The Astonishing Color of After

I’ve been contemplating doing this for a while now. I’m graduating high school this year and I will be loosing access to my Microsoft 365, which has been housing all of my school work since 6th grade. As I was looking through old files I stumbled upon a bunch of old book analysis essays, argumentative papers, and others of the works and I marveled over how much my language skills have changed over the past 4 years in particular. Hence, I will be posting my old essays up on here (I’m pretty sure this is allowed) just in case there comes a day that I want to come look back at my argumentative essay on The Astonishing Color of After or something lol. These papers are also very important to me because they have all been from some of my favorite classes and have also taken a lot of hard work, so for that I am proud. In addition, I’ve been guiding classmates and “offering some spice” if you will, to my classmates essays for the past six years since I guess I can (and I quote) “write a fire essay” when given the opportunity.

The Astonishing Color of After is a novel I read the summer of 2018 and throughly enjoyed. In this essay, I had to create an argument, and prove that argument with passages, as to why The Astonishing Color of After is an insightful read. This was my first english-written argumentative essay on a work of fiction.

Emma Fackenthall

English 10, per. 1

16 March 2019

The Astonishing Color of After

These days, many people must face the grievous consequences of depression and the burdensome reality of suicide of a friend or a family member. These tragedies are extremely harsh on its younger onlookers, inflicting unimaginable desolation that can change the perspective they have on everyday life. Emily X.R. Pan’s The Astonishing Color of After, analyses the toll a depressed and suicidal family member can have on their child. In this novel, Leigh believes her deceased mother has turned into a bird who is attempting to bring her a message. Leigh listens to the bird in hopes that it will elaborate on why her mother chose to end her life. As a result, The Astonishing Color of After is a bold and thought-provoking novel because the author delineates the realism of depression, suicide, and grief to its readers with the most meticulous and illustrative writing.

As said, The Astonishing Color of After is a bold novel since it truthfully depicts the reality for many who are faced with depression and suicide while demonstrating the grievance felt by family and friends. There are many lines in this novel that imply that Leigh is grieving the sudden loss of her mother, for example: “The word depression bounced around in my head. Depression depression depression. Was that even what she had? I knew that there were other mood disorders out there, other conditions and chemical imbalances. Depression, I opened my mouth to say, but the word refused to take shape. Why was it so hard to talk about this? Why did my mother’s condition feel like this big secret? Axel looked at me expectantly, still waiting for me to fill in the blank. ‘She’s forgotten how to be happy,’ I told him. But that felt wrong, too.” (Pan 320-321) On this page, Leigh is trying to tell her friend about her mother’s condition. She finds it hard to talk about her mother’s illness because she does not want to come to terms with the truth. Given these points, we can decipher from this citation that Leigh is still grieving the loss of her mother and the smallest conversation about her mother’s illness is difficult for her because she does not want to bear the thought of her mother being so unhappy that she decided to end her life. Therefore, The Astonishing Color of After is bold because of the novel’s realism on subjects such as, depression, suicide, and the grievance it leads upon the onlookers of these disastrous situations.

Aforementioned, The Astonishing Color of After is a thought-provoking novel because it is very elaborately written in the most meticulous and illustrative matter. Not only does it delineate the affliction suicide and depression can provoke on the victim’s friends and family, this narrative uses the utmost descriptive writing so that the reader can really visualize the situation, for example: “I worked late into the nights and often fell asleep atop loose pieces of charcoal, waking up with my skin and clothes totally smudged and stained. I swam deep into the drawings until it seemed that all I breathed was the dust trailing my careful fingers, and everything in my vision became smears of black and gray. I found my knuckles tracing things I never thought could be captured on paper. The delicate layers of my mother’s depression.” (Pan 465) This excerpt demonstrates the vivid and illustrative way in which the author chose to describe the scene. In other words, this novel is thought-provoking because the writing is so descriptive the readers could visualize this scenario in their heads. Hence, implying that The Astonishing Color of After is a thought-provokingly composed novel because of the its meticulous and illustrative writing.  

In conclusion, The Astonishing Color of After is a bold and thought-provoking novel because the author delineates the realism of depression, suicide, and grief in illustrative and meticulous writing, giving the reader capacity to imagine the scenes. As Stephen King, a well-renowned American novelist, once said: “Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”