The diction and detail used by Willa Cather in the book A Lost Lady, paints a picture in the readers mind by her prose selection of diction and arrangements of graphic detail, which conveys a feeling of passion, sadness, tense anger and unending happiness through Neil Herbert. Throughout the book, Cather describes Neil Herbert¡¯s life from his childhood, to his teenage years, and then to his adulthood with surpassing diction and supporting detail.
As the story begins, Cather describes Neil Herbert as, ¡°a handsome boy of twelve whom she liked.¡± This description gives us a mental picture of this boy with a smile on his face and always being courteous. In his younger years, the reader can assume that Herbert was very energetic and always merry. He¡¯d even try to catch a bird in a tree so Ivy Peters couldn¡¯t kill it with a rock. ¡°If I can get it now, I can kill it and put it out of its misery.¡± Through Cather¡¯s details the reader can tell that Herbert had a strong determination to catch the bird. Herbert ends up falling from the tree and breaking his arm of which he gets treated at Mrs. Forrester¡¯s house. ¡°What soft fingers Mrs. Forrester had,¡± and he though, ¡°what a lovely lady she was.¡± The author states that ¡°The little boy was thinking that he would never be in so nice a place again.¡± Through Cather's description the reader can tell that Neil had a yearning passion for Mrs. Forrester and that her house was like heaven on earth.
Later on as Neil Herbert spurts into his teenage years, the reader attains that Neil¡¯s passion for Mrs. Forrester becomes immensely greater. Mrs. Forrester was the only woman he knew who wore earrings of which, ¡°they hung naturally against her thin, triangular cheeks.¡± Cather describes the immense admiration from Neil towards Mrs. Forrester through compliments that he is making. Neil would say, ¡°he had never found one so attractive and distinguished as Mrs. Forrester,¡± and that, ¡°other women were heavy...
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