Writer Igniter Reading Challenge Prompt 10: Scene Analysis

Analyse a scene. 

HOW does the WHAT reflect the WHY? This magic question can help you analyze and interpret just about any piece of literature. Use this framework to analyze a scene in the book you are reading. Start by looking at what the author is saying, then consider the meaning behind it (the why). Finally, consider how you might achieve a similar result in your own writing.
In your response take an extra-deep dive into the scene you have chosen and think critically about what the author is doing and how they are doing it. Use the formula of “HOW does the WHAT reflect the WHY?” and apply it to a short section of the book.

Close Reading
Now that you’ve finished your book, it’s time to do an in-depth analysis. Choose a single scene out of the entire book and consider the following elements.
The WHAT. What is happening in the scene? Who are the characters involved? Where are they and what are they doing?

Sarah and Beatrice are the main characters in the scene I’ve chosen. Sarah is at Beatrice’s apartment in a less-well-off area of Paris and they’re having a heart to heart. 

The WHY. Why is this event important to the book? What deeper meaning can you draw from this scene? What is the author trying to say and why?

This event is important to the book, because, to quote from the text, it’s like the missing pieces of the puzzle snap into place for Sarah regarding Beatrice and it is something I did not expect and it had me going “Wow, that came out of nowhere!” 

 I was also thinking “Yes, that’s what I was wondering about or wanting to know all along.” 
I think the author is trying to say that, despite the tough exterior and the front Beatrice puts with her attitude towards running the shop, her hostility, apparent jealousy towards the other characters in the book and her almost bullying of Sarah as a newcomer that Beatrice has a sensitive and vulnerable side to her. 

The author focuses on the questions Sarah has in her mind which are the same ones I as the reader wanted answered. The author also focuses on Beatrice putting things into perspective about her life and seems more relaxed around Sarah than at other points in the books. 

The HOW. What effect does this moment have on you, the reader? How is the author achieving this effect? What techniques is the author using to direct your attention or elicit certain emotions?

I was surprised, shocked and also started to feel for Beatrice more than I had before. The author goes deeper inside Beatrice here than at any time in the book. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the Reading Challenge and I would definitely do it again if there’s a repeat of this event in the future. I learnt so much about book terminology and analysis techniques which I didn’t know before. 

Writer Igniter Reading Challenge Prompt 9: The Ending 

****SPOILER ALERT: The example from the book is used for the purpose of text analysis for the course*****

What is the second pivot point of the story (i.e. the dark night of the soul)?

Sarah decides to stay in Paris
What scene represents the climax?

It’s Christmas and everyone is there for a Christmas meal…..everyone except Ridge. Sarah is thinking of him, Beatrice and her son Marc are the special guests. TJ, Oceane and everyone is there. The house is festively decorated, Marc is given gifts. 
What is the outcome of the story?

Ridge turns up and Sarah is overjoyed. He says he wants nothing more than to walk the streets of Paris with her. 

In other words, does the character get what they want and do they still want it? 

Yes and yes, so this falls into the happy ending category. Sarah and Ridge are together, Ridge chose Sarah over his work, Sarah gets to stay in Paris. The happy ever after is not just for Sarah and I won’t give more away because that’ll just be too “spoilery”- best you read the book for yourself. 

Writer Igniter Reading Challenge Prompt 8: Theme and Thematic Elements 

Start with the theme.
Could you sum up the book you have selected in a single sentence? If so, this is your theme.

Take a chance in life- you may be surprised the results that brings. 

What evidence can you draw from the text that helps support this? 

In other words, what details clued you in to this being the theme?

How Sarah decides it was time to take the reins of my life once and for all and do the things I yearned to do. No more was I missing out because things weren’t panning out the way I imagined they should.  
Next, consider the thematic elements.

What imagery or detail does the author use to underscore that theme? 

Sarah’s bookstore, books, descriptions of the images and clues are there right from the opening scene of the book: Sarah is in her bookshop and Ridge calls. She starts wrestling with her feelings of missing him, being somewhere she loves yet feeling like life is passing her by. 
There are physical descriptions of both Ashford and Paris. The bookshop in Paris, the main streets and smaller ones, images of Paris culture (cafés, daily life). 
How does the author use these thematic elements to emphasize or illustrate the theme?

Ashford is painted as familiar, quaint, quiet and Sarah’s comfort zone as well as what she has always known. 
Paris, on the other hand, is bright, chic sparkling inviting and exciting. 
The author first shows us Sarah’s life then her decision process via a lot of inner dialogue and we go through the motions with her: the goodbye to her mum and friends, her memory of her last phone conversation with Ridge before she goes. Then we’re suddenly on the train with her as she arrives in France and makes her way to Paris despite feeling exhausted and trying to summon up her faulty French. 

Choose one thematic element that appears in several scenes and consider how the author uses that same element in different ways throughout the story.

 Books are a thematic element and they are everywhere: at Sarah’s bookshop, at Sophie’s, sold in little booths on the banks of the Seine. There’s the mystery of Sarah suspecting there’s a book thief and then of the mysterious man in the attic who turns out to be an author whose books Sarah likes. Sarah’s love of books is mentioned repeatedly too, whether she is talking about them or planning to sneak away and read for awhile during her breaks or her habit of reading before bed. 

