Thursday, October 25, 2012

Essay mood.

I'm writing an essay.
It's an awful essay.
But it reminded me of one I wrote last year that I lovelovelove.
Mind if I share?

Anais Nin once said, “The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” This is the definition of an author, of any creator, really.  The only way that authors can achieve this is by the way he or she formulates and uses their language, using metaphors and similes along with other literary devices, to shape the story and bring the words to life. Ray Bradbury, the author of Fahrenheit 451, does this well, by using rich language, filled with metaphors and similes which adds an artistic depth to the writing and makes the characters seem alive and more relatable.

The language at the beginning of the story is crucial to formulate the feelings, thoughts and struggles of the main characters as they confront people, problems and thoughts they never would have encountered or considered—along with situations they’ve only experienced in the worst of nightmares. As Bradbury builds his creation, we meet the character Clarisse, who confronts Montag with her up-front, blunt way of speaking, and as he later reflects on his feelings, thinking, “How rarely did other people’s faces take of you and throw you back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?” (11). It’s obvious that, by the way Montag is thinking and what he is feeling, he is struggling with the very thought of thought, the feeling of feeling, of the depth and realness Clarisse brought to life as he saw her, and as she really saw him. Their society has forced them into a mindset which keeps them from really thinking, really seeing and really feeling, so that when an oddity like Clarisse comes along who has blatantly refused to act like they want her to and thinks for herself, it’s an eye-opener for Montag, that people can function independently. And just as Montag transfers into his normal life just to confront his wife, unconscious from an overdose of pills, he is faced with a situation he never wanted to encounter, and his world shatters; “He felt that the stars had been pulverised by the sound of the black jets and that in the morning the earth would be covered with their dust like a strange snow. That was his idiot thought as he stood shivering in the dark, and let his lips go on moving and moving.” (14). The way Bradbury weaves his language here with a very metaphorical feeling, a very dark overlay, it brings Montag’s feelings to hit the reader straight at their heart, to feel the empty, black feeling Montag is struggling with, the inability to properly function or think (“…that was his idiot thought…and let his lips go on moving and moving…”) . The deep, dark emptiness Montag is feeling has been developed and developed to the point where the author implies—through metaphors— that Montag’s life will change and he will never view the world in the exact same way again— “…that the earth would be covered with their dust like a strange snow.” Bradbury’s wording and choice of metaphors, similes, and verbiage is so brilliantly written it strikes to the heart and into the mind of the feelings and situations the protagonist is thrown into, and it carries through the book with his wonderful similes and metaphors to shape the lives, viewpoints, and feelings of the characters.

 The way the language is crafted is very much based around metaphors and similes that shape the characters, the setting, and make it come to life in a unique and spectacular way that Ray Bradbury has mastered.  The metaphors are strong in this quote, as the author forms the image of Montag viewing his unconscious wife after she overdosed on sleeping pills; “Her face was like a snow-covered island upon which rain might fall, but it felt no rain; over which clouds might pass their moving shadows, but she felt no shadow....her eyes all glass, and breath going in and out, softly, faintly, in and out her nostrils, and her not caring whether it came or went, went or came.” (13). Other than being very descriptive and visual, he uses unique similes and metaphors, for example: “Her face was like a snow-covered island…” as simile for the blank, pale expression on her face, and “…her eyes all glass…” as a metaphor for the blank look in her eyes. This really adds to the depth of the writing and allows the reader to better visualise Mildred on her bed. Earlier, when Montag meets Clarisse, the narration, from Montag’s mind, reads as follows: “He saw himself in [Clarisse’s] eyes, suspended in two sining drops of bright water, himself dark and tiny, in fine detail…as if her eyes were two miraculous bits of violet amber that might capture and hold him intact. Her face, turned to him now, was fragile milk crystal with a soft and constant light in it. It was not the hysterical light of electricity but—what? But the strangely comfortable and rare and gently flattering light of the candle…” (7). The similes in this are strong, especially, “…as if her eyes were two miraculous bits of violet amber…”. The personification is very visual here, “It was not the hysterical light of electricity…”; light is not hysterical, people are. Usages of literary terms, personification, metaphors and similes, are all utilised here to emphasise the writing, and shape the character’s thoughts and actions.

Ray Bradbury uses his figures of speech to make the catastrophes seem more realistic and to make them seem more than just words on a page. When Montag is struck by the fact that he might lose his wife after he sees that she has overdosed on her pills, the reader experiences the following maelstrom of Guy’s feelings: “As he stood there, the sky over the house screamed. There was a tremendous ripping sound as if two giant hands had torn ten thousand miles of black lines down the seam. Montag was cut in half. He felt his chest chopped down and split apart. The jet bombers going over, going over, going over, one two, one two, one two, six of them, nine of them, twelve of them, one and one and one and another and another and another, did all the screaming for him. He opened his own mouth and let their shriek come down and out between his bared teeth.” (13-14). The repetition of words—“…going over, going over, going over, one two, one two, one two…”, —and the visuals and personifications utilised here— “..The sky over the house screamed. There was a tremendous ripping sound as if two giant hands had torn ten thousand miles of black lines down the seam…”—allow the reader to connect with Montag and have an idea of what he is thinking, to get a piece of Montag’s mind; one of the things the author does well is to put how the human brain functions as panic and havoc set in, how it slows and just repeats the words or the scene of what just happened over and over, as if that will set in the reality of what really happened. Far later in the book, Montag, along with the , are faced with a far more serious ruination, watching their city being bombed: “The concussion knocked the air across and down the river, turned the men over like dominos in a line, blew the water in lifting sprays, and blew the dust and made the trees above them mourn with a great wind… and in that instant [Montag] saw the city, instead of the bombs, in the air. They had displaced each other. For another of those impossible instants the city stood, rebuilt and unrecognisable, taller than it had ever hoped or strived to be, taller than man had built it, erected at last in grouts of shattered concrete and sparkles of torn metal into a mural hung like a reversed avalanche, a million colours, a million oddities, a door where a window should be, a top for a bottom, a side for a back, and then the city rolled over and fell down dead…The sound of it’s death came after.” (160) The personification in this section is prominent, “The sound of [the city’s] death…” or “… and made the trees above them mourn with a great wind…” and they all bring this passage to life. Not just does the personification show that it was not just the people affected, but nature too, the displacing of the river the bending (or ‘mourning’) of the trees, and the city’s displacement, in that one frozen moment in havoc when everything stands still and stands out in perfect detail, and every moment is etched into the brain, the “impossible instants,” as the narration puts it. And thus is the personification and similes shown in vivid detail in the scintillating horrors of Fahrenheit 451 and the brilliant writing of Ray Bradbury.

If anything, writing is an art. It is a gift that some people use well, but some people do not. Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, utilises in such an artistic way, it brings thoughts to the reader’s mind, metaphors and similes to definition, and vivify catastrophes, feelings and situations. Creators have done this with their own mediums, if it is film, writing, or drawings. It’s evident in movies, can be read in books, and viewed in paintings. It’s done in the most wonderful way in Fahrenheit 451, with the words forming the story in the reader’s mind and bringing the words on the page to tangibility, to a realness that few authors can equal. It is a fantastic story, a wondrous tale, brought to life through words, and the language Ray Bradbury uses, that shapes the characters, their feelings, thoughts and situations, and makes the story both thought-provoking and believable. 

Hope you guys enjoyed!! Have a great night and good luck to my sophomores on their LotF essay! :-*

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