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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 447

Everything in Its Place by Oliver Sacks offers readers a look into the life of a British neurologist and author who lost his life to cancer. At eighty-two, Sacks lived a long life filled with both happiness and sadness. His collection of essays, found in the text, allows readers to...

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Everything in Its Place by Oliver Sacks offers readers a look into the life of a British neurologist and author who lost his life to cancer. At eighty-two, Sacks lived a long life filled with both happiness and sadness. His collection of essays, found in the text, allows readers to see the world in a realistic way, as Sacks refuses to lessen the challenges of life.

The text is written using first-person and is written in vernacular (one of “ordinary people”). By writing in first-person, Sacks allows readers to see into his personal world. The experiences shared are ones which Sacks actually lived through. He offers readers a “been there, done that” point of view, which some third-person perspectives tend to lack. Sacks chooses to use everyday diction, which allows for most readers to be able to comprehend and ponder the writing. This is important for readers because he does not try to impress readers with elevated and lofty word choice. He wants readers to understand what he is writing about and not struggle with the language.

The topics Sacks chooses to write about are ones which many people can relate. Although many readers may not have had fathers who were world-class swimmers or who have visited the “four grand South Kensington museums,” one could assume that most readers have had common experiences with what inspired them at a young age. By highlighting events that are mostly universal, like swimming and not liking school, Sacks creates a bond with readers through these mutual experiences. Connections between an author and readers are of the utmost importance when the author wishes to pass on knowledge.

Perhaps one of the most moving essays discusses mortality. In this essay, Sacks refuses to ignore the inevitability of death. For some teens and young adults, this could be some of the most important information Sacks shares. We are all mortal, and we will all die. Sacks does not seem to be as bothered by the thought of his own mortality as he is with the death of human contact. In this essay, Sacks brings up the problems associated with social media smart technology. As morbid as death is, Sacks reaches out to readers about the death of human contact. He finds actual conversations and physical contact far more important than the false security and “relationships” social media offers.

In the end, Sacks seems to keep his readers in mind as he moves through his life. His use of a first-person narrative voice and everyday vernacular draws readers into the text. It seems that it is his hope that his text will make readers think about their own lives as they learn about his.

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