An Analysis of Jamacian Fragment

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Rhetorical Analysis of Jamacian Fragment by Al Hendricks.

The Jamaican Fragment is a story about a man, who during his regular walk to and from work encounters an irregularity he views as an act of inferiority. We can assume that the Jamaican Fragment is a real life experience, rather than a piece of fiction due to first person writing style. In the first paragraph the author uses visual imagery by describing the colors of the houses as well as the bungalow style house, which presents as the setting. We can start to conclude that the author is ethnic himself or very familiar with differentiating ethnic characteristics. In psychology we learn that the race we are born of, makes us better able to distinguish features and characteristics amoung our own culture. People often struggle distinguishing key characteristics in other races, ethnicities, and cultures. So when Hendricks refers to the one little boy as a “little Jamaican”, he is presenting us with the idea that he is ethnic. It is important to take notice of the fact that Hendricks may be of Jamaican descent as in the next line in the above mentioned sentence he calls the little boy a “strong Jamaican” and this sets the tone for the writer’s stance. Hendrick outlines his passion for his race as a “strong” race as opposed to weak and inferior. The definition of prejudice according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is as follows “a (1): preconceived judgment or opinion (2): an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge .” Prejudice is a very controversial topic in our society that often incites anger and defensiveness in people. Hendricks essay Jamaican Fragment is a well written personal descriptive essay that addresses the idea of prejudice employing irony and humour so that the reader remains open-minded. Hendricks’ simple, relaxed style helps assist the reader through the story without preconceived notions or prejudices towards other ethnicities. There are several figures of speech used to entice the reader and the reflective mood of the essay allows us to reflect on our own thoughts and hopefully come to the same conclusions around prejudice. Hendricks’ style of the essay is very important in terms of what he wants the reader to experience and how he wants them to experience the story. Words that I would use to describe the tone would be casual, curious and ironic. The author uses everyday language to create the casual tone such as “The other little fellow was smaller, but also sturdy – he was white, with hazel eyes and light-brown hair.” (362) This casual tone permits everyone to read this essay; there is no prejudice against an educated or uneducated audience. The sentence structure used is also simple and casual. “For a whole day I puzzled over this problem.”(363) This excerpt from Jamaican Fragment is an excellent example of the curious tone that utilizes in this essay. He is taking the reader on a journey of self-discovery. The reader is also curious as to the game the children play, could it really be a game of inferiority? There is also a strong sense of irony throughout the entire essay, it is my belief that the author uses an ironic tone to further his argument around prejudice enable the reader to learn a moral lesson. “The exercise is good for me and now and then I learn something from a little incident”(362), is an example of Hendricks’ using foreshadowing as a literary technique. We know that he is going to learn something and we know by the end of the essay that “little” is very much an understatement. “How silly grown-ups we are, how clever we are, how wonderfully able we are to impute deep motives to childish actions! How suspicious we are when have been warped by prejudice! “(364) This illustrates the ignorance that Hendricks employs and the relationship between ignorance and prejudice. He also uses exclamation marks to emphasize the enormity of his misjudgment. Syncrisis is a figure of speech in...
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