Mary Oliver Rhetorical Analysis

Topics: Owls, Audience, Horned owl Pages: 2 (545 words) Published: January 21, 2013
The jellyfish, a dangerously stunning underwater creature, can adequately symbolize the phenomenon that is nature. Nobody denies the "medusa" of its attractive features, such as, its dazzling pink color, elegant frame, and most important, its transparent body that displays running electricity. However, touch it underwater and experience the wrath of its devious abilities. Its colorful stingers have the power to inject an electrical toxin into their prey. It can kill.

Furthermore, Mary Oliver, the writer of "Owls", successfully delineates the two-faced personality nature is affiliated with. In this rich excerpt, Oliver makes it a priority to point out that nature can be both miraculous and corrupt at the same time. Like the jellyfish, nature can bring “immobilizing happiness", but it can also be complex, and bring forth "death.”

From the get-go, Oliver uses Vonnegut-like imagery to create a distinct contrast between the "terrifying" and the fascinating parts of nature. For instance, when Oliver describes the great horned owl and the fields full of roses. According to Oliver, the great horned owl has a “hooked beak” that makes “heavy, crisp, and breathy snapping” sounds, and a set of “razor-tipped toes” that “rasp the limb.” Not only that, but this mystical creature is characterized as “merciless”, and as a dark creature that would “ eat the whole world” if it could. The fields full of roses, on the other hand, are used to symbolize happiness. They are described as sweet, lovely, and “red and pink and white tents of softness and nectar.” Through Oliver’s creative use of descriptive imagery, she begins to explain the incomprehensible mysteries of nature.

In the same fashion, Oliver uses vivid and flamboyant
diction to emphasize nature’s intricate ways. To describe the darkness of nature, Oliver uses words such as, “hopelessness”, “headless bodies”, and “immutable force”. On the contrary, for the awing parts of nature, Oliver’s passage...
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