Writer Igniter Reading Challenge Prompt 7: The Midpoint 

Is there a scene where the protagonist experiences a moment of self-reflection? 
Yes. More than one. 
What happens in that mirror moment and how close is it to the center?
 Sarah is out walking round the city with TJ and realises how far she’s come and how much she loves Paris/ French customs. This is at the 52% point in the ebook.
The 50% point is where she’s in the bookshop and sees her friend Lucy, an artist from her hometown (Ashford) who moved to Paris with her boyfriend Clay. Seeing how confident and happy Lucy is as she navigates the city’s Metro system and smaller streets makes Sarah wish she could be as confident. Sarah feels she’s floundering in comparison. I wished she’d give herself more credit, she hasn’t been there long. They reflect on Sarah and Ridge’s relationship and the fact he was there one night. 
What does the character realize about themselves?
 That she loves Paris more than she ever realised and maybe it is OK to stay longer and let Sophie stay longer in her bookshop. That she can, and has to be stronger if she has a chance of getting respect from Beatrice and the others in the shop like she has with TJ and Oceane. That she’s struggling with the bookshop accounts and running of the place more than the fact of actually being in France and adjusting to that. I feel having Oceane and TJ (and Luiz) around is helping her with that. That she feels like she is still adjusting to things and does feel lonely and inwardly contrasts herself with Oceane and TJ about the fact they are social butterflies and live life at a fast pace. 
When does the mirror moment occur? Is it directly in the center of the book? 
There’s more than one “mirror moment”, and for more than one character. Sarah’s mirror moments are when, not for the first time, she is thinking of Ridge and realises the best thing she can do is enjoy Paris with or without him. This is at 42% where she makes an internal promise to herself to find joy in the hidden parts of Paris. 

Then, at the 49% mark, TJ has his mirror moment as he opens up about how he came to love Paris. Then we’re back to Sarah as he asks if she’s happy in Paris and she tells him how she really feels. 
Is this moment a temporary triumph or false failure? It’s a temporary triumph. TJ’s is a triumph as he is very settled in Paris. 

How is the character’s inner reflection represented outwardly? (Are they actually looking in a mirror?
No, but there’s a mention (at 44%) of someone else (Ridge) looking in a mirror when at the gym by Monique, the photographer who answers Ridge’s phone when Sarah tries to call him. Sarah looks round her to the Paris scenery and gestures at it as she and TJ are walking by the Seine, passing people and different stalls. She realises Sophie needs to change and reflects on Beatrice. She feels something is missing from her life, like she has to change. 

She says “When you are miles from home, that’s how you find out who you really are.” I find this a very poignant quote and fitting for the story. Sarah is always letting us into her thoughts. 
The author uses the walks between TJ and Sarah as time for them to think and share ideas for how to improve the shop. Sarah realises how much she misses Ridge but tries to be as proactive as possible about her plans for the bookshop. 
There’s another triumph at the 55% point in the book when Sarah reflects on the book thief problem. 

Writer Igniter Reading Challenge Prompt 6: Supporting Cast 

The supporting character archetypes I see reflected in The Little Bookshop on the Seine are:

The Villain: Beatrice. She seems hostile and antagonistic from the time Sarah meets her. She answers back, judges, bosses Sarah around. Just creates a general bad atmosphere for much of the book.That is, until her “secret” is out.

I feel Sophie started off like a BFF, since she suggested the whole bookshop swap in the first place, but she was veering towards villain territory at some points later on in the novel, like with her getting almost too comfortable in Ashford with the people Sarah missed and the bookshop Sarah used to run. I felt she was out of line with comments and even bossy and rude.

The love interest: Ridge.Although I found myself increasingly annoyed with him and how he obviously was focused on work a lot of the time. But when he turned up he was attentive. I was hoping he’d stick around more. Sarah was very patient and faithful towards him. I thought at some points that Luiz may become a love interest for Sarah.

The BFF : Definitely Missy! She was fun and I could tell Sarah missed her.

The Entourage: CeeCee, Missy and Sarah’s other friends from back home in smalltown Ashford, Connecticut. CeeCee had a way of just brightening up Sarah’s day and I loved the way her old group of friends never forgot her and this showed in their video calls. I felt the geographical distance between them was never an issue.

As the story progressed and Sarah got to know her colleagues at the bookshop in Paris, I felt they too helped her: Oceane was a person to get her out of the bookshop to see Paris and relax and just talk. Beatrice caused the most tension of all the characters but then seemed almost appreciative of, and grateful to, Sarah. Luiz was the “mystery” character who was revealed slowly and who I wanted to know more about. TJ was a kind attentive person who valued the group.

The Mentor: I think there were different mentors, and they all mentored Sarah differently. First, we had Oceane, with her love of Parisian fashion and style and her knowledge of how to ease Sarah into Parisian life. Then came Luiz, with his books and author anecdotes.

Finally, TJ proved a reliable person for Sarah and also was laid back and more subtle in his appreciation of French customs and cuisine. I feel he was the person to add a touch of humour and dependability to Sarah’s life.