergo in order to gain self-identity and equality. In the end, Luella manages to conquer all fears and obstacles and finds her everlasting love. This signifies hope for the black woman. It shows that
Cooper, J. California. “Filet of Soul”. The Future Has a Past: Stories. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2007.258-` 170. Print.