This passage from Dorothy Sayers The Nine Tailors revolves around a solitary character

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The Nine Tailors Commentary By Melanie Ngai

This passage from Dorothy Sayers’ The Nine Tailors revolves around a solitary character, Wimsey and his seemingly hellish struggle to escape the bell tower.    We are unsure what motivates him to endure this suffering; whether it is fear that he is running away from, or a goal his is moving towards.   However, the author conveys the pain Wimsey must tolerate, we speculate that whatever the reason, it must merit this apparent torture.  In this passage, features such as figurative language, sensory imagery, sound effects, structure and characterization have been analyzed, portraying the effective ways in which Sayers has illustrated Wimsey's feelings.

 Throughout the prose passage, Sayers makes effective use of figurative language to convey to the reader the experiences of Wimsey trying to escape the noisy bell tower.  For example, in the first paragraph, in line 3, personification is used, “Sweating ringers” is used to personify the ringing bells, which emphasizes the ringers were working hard and like a human when doing sports, and that it also sweats.  Another use of figurative language from this passage is the use of simile in the line “As his head rose through the floor, the brazen fury of the bells fell about his ears like the blows from a thousand beating hammers.” This simile is used to explain the situation where and what Wimsey was experiencing in the bell tower while trying to escape, the sound of the bells are loud and intense as it is very near Wimsey.  Another use of personification and simile is “The whole tower was like a drunken man.” This emphasizes and personifies that the bells are moving back and forth like a drunken man and it also highlights the instability and precariousness of Wimsey’s situation.

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 Throughout the passage, Sayers uses a variety of literary devices with the primary objective of illustrating Wimsey’s agony in a way that will paint a picture in our minds and cause us to emphasize with the character.   The author applies various types of sound imagery, which seems fitting, as the main topic of the passage is the pain that the sound of the bells causes.  Visual imagery is used in line 7, “stunned and shaken, Wimsey set his foot on the last ladder.” This emphasizes that Wimsey was stunned and couldn’t believe what he saw while putting his foot ...

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