Idea of Perfection

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The Idea of Perfection, by Kate Grenville

This extract from Kate Grenville’s ‘The Idea of Perfection’ explores the idea of heritage and the need to preserve cultural landmarks. Furthermore, the author addresses the theme of beauty, touching on the idea that perfection can alter the perception of beauty. The author uses a variety of features in order to convey her views, each of which I shall consider. In particular, I shall focus on imagery, grammar and sounds.

The precise structure of this text serves to emphasise the author’s focus on order and tidiness. The text can be divided into three distinct sections. The first section comprises lines 1 to 20 which describe the character’s journey towards the bridge. This section has an inquisitive tone, the character curiously searches for the bridge which she recognises “from its picture in the paper”. The character appears to be secretive and is very self-aware, “She glanced around, as if someone might have heard her.” The second part of this text is made up of lines 21 to 46. Throughout this section, the character adventurously searches the surroundings of the bridge as she admirers the shapes and materials of the cultural symbol. Finally, the last section of this text includes lines 47 to 58. In this final part, the character repeatedly draws the bridge in her notebook, carefully examining each aspect of its structure. The great lengths to which the woman goes to in order to draw the bridge shows her appreciation for its value and splendour.

Throughout this text, Kate Grenville explores three central themes. Primarily, Grenville deals with the idea of natural beauty and the manner in which it is preserved. The protagonist’s actions revolve solely around the historic bridge which has been numerously repaired to prevent its collapse. The paradoxical beauty of the bridge stems from its repair, the bridge is badly damaged, yet it is the bridge’s repair which makes it attractive, “Each...
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