A sudden death of a loved one often needs to be followed with a time period of reflection and contemplation of one’s past with, and future without, the deceased. Everyone has their own way to cope with the loss of someone they love. In The Mountain and the Valley, Effie’s death causes David to reflect
and regret his behaviour towards her. Ernest Buckler uses several different devices and techniques to magnify the effect of Effie’s death on David’s future, such as, David’s behaviour towards Effie, the theme of David encountering new experiences during his coming of age, and also literary devices such as flashbacks which were apparent through out David’s attempts to coupe with the loss. These devices cause Effie’s death to be portrayed as a major turning point in David’s life. Ernest Buckler’s writing style and techniques enhanced the importance of Effie’s death in David’s life.
As David reflected upon him and Effie’s relationship prior to her death his immense amount of regrets make it apparent that his personality and behaviour is changed due to her death. Ernest Buckler portrays David and Effie as having a awkward relationship before she past away. David often found himself feeling as though he was betraying her. Yet his thoughts didn’t stop him from pressuring her with his desires, even despite the fact the she noticeably ill. David used Effie as a object which he used flaunted and bragged about. “I bet you wish she was your
girl” (143). He constantly made comments such as this one and bragged to Toby about what he and Effie had done. Effie’s death caused David to come to the realization that his actions were those of betrayal. He quickly felt immense guilt. He tried to pretend that, by sheer will, he could go back in time and change the course of his actions. Ernest Buckler enhanced the importance of Effie’s death due to its effect on the development of David’s personality.
David’s development and his coming of age also enhanced the importance of Effie’s death. David was uncertain of what is considered appropriate behaviour in a relationship. It is apparent that the importance of Effie’s death was largely magnified due to its effect on David’s coming of age. Her death forced him to cope with a situation which requires maturity and stability. Effie’s death also causes him to acknowledge that he isn’t a child anymore. “He was never, even for a moment, all child again”(146). He reaches this conclusion after reflecting on his past and realizes that it is obvious the innocence that he had during his childhood was no longer present in his life.
As David is reflecting on the changes that have happened recently in his life and the consequences which have derived from some of his actions, Ernest Buckler effectively uses literary devices, such as flashbacks, to continually emphasize the effects of Effie’s death on David’s life. David’s flashbacks are of his final moments with Effie and are caused by the resentment he has for forcing her to go with him in the wet field. “The grass wasn’t wet [it wasn't, it wasn't] and I didn’t breathe a word of what we did, to Toby”(143). David resented it but he did just that. The field was wet and he did talk to Toby about what he had done. The flashbacks are an effective way to portray that David acknowledges that his actions were selfish. Other literary devices were used to enhance the importance of Effie’s death as well. David has a epiphany, he suddenly comes to the revelation about childhood. “The essence of childhood is that the past is never thought of as something that might have been different” (146). He realizes that he is no longer a child.
Ernest Buckler emphasizes Effie’s death as having a major impact on David’s coming of age and his approach to life. The impact of Effie’s death is clearly portrayed due to Ernest Buckler’s writing style. The way David’s character was presented and the literary techniques that Ernest Buckler used to emphasize regret, all worked together to enhance the importance of Effie’s death on the development of David’s personality. A death has the power to destroy or create one’s life. In a sense death created a new path in David’s life, a path that allowed him to acknowledge that he is no longer a child and that his actions, if not thought out thoroughly, could cause regret in the future.