“Unwrapped” by Dina Honour is a long piece about a boy Honour once knew in college. The piece is composed of flashbacks of a presentation the boy, Joshua, gave in class, her memories of him in high school, her time with friends, and her reflection on Joshua’s teachings. The most compelling thing about this piece is Joshua. We start off with descriptions of him as lifeless and odd-looking. He has a long scar around his eye and does a college presentation on wrapping a present. He’s intriguing and we want to know more about him. Honour gives us what we want.
She uses dialogue, repetition, elaboration, speculation, and the motif of eyes to tell Joshua’s story. The repetition and elaboration of certain ideas make emphasize Honour’s feelings about him. Honour didn’t know him and she admits it multiple times. She elaborates so that there’s always extra. She wants to emphasize that there is always more than one or two options. There’s always a choice. She speculates about who Joshua was because she doesn’t know. She wants to imagine a backstory for him so she can feel better about not getting to know him. The speculation represents the guilt she feels for Joshua’s death.
We feel embarrassed for him. Guilty. She couldn’t do anything to help him and neither could we. We just see the aftereffects. We had an inkling about where this was going and it was confirmed. Her purpose is to remind us to leave room for mistakes, to not be too hard on ourselves. We can learn that a story doesn’t have to be completely in scene. It can be focused on one central scene, and go off into descriptions and a different scene to make the central scene stronger.
In reference to writing, she shows that you can have multiple purposes that form one main idea. It works if they all can be connected. Honour proves with this piece that anything can be a story, even if you think it has no significance. If you tie it back to something important further down the line, it’s a compelling story. She started off with a boy wrapping a present and ended up with a hard hitting message about mistakes.