• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Thanikama in 'Running in the Family'

Extracts from this document...


The short passage extracted from the section ""Thanikama"" in the memoir Running in the Family written by Michael Ondaatje depicts a dark scene where the author's father, Mervyn, is left alone near the end of the book. The scene is described in extreme detail to portray a clear mental picture of the atmosphere and setting, yet sparkled with figures of speech and other writing devices of which this paper is aiming to will focus on. After only having read the very first miniature sentence, the reader can receive the negative vibes that Ondaatje is trying to send through his writing. The line "half empty" (1) is the negative way of saying that, in this case, the bottle of alcohol is actually half full. In establishing a generally sad, dark, lonely and negative mood to the scene, Ondaatje uses many features of which one is simply the presence of specific objects. As a matter of fact, Ondaatje's diction is (not only in this short passage but in the entire memoir as well) ...read more.


Perhaps that Mervyn could not see himself properly in the mirror since he was confused about himself, lost, and even drunk. Another reference to the mirror is further made stating that he was "scared of the presence of the mirror," (19) a hint that perhaps he really could not accept himself, which goes hand in hand with the fact that the father would get drunk when living hard times. Ondaatje goes in depth in explaining the room's appearance and the character's actions. For example the yellow pendulum of light that is caused by the swinging lamp the man held while walking. Ondaatje brings a more unique touch as he describes a property that is both part of the setting and the character's sensations: temperature. This rather repugnant imagery about pocket money gathering moulds might be shocking when picturing it, but absolutely brings in a perfect explanation of the intense and humid heat Ondaatje is feeling. ...read more.


The midnight rat which is a disgusted, scary, dark, and feared creature would be a metaphor for the death getting closer and closer. Past this point, short entries from other people are added in saying how Mervyn was and used to be, which would seem right now that he has past away. As this paper has shown, Ondaatje combined many literary devices in writing Running in the Family. Ondaatje's writing style is unique in the sense that it does tell a story (or preferably called a memoir), but it also borrows writing features from the poetic structure, in the way that even though all readers reads the same book with the same plot, interpretations could change and alter being more precise than a poem but less than a story. Ondaatje's exceptional skill to balance the metaphors with the statements and the personifications with the right choice of word in no particular chronological order results in a unique mind grasping memoir. - 1 - LEITH ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sylvia Plath section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sylvia Plath essays

  1. journeys end

    Osborne replies "No. That's the support line outside; the front line is fifty yards further on." This goes on for quite a while Raleigh asks questions and Osborne answers them. Some of the things that are said are particularly important in creating the atmosphere, such as where Raleigh says " How frightfully quiet it is!

  2. What is the importance of setting in 'Endgame?'

    much to Hamm, he still wishes to be the centre of it, indicating that Hamm is self-absorbed and attention seeking. The outside world is a constant topic of discussion for Hamm and Clov. Hamm seems to always want to know what is happening outside, even though Clov has told him

  1. inspector calls/ dramatic devices

    This shows how underlying secrets within the family create lots of tension. Another example of this is when Arthur Birling tells Gerald about his possible 'knighthood', then refuses to tell Eric about it when he enters. Nevertheless of the Birlings hostile response to Eva's death, Eric and Sheila's positive response

  2. Discuss how Blake uses language and imagery in chimney sweeper poems to communicate his ...

    giving the reader power as he states 'so your chimneys I sweep'. Blake does this to target the reader by identifying the reader as the hypocritical society within his poem and in the real world; by giving the reader power, Blake implies to the reader that as the protagonist states

  1. Mrs. Dalloway: Body and Room as Box of Flowers and Health

    "like a nun withdrawing, or a child exploring a tower - ": 45) fits with the metaphor of life as a sojourn in a difficult cell ("There was an emptiness about the heart of life - narrower and narrower would her bed be - ": 45), that yet allows for

  2. Flight written by Doris Lessing and Chemistry by Granham Swift. The writing style and ...

    The couple were now sauntering among the bushes, laughing. As he watched he saw the girl escape from the youth with a sudden mischievous movement, and run off through the flowers with him in pursuit. He heard shouts, laughter, a scream, silence. 'But it's not like that at all,' he muttered miserably.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work