The extract from Kate Grenvilles The Idea of Perfection is one that focuses on a particular bridge, located over Cascade Rivulet

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English commentary – The idea of perfection extract

The extract from Kate Grenville’s “The Idea of Perfection” is one that focuses on a particular bridge, located over Cascade Rivulet, probably in the outskirts of their town. In this passage, the extensive use of descriptive language is clear; the main character picks up many details of the bridge and its surroundings as she explores it. A thematic point in this extract is linked with the title, “The Idea of Perfection”, where through the tranquil style in which this extract is written, we get an idea that his bridge, though it looks simple, is in its own way, an idea of perfection.

The setting is central to this passage, it revolves around a bridge, above a river called Cascade Rivulet, lying downhill. A flat paddock with cows beside the bridge suggest a rural environment, with farms nearby, Lines 15 to 20 explains why the main character decided to explore this area: the local community is split between keeping the bridge as a part of the area’s cultural heritage, and demolishing the bridge. A picture of the bridge on the local newspaper probably perked up the main character’s interest of the bridge, as she “recognised it straight away from its picture in the paper”.

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The passage is structured in short paragraphs, typically like that of a novel or extended text. Almost every sentence contains some sort of descriptive language such as adjectives or adverbs, which highlights the writer’s attempt to insert all the details possible for this setting to paint readers the picture of perfection that she picks up from the bridge. The constant use of positive connotative words such as “together”, “glinting”, “transparent”, “quaint” suggest that the author, as well as the main character, adores this setting. Most sentences are of a compound or complex nature, which helps the author slow down the ...

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