What are the literary elements in “August 4, 2011 / In Memory of Mark Duggan,” “October 10, 2006 / World Cup ,” and “July 29–August 18, 2014 / Making Room” in Citizen by Claudia Rankine?      

The literary elements in “August 4, 2011 / In Memory of Mark Duggan,” “October 10, 2006 / World Cup,” and “July 29–August 18, 2014 / Making Room” include imagery, juxtaposition, and hyperbole.

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In “August 4, 2011 / In Memory of Mark Duggan,” there's a literary element present called imagery. Imagery takes place in the first paragraph when Claudia Rankine describes the London house. To allow readers the chance to visualize the home, Rankine uses vivid language to describe the creaky steps and the ripped passport photo on the wall.

Rankine also deploys juxtaposition. She contextualizes the shooting of Mark Duggan by placing him side by side with Rodney King. King was brutalized by police officers in Los Angeles in 1991. Duggan, as the poem says, was shot by Scotland Yard officers in 2011. Although these incidents took place in different countries and different time periods, Rankine’s use of juxtaposition lets the reader create connections between the two Black men.

For “October 10, 2006 / World Cup,” think about how Rankine and John Lucas (her collaborator) make use of hyperbole. Some might find the repetition of slurs jarring or excessive. Yet their presence drives home the point that this soccer player (Zinedine Zidane) faced an extensive amount of racism.

In “July 29-August 18, 2014 / Making Room,” Rankine makes use of imagery once again. The description of the crowded subway should help the reader picture the speaker’s situation. More so, the speaker’s use of a second-person narrator could make the reader feel as if they’re in the speaker’s place. The intimacy created by the pronoun “you” might compel the reader to think about how they themselves would handle racial and gender issues in the context of public transportation.

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