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Comparative Essay, Things Fall Apart vs. The Persimmon Tree

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Introduction

Language Arts Comparative Essay: A comparison of the use of similes, metaphors and narrative perspective between Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe and The Persimmon Tree, by Marjorie Barnard Things Fall Apart and The Persimmon Tree could hardly be more different, the former being set in Africa, reflecting an entire society facing substantial change, and taken from a third-person point-of-view, whereas the latter is set in Australia, reflecting the main character's experience of convalescing, and taken from a first-person point-of-view. However, despite their differences, both texts exhibit a similarity in that both Achebe and Barnard have made extensive use of similes and metaphors in their writing styles, in order to enhance the mood A significant contrast can be found between the two different narrative techniques, particularly with respect to the levels of attention to detail found in each text. Achebe allows the attention to detail in Things Fall Apart to vary across the text, as the novel has far more space for the writing style to vary in its attention to detail as opposed to The Persimmon Tree, a short story, which by and large maintains a distinctly high level of attention to detail to almost all objects and scenes described in the story. ...read more.

Middle

In addition to the contrasts in writing styles examined above, there is a noteworthy point to be found in the comparisons of the different texts, in that the employment of different narrative techniques, whether they are first- or third-person techniques, all serve an important purpose. For example, in the first example, the sparing account of the stools would have been appropriate for a scene of judgement, where excessive elaboration on trivial stools would merely be distracting for the reader from the process of judgement itself. Latterly, Achebe's rich account of the setting however, would serve to enhance our perceptions of the setting, to be contrasted with the setting after the rain had fallen. And in The Persimmon Tree, Barnard's rich accounts of the settings- the room and the persimmons- are highly suitable for the very private and personal experience of convalescing- during which our observations become so much more comprehensive- which is what the main character of The Persimmon Tree is going through. Another comparison can be found in the fact that both authors make extensive use of similes and metaphor in their works to set the mood and atmosphere of a scene. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, another noteworthy point where Barnard's use of metaphor goes beyond what Achebe has done would be in her comparison of the persimmon trees to "Hesperidean trees". She uses this metaphor to create a sense of separation between the trees and the readers, as the trees possess a mythical quality which readers are unable to perceive- myths are fiction after all. However, this sense of separation is important to the text, in that Barnard thus gives readers a feel for what the narrator herself might be feeling; the narrator similarly feels a sense of separation from the trees, as they only exist within her memory. Through her skilful use of metaphor, Barnard thus adds realism to the narrator's experience of reminiscence, in that readers are able to perceive a crucial part of the experience themselves; that of separation from the objects in the recollections. In conclusion, despite the differences in narrative technique, both Achebe and Barnard have made full use of the techniques chosen, and within the limitations of that technique have varied their attention to detail accordingly. In both their writing styles, extensive use of similes and metaphors have been made to set the mood and atmosphere for the respective texts, but differences in the use of such literary devices do exist, as illustrated by Barnard's deft use of metaphor. ...read more.

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