In the autobiographical narrative "The Pie,” Gary Soto tells of a sin he commits as a child and later feels guilty about. Although he knew stealing was wrong, that knowledge still did not keep him from taking a pie from the market. With the use of religious diction, vivid imagery, repetition, and pacing, Soto tells his readers of his life-changing experience, and what he thinks is the meaning of sin.
The author uses religious diction throughout the narrative. Although as a young boy, Soto was "holy in almost every bone,” (line 1) he still stole the apple pie. He says he "knew enough about hell” to keep him from stealing, yet he did it anyways. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but blames his sin on boredom. Earlier, he saw "shadows of angels” (line 2) in his backyard, and heard the pipes howling underneath his house, which he describes as being "God howling” in line 8.
"The Pie” is full of colorful and vivid imagery. The use of this rhetorical strategy helps the readers to see what Soto saw as a child, on that day in which he stole the pie. All of the five senses a human possesses are described in the story. One example of the sense of taste in the story is "I laid more pieces on my tongue, wet finger-dripping pieces. it was about the best thing I had ever tasted.” (line 21) Readers will hear "the plumbing that howled underneath the house,” just as Soto describes (line 3). In line 15, Soto smelled the pie he had taken and "breathed in its sweetness,” which conveys the sense of smell. In line 9, readers will picture the "bald grocer whose forehead shone with a window of light” that Soto saw in the market, which shows how the sense of sight is used in the story. When the author wipes his "sticky fingers on the grass” in line 24, the sense of touch is described.
In the story, Soto repeats many words and ideas. For example, he describes the howling of the plumbing underneath the house three times.