What kind of tone does Sven Birkerts set in the fourth paragraph of his essay "Into the Electronic Millennium"? How does he use diction to set that tone?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In his essay “Into the Electronic Millennium,” Sven Birkerts uses a number of different devices of rhetoric and diction to make his essay as effective as possible.  Many of these techniques can be seen in the essay’s fourth paragraph, which describes a former professor who has decided to sell all his books. Birkerts and a colleague (co-managers of a used bookstore which has purchased the man’s library) pack up the books, and then the man shows them a computer he owns. This incident occurred during a time when computers are still relatively new and usual:

While he and my partner hunched over the terminal, I roamed to and fro, inspecting the shelves. It was purely a reflex gesture, for they held nothing but thick binders and paper-bound manuals. "I’m changing my life," the professor–the ex -professor–was saying. "This is definitely where it’s all happening." He told us that he already had several good job offers. And the books? I asked. Why was he selling them all? He paused for...

(The entire section contains 524 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team