Hampl Analysis

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Ellie Kaplan
10 A.M. class

Patricia Hampl’s essay “Memory and Imagination” is a personal memoir of the experience of her first piano lesson at the age of seven. Hampl’s use of minute details, symbols, of her experience help drive the memoir. Hampl details her memory of her first piano lesson—“When I was seven, my father, who played the violin on Sundays with a nicely tortured flair which we considered artistic, led me by the hand down a long, unlit corridor in St. Luke’s School basement, a sort of tunnel that ended in a room full of pianos” (782). She continues on to describe her experience of her first piano lesson, ranging from Sister Olive Marie’s “oily face” and her sneeze under the supposed reaction to the glaring sun to learning the position of middle C to which she admirably refers to as the “North Star of sound”; to the Thompson Book, the first piano book she was told to play from to Mary Katherine Reilly, the girl she supposedly served as the sidekick to—emphasizing almost every single detail to pinpoint perfection. From what can be seen so far, Hampl has a knack for describing her experiences in as much detailed description as possible—painting a way for her readers to envision in their minds what her experience must’ve been like for her. Hampl also uses powerful imagery conveying ethos, multiple symbols, and repetition to demonstrate her belief that memories are a little bit of remembrance filled in with a lot of imagination; they are “created version of the past” Throughout the essay, Hampl uses ethos to establish credibility with her reader through her reasoning that no memory is the “whole truth and nothing but”. With the use of imagery and language Hampl evokes a vivid picture in the reader’s mind allowing the reader connect with her story and then persuades her audience with her reflection of her memory. In her memory of her first piano lesson, Mary Katherine Reilly, a former classmate, acted as if she was superior to Hampl,...
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