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Studying a passage from Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey.

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Introduction

Meghan Jennings Commentary #1 The passage comes from the work Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey. It's a fairly modern piece being written in only 1988. The title itself reflects a notion that the piece centers on two characters, Oscar and Lucinda. We are acquainted with these characters in the first few paragraphs. There is a man of middle class standing, Oscar, and a woman with a glass making business of her own, Lucinda. This passage comes rather late in the story of Oscar and Lucinda and is the introduction of Oscar to Lucinda's world. The first paragraph of the passage tells us that the work is written in the third person view point but this particular viewpoint focuses on Oscar. We find that he is attracted to the female character, she who owns a glass manufacturing business, as he dreams of treating her to wine or sitting down over tea to talk. He wants to be with her and treat her as if they are both in a higher class. ...read more.

Middle

What's interesting to note is that even though his world is pure and clean, hers is dirty and still it produces a "miracle" (Line 39) in this stunning glass product. He was deceived to think Lucinda's world was simply that of refinery and elegance. The tone of this piece is one of wonder and amazement. Along with using words like "miracle", the author likens glass to many things. In the lines "the white of pure heat, the white of the crucible, and the white of the molten glass" (Lines 25-26), shows that this is a scene in which everything seems to melt into each other, an immutable scene. It is the beginning of Oscar's acquaintance with the process and truly a sight he'd never laid eyes upon. In the beginning of the passage there is an air of arrogance in that the author doesn't expect to be able to find beauty in this place. The repetition of the word "wonder" seeks to reinforce the amazement present in the author during his introduction to the process of blowing glass. ...read more.

Conclusion

These lines show the way in which Peter Carey writes in much of the passage, with long sentences that convey a whole point. In this case, the point conveyed in these lines is the central point of the passage. For, surroundings can be deceiving and one can find beauty in the most unlikely of places. The man in the passage seems to be the foil for Oscar. He completely challenges Oscar's idea of beauty and makes Oscar reexamine all his preconceived notions. Through mixed types of sentences, glowing vocabulary, and the strong contrast of filth to purity, the image of beauty is created and reinforced numerous times. The author does not fail to "paint a picture with words" but also manages to strongly convey his message. This beauty that Oscar has found is located in both the flowing streams of Devon and in the heated workshops in even the grungiest of back alleys. The reader is immediately drawn into this scene of the workshop, and, along with Oscar, is able to find the beauty in both the process and finished product. Oscar's perception of beauty, and perhaps that, too, of the reader is forever changed. ...read more.

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