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Comparing Authors' Styles

By ShawnEssafi Sep 07, 2014 801 Words
Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter, and William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies, use writing styles that are vastly different from one another, yet share the use of some rhetorical devices. Hawthorne used a legion of apostrophe and epithet, while Golding used a great deal of description and imagery. The forms of writing in the two books are different, but both authors use a variety of devices in divergent manners.

In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne broke the flow of the reading throughout the entirety of the book to address a topic, which is called apostrophe. One example in evident on page 18 which states, “Many characteristics—and those, too, which contribute not the least forcibly to impart resemblance in a sketch—must have vanished, or been obscured, before I met the General” (Hawthorne 18). In this example, the narrator breaks the flow to address some small characteristics about the General. Another example of apostrophe on page 100: But here—if we supposed this interview betwixt Mistress Hibbins and Hester Prynne to be authentic, and not a parable—was already an illustration of the young minister's argument against sundering the relation of a fallen mother to the offspring of her frailty. Even thus early had the child saved her from Satan's snare. (Hawthorne 100).

In addition to Hawthorne's use of apostrophe, he also uses epithet. Epithet is adding descriptive adjectives to nouns to create a clearer image in the reader's head. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne extensively used very long run-on sentences filled with description and symbolism. One of many examples of it is on page two, and it uses many devices including epithet, a plethora of apostrophe, and a surplus of parenthesis: In my native town of Salem, at the head of what, half a century ago, in the days of old King Derby, was a bustling wharf,—but which is now burdened with decayed wooden warehouses, and exhibits few or no symptoms of commercial life; except, perhaps, a bark or brig, half-way down its melancholy length, discharging hides; or, nearer at hand, a Nova Scotia schooner, pitching out her cargo of firewood,—at the head, I say, of this dilapidated wharf, which the tide often overflows, and along which, at the base and in the rear of the row of buildings, the track of many languid years is seen in a border of unthrifty grass,—here, with a view from its front windows down this not very enlivening prospect, and thence across the harbour, stands a spacious edifice of brick. (Hawthorne 2)

In this example, it seems as if the speaker loses his topic and starts further analyzing characteristics of the objects he had already analyzed. The speaker gets back on topic, and it is revealed that all that describing led to him pointing out a brick building across the harbor.

Lord of the Flies, written by William Golding, is an allegorical novel that is full of symbolism and epithet along with a few examples of irony. There are many examples of symbolism in the novel. Fire is used as a symbol of hope in the beginning of the novel, as the boys attempted to use it as a light so they could get rescued. However, after the fire was finally lit and it exceeded the boys control, it transformed into a symbol of hopelessness. The incident where the fire spun out of control and killed a boy is also ironic, as the boys originally viewed it as their way off the island. Instead of giving them life, it took away a life. Another example of symbolism is the conch. The conch represents power and authority. Whoever holds the conch has the power and the right to speak. Everyone of the boys respects it. To further reinforce its symbolism of power and authority, once it was broken, leadership was once again for the taking. In order to convey the scenes and images to the readers, Golding inserted adjectives throughout the novel. These uses of epithet helped create imagery. A simple example of this is on page 35, which states “He was a shrimp of a boy, about six years old, and one side of his face was blotted out by a mulberry-colored birthmark.” Instead of saying he was a young boy, Golding detailed his appearance to allow the reader to create an image.

William Golding and Nathaniel Hawthorne used a variety of rhetorical devices to help the reader understand their respective novels. Although the styles of writing were different, they both used some of the same devices, or devices that are closely linked. Hawthorne used commas and breaks in the writing extensively, while Golding used dialogue. Both authors used symbolism and epithet. This goes to show how two contrasting writing styles can still create images and use devices to help the reader understand.

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