Norman Mailer’s account of the memorable boxing match on the 24th March 1962 shows his take of this unforgettable fight. It was between the current world champion Benny Paret and his competitor Emile Griffith, a fight that had a tragic ending. Mailer’s factual account of this horrific evening uses figurative language throughout; the images he creates helping us picture the fight as if being there in the crowd watching it.
The article which Mailer wrote follows in a chronological order, following each section of the fight as it actually happened; making us feel as if we were there watching it as it was happening. This intensifies the images that he creates through figurative language, and we get a clear mental image of each of the parts of the fight.
The metaphor “Then Paret began to wilt” shows his lack of enthusiasm in just round 6 out of 15. A wilting plant lacks life and growth, colour and energy – resembling Paret’s exhaustion. The only thing that is keeping his spirit up is the thought that ‘he can take more punishment that any man alive’; only adopting this thought to demonstrate his power to the crowd, although this is not the case. It is the first time that he has shown any sign of weakness during a match and he feels ashamed by his ‘wilting’ and we feel the shame that he felt.
Griffith, on the other hand is the complete opposite, he is excited and it is shown by the similie “Griffith was in like a cat ready to rip the life out of a huge boxed rat”. His eagerness, enthusiasm and anticipation is shown through this similie. Although, it can also be seen as ironic, as it was Griffith that “ripped the life” out of Paret, despite him barely surviving a few more days in hospital.
The force of the attach which Griffith is unleashing on Paret...