Rhetorical Strategies in “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood Report
Table of Contents Introduction Main Body Conclusion References Introduction The Blind Assassin, a fiction novel by Margaret Atwood has won the Man Booker prize in 2000. The novel relates the events that happened in the 1930’s and refers to the personal angst of the narrator. This paper provides a rhetorical analysis of the novel. Main Body In the novel, the main narrator is a woman named Iris Chase Griffin who is now 83 and she narrates her story through a series of flashbacks. Iris is attempting to create a journal that she wants Sabrina, her granddaughter to read. Sabrina is now a young women and Margaret last saw her when Sabrina was a young child. There was a rift in the family and Iris hope to bring all the facts to light so that Sabrina is able to find out what really happened. The mystery is brought out only in the end. The Rhetoric of the mystery is revealed subtly and in bits through newspaper clippings and the story is partly revealed through the newspaper clippings. There is a fine interplay of words and finer nuances and the reader has to pay attention or the mystery and the clue are lost. Iris had a sister called Laura who killed herself after the Second World War and it is through the newspaper clippings that we come to know of the tale of the two sisters, their relationships, the growing up years and the unhappy marriage of Iris to Richard Griffen who also happened to be a business rival of her father. Let us examine the event of the death of Laura. Iris is actually shattered by the event and the incident has left deep scars in her psyche. The newspaper announcement was bland and antiseptic. It revealed neither grief the tragedy nor the grief that Iris felt. Margaret has narrated the event through the newspaper clipping as “A coroner’s inquest has returned a verdict of accidental death in last week’s St. Claire Ave. fatality. Miss Laura Chase, 25, was traveling west on the afternoon of May 18 when her car swerved through the barriers protecting a repair site on the bridge and crashed into the ravine below, catching fire. Miss Chase was killed instantly.” (Margaret, p. 59). Iris is devastated at this event and has used rhetoric to express her grief as “Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge. The bridge was being repaired: she went right through the Danger sign. The car fell a hundred feet into the ravine, smashing through the treetops feathery with new leaves, then burst into flames and rolled down into the shallow creek at the bottom. Chunks of the bridge fell on top of it. Nothing much was left of her but charred smithereens (Margaret, p. 60).Notice the extreme use of rhetoric when Iris very evocatively suggests that it was Laura who drove off the bride, ignoring the danger signs that warned motorists of venturing closer. Iris further graphically describes the manner in which the car crashed through the concrete barriers and them then the car burst into flames, charring everything beyond recognition. Margaret can be described as a postmodern author who gives great emphasis in using rhetoric as a form of narration. By using the rhetoric of the newspaper clippings she has sought to portray events as authentic and the old woman Iris needs this assurance since she is trying to communicate with her granddaughter who is years apart. She has used such an inductive approach because many extreme forms of narration seem to have been devised essentially to transgress fundamental linguistic and rhetorical categories. In many instances she has used rhetoric as a poignant feeling that asks questions. In one of her lines, Iris asks herself about the feelings that Laura underwent tat the moment that she was plunging off the bride. She asks “What had she been thinking of as the car sailed off the bridge, then hung suspended in the afternoon sunlight, glinting like a dragonfly for that one instant of held breath before the plummet? Of Alex, of Richard, of bad faith, of our father and his wreckage; of God, perhaps, and her fatal, triangular bargain”. (Margaret, p. 4). To a certain extent, the character of Margaret in her old age very much resembles the character of Hagar Shipley in another of her books called ‘The Stone Angel’. Both the characters have reached the point of no return and are contemplating on the downward turn in their lives and fate has not been kind to them. But then again in The Blind Assassin, Iris seems to be mocking her fate and there are insinuations of her role in shaping her fate. Consider this life from the book “I wonder which is preferable, to walk around all your life swollen up with your own secrets until you burst from the pressure of them, or to have them sucked out of you, every paragraph, every sentence, every word of them, so at the end you’re depleted of all that was once as precious to you as hoarded gold, as close to you as your skin – everything that was of the deepest importance to you, everything that made you cringe and wish to conceal, everything that belonged to you alone – and must spend the rest of your days like an empty sack flapping in the wind, an empty sack branded with a bright fluorescent label so that everyone will know what sort of secrets used to be inside you? (Margaret, p. 448). Conclusion Margaret Atwood has used the power of rhetoric very effectively in relying incidents, events, thoughts and feelings of Iris Chase, in her novel, The Blind Assassin. She has played around with words to twist them and give them a new meaning that is very suggestive and evocative. Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More References Margaret Atwood. (August 28, 2001). The Blind Assassin: A Novel. Publisher: Anchor. New York.
