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An Evil Cradling - Into the dark - use of language

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Introduction

IN THE CHAPTER 'INTO THE DARK', HOW DOES KENNAN USE LANGUAGE TO DESCRIBE THE EXTREME MENTAL STATES HE EXPERIENCED IN HIS FIRST PERIOD OF CAPTIVITY? Throughout the chapter 'Into The Dark', Keenan goes through some distinct phases of mental states, each caused by a previous one and ultimately by his imprisonment. He uses a various range of strong descriptions to portray his condition, ideas, thoughts and impressions. The unusual syntax used throughout the chapter conveys the states of mind which he goes though, guiding the reader into the prisoner's world. Keenan uses various techniques to convey the feeling of human degradation that he went through during the first period of his captivity. One of these is the enumeration of adjectives or nouns which communicate the misery to which he was reduced to. Such examples include the 'old, ragged, filthy cover' which suggest the grimy circumstances in which he had to live in. The 'excrement, sweat, the perspiration' emphasise this obloquy through which he goes. 'Sweat' and 'perspiration' imply oppressive heat, a sensation of lack of air. The 'excrement' implies that in this already oppressive space, Keenan is 'reduced to sleeping in the smell' of his 'own filth'. ...read more.

Middle

In the end the narrator expresses his despair by confessing that he is 'full with nothing', implying his frantic need of 'something' that he can 'think about', that can occupy his brain. Due to this prolonged lack of stimuli, Keenan becomes temporarily mentally unbalanced, with his senses going out of control. When Keenan is given a bowl of fruits his 'eyes are almost burned by what they see'. This suggests that due to his the repetitive, dull and lifeless days his senses became "thirsty" for a stimulus, and when they get it, they overact. This is suggested by the word 'burned', as the colours seem to go through his eyes, harming his retina, just as if he was kept in a dark place and then suddenly exposed to light, blinding him. His chaotic reaction is further emphasised by the extreme, seemingly almost exaggerated verbs or adjective for their nouns. Such examples include 'ecstatic embrace', 'torrents of tears', 'great rage' and tears that seem to 'tear the skin'. These powerful adjectives and verbs suggest his intense experience of the world. He seems to be flooded by these feelings and senses driving him into confusion and madness. ...read more.

Conclusion

Keenan's need of stability and support is accentuated by the phrase 'In my corner I sit enclosed in the womb of light from my candle-flame.' Sitting enclosed and the word 'womb' suggest a poverty of love and protection. Womb can also imply that his insecurity and fragility, just like an infant's or even more powerful, a yet unborn baby. He sits in the corner, almost trying to hide himself away, turning inwards. It seems that Keenan went through some phases. First the repetitive, monotonous days made his senses deprived of stimuli. He began to feel lifeless and his lack of motivation and emptiness made him depressed. Therefore, when he was exposed to a mild stimulus, the orange (and the other fruits), his senses went into extremes, overreacting. This caused a rush of sensitivity, ideas and thoughts, all of which were controlled by his senses. He could not bring control over his mind, and he lost the ability to reason logically for his ideas. His powerlessness made him feel insecure and weak, seeking comfort in light and a seemingly religious idolization of the colour orange, which can be interpreted as a worship of the Sun. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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