The Painted Bird Essay

This essay has a total of 777 words and 4 pages.

The Painted Bird


'The Painted Bird';
The use of art has many functions. It lacks a satisfactory definition and is easier to
describe it as a way something is done --'the use of skill and imagination in the creation
of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others';
--rather than what it is. Jerzy Kosinski's 'The Painted Bird'; describes the disasters
that befall a six-year-old boy who is separated from his parents and wanders through the
primitive Polish-Soviet borderlands during the war. Kosinski fails to mention the boy's
name and the names of the towns the boy travels over throughout the text. This enables the
reader to assume that this child could have possibly been any unfortunate youngster during
the war. Kosinski's writings organize the chaos of the boy's life experiences through
form. The use of both organic and conventional form throughout the book draws the reader
closer to the horrific encounters the young boy faced on a daily basis.

Using writing as a method of art organizes the chaos of experience through form.
Kosinski's novel applies organic form to portray the appalling predicaments the boy
encountered during the separation from his family. The use of organic form in the formal
pattern offers the reader the 'what-will-be-next'; scenario before they proceed through
the pages. Kosinski gives the reader a taste of the animalistic characteristics of the
towns' people the boy confronts during the war. This allows the reader not to be
'shocked'; when the peasants the boy faces demonstrated an extraordinary predilection for
incest, sodomy, and meaningless violence.

While reading 'The Painted Bird';, the reader gains the impression that religion seemed to
be a high priority for the village people. However, Kosinski's use of conventional form to
inform his readers that church was a very important part of the

culture in these villages seemed to contradict this portrayal. In the culminating incident
of the book, the boy drops a missal while he's helping service Mass and is flung by the
angry parishioners into a pot of manure . Emerging from the pit he realizes that he has
lost the power of speech. Church goes watched as the young boy was tossed into the manure
and no one tried to assist him. A group of bullies pushes the boy, a presumed spy or Jew,
below the ice of a frozen pond. A farmer forces the boy to hang by his hands from a
rafter, just out of reach of a vicious dog. Also, a miller plucks out the eyeballs of his
wife's would be lover. Kosinski wrote in graphic detail on all these terrible incidents
that this young boy survived, often leaving the reader to feel as though they were
witnessing these events first-hand.

Throughout the text, the reader anticipates the fate of the boy. Will he find a decent
villager to take him in? Will he regain the use of his voice? Will this war ever end and
will he be reunited with his parents? Although the boy is mentally strong for having
endured many horrible reoccurring incidents, the reader feels great compassion for this
youngster. As Mahon states, 'anticipation is tension .'; While reading 'The Painted
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  • Jerzy Kosinski
    Jerzy Kosinski Jerzy Kosinski was born in Poland in 1933 to Russian parents who had fled the revolution. He was separated from his family when the Nazis invaded in 1939. For six years he wandered form village to village scorned by East European gypsies who feared his hawk like face and penetrating eyes. He survived German terror by his wits and he was struck dumb from the shock that he underwent from this six-year period of wandering. He was mute from age nine to fourteen.(New Yorker) Kosinski