Beyond the Obvious: Unraveling Dickinson’s Concerns in “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” Explicatory Essay
assignment writer Beyond the Obvious: Unraveling Dickinson’s Concerns in “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” Explicatory Essay. True to Dickinson’s obsession with the self, “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” is the exploration of a personal experience of a haunting and profound nature: the descent into a complete loss of rational consciousness. In this paper, I will show that in light of the deliberate choice of diction, the metaphorical significance of the funeral, the interaction of the content with structure and form, the utilization of personal voice and the successful appropriation of the narrative poem sub-genre, the persona’s eventual madness offers the most plausible interpretation of the poem. By subjecting the poem to a line by line analysis, it will also seek to establish the vulnerability of each and every line towards the successful unlocking of the poem’s meaning. In order to make the painful process of loss of consciousness a systematic affair, Dickinson has segmented the experience into three main levels of consciousness: the physical, the intellectual and the metaphysical. The most immediate, the physical, is presented in the first stanza. By using the word ‘brain,’ in “I felt a funeral, in my Brain” (Line 1) a physical part of the human anatomy, she foregrounds the almost physical reality of what is taking place in her brain. She also reinforces this by the repetition of ‘treading’ in “Kept treading treading-treading-till it seemed” (Dickinson). The repeated word brings about the almost physical sensation of her brain being under someone’s feet, showing the physical discomfort that the persona was going through (Line 2). “And mourners to and fro,” shows that the treading was sustained and was not to any particular end (Dickinson). This serves to emphasize the disturbingly painful nature of the back and forth, back and forth movement of these feet on the persona’s brain. This then leads the reader to the second stanza and the second level of consciousness, the intellectual. The funeral service has now already begun but it is experienced as a thumping drum by the persona. What was referred to as ‘brain’ in the first stanza is now the ‘mind:’ “My mind was going numb-” (8) (Dickinson). Funerals are formal events. They are informed by tradition, procedure and formality. The same can be said of intellectualism. It is a level of consciousness that requires these very virtues to be successfully applied. Her consciousness is no longer physical but it has been overtaken by the thumping of the funeral drum in her mind. A drum, continuously beaten in someone’s mind must present a pretty irksome experience. This is so much so that her mind is going numb. This represents the loss of control that she is undergoing. She is losing control and she can feel it. Line 8 is also written in the passive, signifying the lack of agency on the part of the persona. She is simply an object, totally without control over what she is going through. The third stanza begins with the end of the funeral service. The casket is being escorted to the grave: “And then I heard them lift a Box, /And creak across my Soul” (9-10) (Dickinson). The persona’s intellectual consciousness is now gone. She is now crossing over to the metaphysical. This is signified by the use of the word ‘soul.’ Its creaking shows the apparent weight her soul has to bear in its refusal to give in. The reference to the ‘boots of lead’ in “With those same Boots of Lead, again, / Then Space–began to toll,” (11-12) refers to the apparent feeling of those carrying the casket on the wooden floor that is the persona’s soul (Dickinson). Lead must make boots that are vey heavy. The effect it has on the soul must be savage, these boots also seem familiar to the persona due to the use of the word ‘again.’ It could be they were worn by the same mourners in the first stanza. Line 12 tells us that there comes a time when the persona is only aware of space and it, space, begins to toll. The line is indicative of a commencement of chaos; the tolling must present a great din. Stanza four presents a shift from ‘Space’ to ‘Heavens:’ it is the final shift to the metaphysical realm. We are no longer dealing with physical reality: “as all the Heavens were a Bell, / And Being, but an Ear,” (13-14) (Dickinson). The ‘Heavens’ are now a bell and existence- Being- is nothing but ‘an Ear.’ This refers to the subject-object duality of existence (Dickinson). The ‘Heavens’ represent the object: reality. ‘Being’ on the other hand represents the subject, the perceiver (Dickinson). The persona, the subject, and ‘Silence’ become one in an apparent complete lack of perception of reality in line 15. She has gone through the ultimate loss of consciousness. She and ‘Silence’ are wrecked in a place known only by the adverb ‘here.’ They can’t leave it; they would have to be rescued out of it: “and I, and Silence, some strange Race, / Wrecked, solitary, here-” (15-16) (Dickinson). Line 17 jolts us. It dramatizes the sense of loss of reason. The persona still had a bit of reason left. It has now snapped however. Dickinson here paints us the mental picture of someone falling through a floor that has just given in, the fall is into an abyss as implied by ‘down, and down’ in line 18. It suggests endlessness; a lack of limit or definition: “And then a Plank in Reason, broke, / And I dropped down, and down-” (17-18) (Dickinson). The persona has fallen. The fall is endless; at every level of this fall however: “And hit a World, at every plunge” (19) (Dickinson). This suggests other levels of consciousness. Dickinson, by doing this, hints at the inability of sane minds to access these levels of reality. The last line, “and Finished knowing–then-” (20) leaves us unsure of where the persona’s consciousness is (Dickinson). ‘Then’ is too indefinite to be helpful at all could be explained as a manifestation of the persona’s inability to be coherently communicative owing to her insanity or from her communicating at a totally different level from ours (Dickinson). Of great importance in the realization of this meaning is the funeral metaphor employed by Dickinson. Funerals are segmented into sequential rites that build up to the ultimate burial of the deceased. Similarly, the act of losing one’s mind happens in stages akin to those that lead up to the lowering of the casket in a funeral. It begins with the physical, the intellectual and finally the metaphysical. The loss of the persona’s mental capabilities progresses hand in hand with a funeral ceremony so that the imagined lowering of the casket into a grave coincides with the metaphorical falling of the persona into an abyss of multi-level mental consciousness. In stanza 1, the persona is aware of the imminent loss of her mind. The beginning of this process is so profound that it almost feels physical. The imagined mourners are gathering in her mind, silently mingling amongst themselves before the funeral service begins. They are grieving this imminent loss: “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain, / And Mourners to and fro, / Kept treading–treading–till it seemed, / That Sense was breaking through-” (1-4) (Dickinson). She experiences the treading of the mourners feet in an almost sensual manner. Line four alludes to the ability of the treading of these imagined mourners to break through from the imaginary world to the realistic. The second stanza centers on the funeral service. The funeral service has begun, though to the persona it feels like a thumping ‘Drum.’ Stanza 3 tells the reader of the inability of the persona to influence events taking place in her life. She feels the casket containing her rationality lifted an action so painful that she feels her soul creak: “And then I heard them lift a Box, / And creak across my Soul, / With those same Boots of Lead, again, / Then Space–began to toll,” (9-12) (Dickinson). The last line of the stanza suggests the strong emotion that often overcomes mourners as they escort a casket to the grave. It is the moment of truth; it’s definitive of the whole funeral experience. Here, Dickinson has us feel that loss of control, that realization that something of great importance is about to happen. Lastly, the last two stanzas conclude the experiences of the persona. The demise of her rational consciousness is done. We are no longer presented with the parallel events at the funeral. The associations between the two are now only implied. We are left to imagine the lowering of the casket; probably even it’s crashing into the open grave. The person’s world has gone haywire; the funeral of her mind is over. Dickinson’s funeral metaphor works due to the infusion of aspects of narrative poetry. The poem follows plot of a classic narrative which comes complete with an exposition, rising action and climax. It takes us, logically and sequentially, through the experiences of the persona from the beginning of her mental breakdown to her ultimate inability to further communicate her experiences. The resultant effect that the poem has on the reader, and therefore its eventual interpretation, would hardly have been achieved without the aid of confessional aspects. The poet offers deep and personal insights into her experiences without the intervention of a third person narrator. The consistent use of ‘I’ through out the poem reminds us that we are having a rare insight into the persona’s private life and therefore heightens the significance of what we hear: “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,” (1), “Kept beating–beating–till I thought” (7), “And I dropped down, and down-” (18) (Dickinson). The content of what is shared in the poem might be considered grotesque. Losing one’s mind, as metaphorically presented by Dickinson is akin to losing one’s soul. It is a shameful and therefore intensely private affair which she nonetheless shares with us. The power of the firsthand story, told in the poetesses’ personal voice results in an effect of profound significance. While many more interpretations are likely to be arrived upon on the reading of this poem, I posit that the one presented here is the most plausible, one that takes care of every aspect of poetic craft employed by Dickinson. Works Cited Dickinson, Emily. “I Felt a Funeral, in the Brain.” Web. Beyond the Obvious: Unraveling Dickinson’s Concerns in “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” Explicatory Essay
The Pledge to Eliminate Poverty
The Pledge to Eliminate Poverty. I’m working on a Sociology question and need guidance to help me study.
According to the textbook, population is still increasing in the world’s poorest regions. Take a look at the Millennium Development Goals report (https://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/2015_MDG_Report/pdf/MDG%202015%20rev%20(July%201).pdf).
The report notes that progress in reducing extreme hunger is uneven across regions and countries. Looking at the graph on page 14 of the report, which countries have the least reduction in extreme hunger? Which countries have the greatest reduction in extreme hunger? What factors contribute to this uneven progress? What are some possible strategies for creating more progress in these countries?
