Old Leisure - Literary Devices

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History has seen advancements in technology, philosophy, and industry, all of which radically changed the lives of those witnessing such developments. Slower, more relaxed lifestyles have given way to lifestyles of a faster paced nature. George Eliot describes her preference for the leisure of the past, conveying the message that the rushed leisure of her time is hardly leisure at all. She accomplishes this by using several stylistic devices, including personification, imagery, and diction.

The most obvious stylistic device used by Eliot is that of personification. She uses this device to create two people from her thoughts on old and new leisure. The fist person is New Leisure, who we can infer to be part of the growth of industry in the 19th century. He is eager and interested in science, politics, and philosophy. He reads exciting novels and leads a hurried life, attempting to do many things at once. Such characteristics help us to create an image of New Leisure as Eliot sees him.

Old Leisure is quite contrasting to New Leisure. Being a stout country squire of the 18th century, he is laid back, simple minded, well fed, and financially well off. He reads but one newspaper and favors Sunday services that "allow him to sleep." "He never went to Exeter Hall, or heard a popular preacher, or read Tracts for the Times or Sartor Resartus." He is not bothered by his "inability to know the causes of things" and sleeps "the sleep of the irresponsible." Eliot describes Old Leisure more than New Leisure because today's readers are familiar enough with living a life as hurried and fast paced as New Leisure's. Her description of Old Leisure is nostalgic of a slower paced way of life.

While Eliot uses human characteristics and actions to describe Old and New Leisure, she also creates images of both personages to further depict their contrasting lifestyles. The images of Old Leisure include him "scenting the apricots when they were warmed by the...
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