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In "The Stunt Pilot," how does Dillard convey the artistic nature of the way in which...

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magnotta | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:21 AM via web

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In "The Stunt Pilot," how does Dillard convey the artistic nature of the way in which Rahm maneuvers his plane through explicit comparisons?

Some of these comparisons include the following:

"We stuck to the plane's sides like flung paint."

"Vaguely I could see the chrome sea twirling over Rahm's head like a baton, and the dark islands sliding down the skies like rain."

"The air was a fluid, and Rahm was an eel."

"It was as if Mozart could move his body through his notes . . . "

 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 21, 2012 at 3:02 PM (Answer #1)

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You already have picked out a number of great examples of the way in which Dillard uses figurative language in her attempts to capture the grace and skill of Rahm as he flies his plane in such mindboggling ways and with such panache. Another quote you might like to consider would be:

It was like a Saul Steinberg fantasy, the plane was the pen. Like Steinberg's contracting and billowing pen line, the line that Rahm spun moved to form new, punning shapes from the edges of the old.

What is key in this comparison is the way that Dillard explicitly compares the manoeuvres of Rahm to an act of creation, thinking of the work of Saul Steinberg and comparing the plane to the pen of Saul. Both, through their art and skill, manage to create forms of beauty through their adept handing of their tool, whether it be a pen or a plane. Again and again such comparisons are used to develop the presentation of Rahm and his incredible skill. 

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