When the town of Mount Carroll, Illinois, rescues Will Piper from the grain bin, his death is averted. But two of Piper’s friends die in the accident, and Will becomes a changed man. "Drowning in the Corn" is a true story about a life-altering event: an accident in a corn grain bin. The story is composed of one action scene and it opens with some background information about corn farming and small-town life in the corn-belt. This contextualizes Piper’s experience, by giving readers a glimpse of the industry that he and his family depend upon. It also sets up the scene which begins with Piper sinking in the bin on the day of his accident. Author Erika Hayasaki uses some effective literary strategies when developing the story of Will’s accident and how the townspeople came to his rescue. Some of these literary strategies include selective uses of different writing styles within one scene, vivid use of simile and metaphor, and foreshadowing.
The story of Will Piper, a farm worker from Illinois, is not complex. Piper and his friends get trapped in a grain bin; his two friends die and he is rescued. The story reads like a narrative account, and the writing style here distinct and differentiated. It is literary in some passages, descriptive in others, and action-oriented for most of it. The introduction of the story reads much like an academic report but then Hayasaki shifts to a more descriptive style. The central scene is told in an informal tone, yet even within the scene, Hayasaki reverts to this expository, journalistic style of writing. For example, she concludes the introductory segment by describing her regular interviews with Will Piper and her visits to Mount Carroll, Illinois. She writes, “I spent the next three years periodically interviewing Will, his parents, and other victims’ families.” She reports that she reviewed “Thousands of pages of court documents, transcripts, and depositions.” In this writing styl...
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