The Watson's Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis is a great novel with many literary devices. The book begins in Flint, Michigan, with the Weird Watson Family including Joey, Kenny, Byron, Daniel and Wilona. Kenny is the one that is always there, but doesn't really do much, but his older brother Byron is always getting into trouble. Joetta is that annoying little sister that always tattles on Byron and Kenny. Daniel and Wilona are the parents, who decide to go all the way down to the oven called Birmingham, Alabama to leave Byron there for the summer to straighten out his manners with Grandma Sands. As soon as the family arrives, By is instantly nicer, but the bombing of church changes the whole family. Digging deeper, here are some literary devices.
Setting is a major part in this story. In Flint, Byron gets his lips stuck to the cars side mirror, resulting in Kenny doing all of the chores, and showing that Byron is very lazy. The cold also encourages Larry Dunn to steal Kenny's gloves, leaving him crying by the road. More important places include the church that was bombed, and Colliers landing, where Byron saved Kenny from drowning. Deep in Alabama, the heat is almost too much to bear for the Watsons who came all the way down from Flint, so they are excperiencing something new. The setting of the novel is clearly important.
There is a great deal of range of the types of character in The Watson's Go To Birmingham. The way that the author integrates different characters is very creative, and the reader learns more and more about the characters throughout the whole book. Kenny doesn't change much, and he doesn't really influence many people. Kenny does help change Byron when Kenny almost dies, but Byron saves Hume, and that brings the two closer together as brothers. After the family gets back in Flint, Kenny also keeps disappearing and worrying his parents, and the only time he acts any different is when he goes into a depression, and By helps home get out of it. Byron is a very dynamic character, and also very interesting. He is the reason that the family went down to Alabama, and he changes so much. Back in Michigan, Byron got in fights, stole money and food, and he was a bully to everyone. But the second the Brown Bomber gets into Birmingham, he is nicer, he does what he is told, and he doesn't even talk back. When he meets Grandma Sands, he is a complete gentleman. Many different characters with many different personalities are all special in their own, and impacts the story in some way.
There are many forms of symbolism in this novel. A big one was the Wool Pooh. The Wool Pooh symbolized death, and Kenny was convinced that he kept seeing it in Birmingham. The Wool Pooh is unconventional because it doesn't really symbolize anything in real life or other books. Byron's conk could also symbolize rebellion, that he doesn't agree with him parents. This is conventional because rebellion is very common in teens. Another important unconventional symbol is the bird that Byron killed, because afterwards he is throwing up, showing that he has a soft side.
The different symbols, characters, and setting are very unique in this book. Christipher Paul Curtis introduces us to different characters, places, and sneaks in symbols in a fascinating new way. There are flat characters, freezing cold settings, and deep symbols, this novel contains a sad, but true story about four little girls who were killed in a bomb, but also a fun story about a weird family called the Watson's.

Add Discussion