What are some literary features or other language features in the following two passages?   “I should have done it a long time ago. When there were three bullets in the gun instead of two. I...

What are some literary features or other language features in the following two passages? 

 

“I should have done it a long time ago. When there were three bullets in the gun instead of two. I was stupid. We’ve been over all of this. I didn’t bring myself to this. I was brought. And now I’m done. I thought about not even telling you. That would probably have been best. You have two bullets and then what? You cant protect us. You say you would die for us but what good is that?”

 

“Sooner or late they will catch us and they will kill us. They will rape me. They’ll rape him. They are going to rape us and kill us and eat us and you wont face it. You’d rather wait for it to happen. But I can’t. I can’t.”

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Michael Ugulini | (Level 3) Educator

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A language feature of the two passages presented is the informal, everyday, style of speech that Cormac McCarthy gives to the wife of the protagonist in the novel "The Road." Just like the poet Robert Frost does in many of his poems, Cormac McCarthy embraces the diction of everyday society, even as it has broken down, and continues to break down before the very eyes of the characters of the novel.

A literary feature in the first passage listed above is the relating of back story by way of dialogue. The woman describes to her husband her feelings through her speech. She relates how she should have killed her family earlier, when she had the three bullets, in order to save them all from the horror before them now. The reader learns that there was a time, prior to this scene, when she had the ability to change the course of their respective lives.

Another literary feature is the use of foreshadowing in the second passage. The woman describes her fears to her husband. Her speech foreshadows what she believes, and what in fact probably will happen to them all if they stay in their home and allow the roving bands of marauders and cannibals to have their way with them.

Another literary feature in "The Road" is the use of repetition in the second passage quoted above. Cormac McCarthy repeats the word "rape" in a very effective way. This serves to drive home the point that a terrible fate awaits the family if they don't take some kind of action quickly.

     "They will rape me. They’ll rape him. They are going to rape us and..."

This repetition solidifies what the author is trying to say and it builds tension in the novel. The reader can see in their mind's eye the breakdown of society and the absolute abandonment of morals as society becomes every man and woman for themselves. In addition, there is repetition with the word "us" in this second passage, as well, and also with the phrase "I can't."

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