Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rhetorical Devices & Analysis

"After the rain or when snowfall thaw, the streets, unnamed, unshaded, unpaved, turn from the thickest dust in to the direst mud” (3). -Alliteration

“Like the water of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellows trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape for exceptional happenings, had never stopped there” (5). –Repetition

“It was ideal apple-eating weather; the whitest sunlight descended from the purest sky, and an easterly wind rustled, without ripping loose, the last of the leaves on that the Chinese elms” (10). –Imagery

“The mood of misery that descended never altogether lifted; it lingered like a cloud that might rain or might not” (27). – Smile

“Dick, who took a dim view of Willie- Jay, and called the letter ‘Just more of Billy Grahamcracker’s hooey.’ Adding, F****** of scorn!’ He’s the f*****’” (44). –Invective

“When is comes to murder, you can’t respect grief. Or privacy. Or personal feelings” (85). – Terse sentence/ anaphora

Another reason, the simplest, the ugliest was that this hitherto peaceful congregation of neighbors and old friends had suddenly to endure the unique experience of distrusting each other…it was someone within ten miles of where we stand now’”(88). Polysyndeton.

“Among Garden City’s animals are two gray tomcats who are always together—thin, dirty strays with strange and clever habits” (246). –Metaphor

The fact that the book is divided into chapters that explain what is simultaneously happening in lives of the Clutters and the murders- Juxtaposition.

“Because where else could have seen a gardens like that? With white marbles? Fountains” (93). –Rhetorical Questions

“Now, on this final day of her life, Mrs. Clutter hung in the closet the calico housedress she had been wearing, and put in one of her trailing nightgowns ad a fresh set of white socks” (30). -Foreshadowing

            It is interesting to analyze In Cold Blood from a rhetorical standpoint. Truman Capote’s writing style is one of the many reasons as to why it is considered a masterpiece. One would not have difficulty finding utilization of rhetorical strategies in his writing since Capote employs them on numerous occasions.
            When reading the book, one is immediately met with some of Copote’s many similes. Although a rather elementary form of description, he is able to convey important information to the reader. In the first half of chapter one, the author focuses on establishing a sense of the current situation. Though similes, Copote is able to provide crucial detail on the characters and their surroundings. In the following chapters, the author uses similar strategies to convey the crime, the fleeing of the murderers, the trail, and the hanging.
            Another device heavily employed is the use of imagery. Imagery works hand in hand with the juxtaposition of the surroundings the author tries to establish when switching off between the Clutters and the murderers. Each section usually begins with a description of the setting; whether that includes the climate or a person. It is ironic that Capote chooses to start the chapter subsequent to the murders of the Clutters with a weather  that is “gloriously bright skied, [and] as glittery as mica” (77). This juxtaposition is consistent in following chapters.
            Among other intelligently utilized devices, Copote chooses to foreshadow many events. This amount blatant foreshadowing creates a case of dramatic irony, where the reader is almost sure about what is going to happen in the future. This creates a heightened tension in the book, thus adding to the overall reception of the plot.


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  2. I completely agree that Capote's use of imagery was astounding. As I read, I constantly felt that I was involved in the plotline and I was really present during the events described. It also amazes me how the author was able to adjust his use of imagery, and other rhetorical devices, to each individual character. I found that when he was describing the activities and personalities of the clutters he used positively connotated diction and painted scenes for the reader that evoked a feeling of happiness. When the two murderers were being drawn, Capote used the harshest of words and the scenes that they inhabited always seemed to be quite gloomy. It absolutely astounds me that simply selecting words carefully and implementing a couple choice rhetorical strategies can change an entire outlook.