The Pledge to Eliminate Poverty
Effects of Physical Education on Brain Report
There are some differences between a male and a female brain. Females are known to be excellent in solving problems involving languages. On the other hand, males are fair well in tasks involving arithmetic analysis. These are just some of the differences between a boy and a girl. Sometimes these differences, whether knowingly or not, can result in discrimination when teaching (Ratey, 2008). There are various ways a teacher can overcome these differences. For example during a physical education lesson, boys would generally perform better than girls. Therefore, the teacher must be careful not to protect the girls, since the objective of the lesson might not be met. In a language lesson, girls would generally perform better than boys. In this case, the teacher should give group assignments, so that they can learn from each other. Both boys and girls should be in each group (Ratey, 2008). Physical movement increases a child’s performance in subjects like mathematics, science and languages. Other benefits that come from physical movement include improved reading skills, positive attitude towards education and improved intelligence. Other than academic benefits, exercise strengthens muscles as well as some vital parts of the brain such as cerebellum and basal ganglia. Physical movement assist in the circulation of oxygen to the brain, thus enhancing development of neurons (Ratey, 2008). Throughout America, many schools have reduced hours and resources allocated to physical education. This is because, some schools have the notion that students would be better prepared, if they dedicate most of their time in the curriculum. In other schools, importance of physical education has not been well emphasized. Instead, a lot of attention has been given to major sports such as football and basketball. Since not all students are good in these sports, they are usually left out (Villaire, 2000). Exercise has been known to cure depression and enhance memory. To be precise, it causes the discharge of some neurotransmitters that ease mental and bodily pain. The inner ear system and sensory-motor system are among the first body systems to mature once a person is born. During exercise, impulses go back and forth from vestibular and motor sensory. This type of interaction is vital for learning since it helps students maintain balance and improve coordination in movements. The kind of exercise encouraged here is spinning, which can be achieved in a merry go round. A chemical known as Brian-Derived Neurotrophic Factor is released by brain during a physical activity. This chemical produces and safeguards new neurons. These neurons are usually created in a place called the hippocampus, which happens to be the section of the brain involved in learning and storage of memory (Stevens, 2008). The functioning of anterior cingulate suggests the existence of a connection between learning and movement. Studies have shown that lack of movement causes poor ties between various sections of brain and cerebellum. Cerebellum is part of the brain involved with emotional cleverness. Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More People move because the brain sends signals to various muscles of the brain. These movements are controlled by cerebellum or ganglia. However, when a person engages in a completely new type of movement, the prefrontal cortex is stimulated. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for solving problems and analysing. This area is stimulated because the brain has no record of the new movement. Continuous stimulation of this part will eventually lead to improved learning capabilities (Stevens, 2008). Long working hours, misuse of drugs and bad diet have all been blamed for the increasing cases of depression. During depression, the pre-frontal cortex is usually inactive. When these conditions continue for a long time, it can lead to aggression, poor eyesight, nervousness, abuse of drugs and difficulty in learning. One of the most effective ways of treating depression is by exercising on a regular basis (Johnsgard, 2004). When some neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and serotonin are few, depression might occur. Serotonin and BDNF have a mutual kind of relationship. The level of one chemical influences the level of the other one. Presence of BDNF increases the production rate of serotonin. Regular exercise elevates the level of such neurotransmitters in the body, by exciting the sympathetic nervous system. It has been found out that when exercise is combined with antidepressants, the stress level is reduced significantly. The combination of BDNF produced while exercising and antidepressants, quickens recovery (Johnsgard, 2004). It has been observed that depressed people have a smaller hippocampus. The smaller the hippocampus, the more the person is depressed. This situation can be reversed by exercise. Exercise generates BDNF which in turn stimulates the growth of neurons, the numerous neurons formed increase the size of the hippocampus, thereby reducing depression (Johnsgard, 2004). In conclusion, physical education is as important as any other lesson in the school. Many schools have realized the importance of movement, and they are bringing it back to their programme. Apart from the many benefits, exercising is fun. People laugh and talk a lot during physical movement. This creates strong bonds between people, and most importantly, it gives an opportunity to improve social skills. References Johnsgard, K. (2004). Conquering Depression and Anxiety Through Exercise. New York: Prometheus Books. We will write a custom Report on Effects of Physical Education on Brain specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More Ratey, J. J. (2008). Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. New York: Little, Brown and Company. Stevens, T. A. (2008). The importance of physical activity and physical education in the prediction of academic achievement. Journal of Sport Behavior 3(2), 36-50. Villaire, T. (2000, May 15). Decline of Physical Activity. Retrieved from National PTA: https://www.pta.org/