Commentary of a Monologue: Moon Tiger, 1987, by Penelope Lively

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Commentary: Moon Tiger, 1987, by Penelope Lively This monologue depicts the thoughts of an elderly woman who is dying in a hospital. She gives us a her views and description of language which shows us the importance it holds in her life. She talks about the history of language saying ‘we open our mouths and out flow words whose ancestries we do not even know.’ This shows that she cares greatly about words and their origin and it is important to her that more people care about it as well. The rhyming of ‘flow’ and ‘know’, may also have a humorous effect as it suggests that she is playing with the words.
She also uses imagery to describe what words are like saying they ‘blow with the wind, hibernate, reawaken, shelter parasitic on the most unlikely hosts, survive and survive and survive’. She personifies language, comparing it to an animal or a plant that does not die but rejuvinates. This indicates how strongly she feels about language. She describes it as being immortal as it will never end. This might give an insight as to how she may feel about dying. She may want to survive her illness, hence the repetition of ‘survive’. The repetition of this word draws emphasis to it. She may hope to live on through her words.
She continues to compare language, using metaphors, to other aspects of nature such as when she says ‘it was like grains of sand on the shore, the leaves on the great ash outside my bedroom window, immeasurable and unconquerable’. The use of the similies gives us an image of how vast and large language is as the decription depicts how timeless and endless words are. She also makes use of the strong adjectives, ‘immeasurable’ and ‘unconquerable’ and how much power language holds to her and maybe how she feels when she uses it. She depicts people as ‘walking lexicons’, objectifying them. This

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