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Commentary on Edward Hopper's NIGHTHAWKS, 1942

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Sumarsono Darsono (Jacky) Commentary on Edward Hopper's NIGHTHAWKS, 1942 Joyce Carol Oate's commentary on Edward Hopper's paining "Night Hawks", 1942 is told in the third person narrative. Using a reflective style of writing the reader is presented with the different thoughts of two individuals a man and a woman. Using such literary devices as imagery and symbolism this piece of writing presents a detail account moment in the life of a couple late at night in a brilliantly lit bar. This commentary is set against in a silent background, no one speaks and we are told "it's the middle of the night" and "hasn't said a word for the past ten minutes", presented with four character sits in the bar. First the reader is presented with a woman "wearing a red dress cut to expose her arms", followed by a man sits "silent beside her". The other two people are a man sits at the counter "unmoving except to sit his coffee" and the other one is the bartender. Against this the reader is presented with the transition of thoughts between the man and woman. ...read more.


The author is carefully using color in this writing. Start from the woman dresses in red, here this color symbolizes the gender of the character. "The woman is wearing a short-sleeved red dress..." the red is also use to describe the love relationship between the woman and her companion. However judging by the seductive appearance of the woman such as " pouty lipsticked mouth, she has true redhead's true pallor like skim milk" The author is trying to use the ordinary love color to make a juxtaposition against their lusty relationship But still this woman is still conscious on her action, because she knows her action is "guilty". The color white can is also be used to symbolize the innocence of the two minor characters. The corner man is "unmoving except to sip his coffee" and the countermen is "stopped gaping at her". Here, the author tells the reader that there is no participation of this inappropriate relationship among these two characters, becaue they are unaware of who these people are and what they have done. The other contrast is made by the author is the image of white against the red. ...read more.


The old make up "her makeup gets caked", "her lipstick wears off" symbolizes the decay of this relationship, Oathes try to use the fact that the absent of the "ladies room" shows that her make up cannot be fixed again, therefore the author tells the reader that there is no solution can help to maintain this horrible relationship. The usage of smell is also crucial in this commentary. The horrible relationship of the two individuals is described by using unpleasant smells such a "sweaty", "rancid" and the smell of "dirty socks". The smell of "little ash" of "her hair stirs" can be used to explain the angriness of the woman. By using syntax and punctuation such as commas and questions marks, the writing appears to be very slow and also quiet. The effect this has on the reader is a feeling that we are also standing in the bar, watching what is taking place and try to understand these people's feelings and the situation they are in In conclusion, Oates is very intelligent in using a number of literary devices to convey a wordless situation once frozen in time, letting the reader into the minds of the people in Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks, 1942 ...read more.

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