It could be argued that without figurative language, enjoyable literature would cease to exist. The written word would be like a textbook, convening facts with no depth, setting or emotion. James Hurst’s The Scarlet Ibis is a perfect example. James Hurst uses figurative language to set the mood of the story and to foreshadow Doodle’s death. It mixes in with the story like a picture and a paintbrush to successfully aid the reader in becoming immersed with the tale’s setting and to inform them of the grim fate that awaits Doodle. Figurative language is a key part of the book and it would be very dull and lifeless without.
With figurative language, James Hurst can successfully set the mood of the story. “. . . the flowers’ smell speaking softly the names of our dead. . . ,“ is a prime example, as it sets the gloomy mood for that scene in the passage. It fills the scene with thoughts of the boy’s deceased relatives and his sadness as he will never see them again. Similarly, he uses figurative language to set a mood of fear in the story’s darkest hour. “. . . like a bursting Roman candle, a gum tree ahead of [them] was shattered by a bolt of lightning.” With danger all around the brothers, an exploding gum tree directly in front of them fills their hearts with terror. This successfully sets the state of thought for the characters and reader in this event. Although figurative language is used to provide imagery for the story, it is also used to foretell Doodle’s death.
When Doodle was born he was named William Armstrong, a name that seemed too big for a small disabled baby. “. . . which was like putting a big tail on a small kite,” is what the boy’s brother opinion on the matter was. A kite with a tail too big for it will fall and crash under the weight that proved too much for it. Doodle’s brother placed a heavy burden on him with his preposterous expectations. In this way, the expectations could be compared to the kite’s tail and Doodle could be compared to...
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