Padgett Powell Writing Styles in Trick or Treat

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Setting

“Trick or Treat” is set in the contemporary American South, although the specific state and city are not given. The time period is established by present-day references, such as Jimmy’s tee-shirt advertising bubblegum which says “JUST BLOW ME,” Volvos, a Lawn-Boy mower, Saran Wrap, WD-40, and running a metal detector over bags of Halloween candy. The South as a region is clearly established by Mrs. Hollingsworth, who talks about the South throughout the story, wondering at her mixed feelings about her environment. The South has a rich literary history because many fiction writers who grew up there, like Powell, use it as the setting for their stories.

Motif

A motif is a recurring image, idea, or detail. Motifs often support or underscore a theme, and they lend cohesion to the structure. In Powell’s story, pumpkins are a reoccurring motif, which...

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This section contains 446 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Trick or Treat Study Guide
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