Passage Analysis: A Complicated Kindness
“This town is so severe. And silent. It makes me crazy, the silence. I wonder if a person can die from it. The town office building has a giant filing cabinet full of death certificates that say choked to death on his own anger or suffocated from unexpressed feelings of unhappiness. Silentium. People here just can’t wait to die, it seems. It’s the main event. The only reason we’re not all snuffed at birth is because that would reduce our suffering by a lifetime. My guidance counselor has suggested to me that I change my attitude about this place and learn to love it. But I do, I told her. Oh, that’s rich, she said. That’s rich.” This passage directly relates to the theme of coming of age in a repressive society, which the author consistently weaves through the story, by using diction and irony to tie the theme together. This passage appears at the beginning of the novel, which is highly relevant as it sets the tone for the rest of the story, while giving the reader insight into the main character. “My guidance counselor has suggested to me that I change my attitude about this place and learn to love it. But I do, I told her.” This is character revelation for Nomi, the protagonist; this reveals to the reader that she is a very sarcastic and cynical girl. One may also see that she has a dark sense of humour when she says “The only reason we’re not all snuffed at birth is because that would reduce our suffering by a lifetime”. Ironically, the name “Nomi” means: beautiful, pleasant, and delightful which is the complete opposite of how she is portrayed in the novel. She constantly questions her surroundings and appears in such a negative light because she feels that her town is such an ignorant place. Nomi uses certain diction to get the theme of this novel across. Right at the beginning of the passage she uses the word “severe”, the meaning of the word in this case is serious or stern in manner or appearance, rigidly...
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