In literature, all authors use literary techniques to not only convey a message, but ultimately to make their writing more appealing. Some writers use juxtaposition as a technique to contrast a certain situation making it ironic and grabbing the reader’s attention. Malcolm Sedam uses this technique in his poem, “The Quick and the Dead,” by contrasting himself to another teacher. Sedam does this to display how ignorant and prejudice the one teacher is. For instance, “Good community – good school, no foreigners, Negroes, or Jews.” (ll. 7-8) This exemplification simply displays how racist the teacher truly is. A “good” school and community would consist of a variety of different students. A community is not considered bad if it has foreigners, Negroes, or Jews. Therefore, the poet uses juxtaposition throughout the poem to contrast himself to a another teacher in order to exemplify how rude and racist one of them is. Additionally, the speaker contrasts the ignorant teacher to a deceased friend. Malcolm Sedam states, “As friends of the deceased, we stood outside the plot.” (ll. 1-2) This quote shows how the poet contrasts the teacher to a dead friend because the speaker feels he’s not living. He’s not physically dead; however his prejudice personality causes the poet to see him as a mentally deceased friend. Although, juxtaposition is rarely seen in literature, ultimately Malcolm Sedam uses this technique to not only make his writing ironic, but to create meaning by contrasting a deceased person to a living, ignorant and racist teacher.
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