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Tag Archives: imagery

Way with Words

Even if I don’t always care for Ellison’s shocking storylines, I do appreciate his literary craftsmanship.

The boys groped about like blind, cautious crabs crouching to protect their mid-sections, their heads pulled in short against their shoulders, their arms stretched nervously before them, with their fists testing the smoke-filled air like the knobbed feelers of hypersensitive snails. Invisible Man chapter 1

I don’t care to relive the Battle Royal scene, but, boy, oh boy, that is a beautifully written sentence!

 

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2013 in Invisible Man

 

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Flighty

I had so much fun finding yesterday’s literary connection that I found one, or two, or maybe three more.

Today’s is brought to you by Charlotte Brontë.  I know, not your first guess of authors to be buddying up to Richard Wright, but here it is:

Then their eyes were riveted; a slate-colored pigeon swooped down to the middle of the steel car tracks and began strutting to and fro with ruffled feathers, its fat neck bobbing with regal pride.  A street car rumbled forward and the pigeon rose swiftly through the air on wings stretched so taut and sheer that Bigger could see the gold of the sun through their translucent tips.  He tilted his head and watched the slate-colored bird flap and wheel out of sight over the edge of a high roof.
“Now, if I could only do that,” Bigger said . . .

Doesn’t that sound like our good friend Jane Eyre?  Okay, fine, Jane was adamant that she was not a bird.

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.

But I’m pretty sure both of them were going for that whole “free flying” thing, so I’m still counting it on my list of connections.  Oh, and here’s an interesting essay about the bird imagery in Jane Eyre if your own wings want to carry you back to the good old days of pleasant reads.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2013 in Jane Eyre, Native Son

 

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No hope

Book III
Fate

Bigger Thomas has been sentences to death.
He sends Max away.

He felt Max’s hand on his arm; then it left.  He heard the steel door clang shut and he knew that he was alone.  He did not stir; he lay still, feeling that by being still he would stave off feeling and thinking, and that was what he wanted above all right now.  Slowly, his body relaxed.  In the darkness and silence he turned over on his back and crossed his hands upon his chest.  His lips moved in a whimper of despair. (Perennial Library Copy pg. 379)

Not feeling.
Not thinking.
On his back.
Arms crossed.
Is Bigger preparing himself for the coffin?

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2013 in Native Son

 

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When Hobbies Collide

Before I crash into bed for some serious reading, I spend about an hour every evening simultaneously hitting refresh hoping my internet will muster up enough gumption to allow me to write a post, watching old reality TV or BBC productions with my hubsters, sipping a glass of boxed merlot, and knitting.

I love to knit.  It’s calming in its rhythm.  It’s calculated in its patterns.  And most of all, it makes me feel productive during the laziest part of the day.

There are only two stiches in knitting:  the knit stitch, and the purl stitch.  Everything else is just a variant on one of those two.  In fact, if you want to get really picky, the purl stitch is nothing but the opposite of the knit stitch.

A knit stitch produces that smooth knitted fabric we’re all familiar with.

Knit Stitches

And the purl stitch produces those bumps that warn you that your sweater is inside out before someone else spots your tag.

Purl Stitches

But those purl bumps have other uses, usually to give garments dimension and interest.  And if you are as clever as Stephen Crane you can also be stitch them together into a rich literary fabric such as this one from the first paragraph of The Red Badge of Courage:

Purl quote.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in The Red Badge of Courage

 

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What’s a Metaphor?

Sorry about saying that I would have have a post about images and metaphors yesterday, and then not delivering.  If you’ve hung around this blog for any amount of time you probably saw that one coming.

But if you don’t want to read about the images and metaphors in Uncle Tom’s Cabin I could tell you more about that horrible Mississippi Mud Cake I made.  I’m telling you folks, Aunt Chloe would have shaken her head in despair at my mediocre attempt.  No “perfectioners” would have hired me so I could pay for my husband’s freedom.  You know that cracked dried up mud on the banks of a river in a drought year?  That’s what this cake was.

Oh, you’re here for images and metaphors.  Sorry, I’m easily distracted.

Water.  Eliza’s daring cross of the Ohio river, Tom’s move to the south, Eva’s death by Lake Pontchartrain, George’s family’s journey to freedom across Lake Erie, Cassie’s reconnection with her family learned of on the riverboat north.  Water delivers.

Hair.  Eva gives away her golden curls as a symbol of her love, Legree’s mother does the same for him, yet he rejects it.  Eliza is forced to cut her dark locks to ensure safe passage to Canada disguised as a young man.

Mothers.  Mrs. Stowe is one, and she often addresses her readers with the same enduring moniker.  Then, she smothers the book in mothers: mothers, both slave and free; mothers who have lost their children to slavery, death, and unbelief; mothers who are horrible at mothering (and wifing, and slaveholding too, for that matter); mothers who go to any lengths necessary to save their children; mothers who are helpless to save their children; mothers who cry and help; mothers who drink and despair; mothers who stand up to unfair laws and their husbands; mothers who mother children who are not their own; mothers who are not mothers, yet take on the role; mothers who heal the enemy and make them the friend; mothers who love.

Tom’s Bible.  It is always present.  There’s clinging to the Word of God, and then there’s really clinging to the Word of God.

And last, but not least, in fact, it’s definitely the best, is Christine’s analysis of the parallels between Jesus and Uncle Tom:

  • Tom leaves his cabin to descend into the south like Christ descended to earth to be “among the lowly.”
  • Tom is sinless (as far as we can recall in the novel, if you can find an instance where HBS shows him sinning please let us know, we think even his anger can be justified as righteous.)
  • Tom is forsaken by everyone.
  • The Morning Star shines over Tom as he lay beaten in the shed.
  • Tom’s time of bitterness about the coming events is like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane praying that the cup be taken from him.
  • Tom asks George to take care of Chloe like Jesus as John to care for Mary.
  • Sambo and Quimbo are like the two thieves on the cross, or possibly like the Roman soldier who while participating in his crucifixion realized Jesus was the Christ.
  • Legree is like Pilate or the Sanhedrin, although he also reminded me of obdurate Pharaoh.
  • The body of Tom was taken by his friend to be buried.
  • Tom’s death buys freedom for others.
 
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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Uncle Tom's Cabin

 

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Thinking about Water

Yesterday PP got its first smile from me.  Today it got its first smiley face with drawn in tear. 

Christian’s burden has just fallen off at the sight of the cross.

“Then he stood still a while, to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him that the sight of the Cross should thus ease him of his burden.  He looked therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks.”

I love the imagery.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2011 in Pilgrim's Progress

 

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