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As he offers an in-depth interpretation of the mountain world, Muir brings the reader to a sense of fun. The author of "The Yosemite" provides readers with a treasure by describing the incidents that later illustrate actions that took place in the valley. Reading the novel, it is apparent that the years he has spent in the valley have been valuable to his overall experience. For eg, he has observed natural activities such as earthquakes and the development of taluses. Their shape in his eyes, in fact, reinforces his explanation of events after the valley's floods. The paper illustrates the different rhetorical devices that are utilized by the author while taking into consideration the effect that it had on the literary piece. I believe that the utilization of the different rhetorical devices in the story have been vital because of the impact they had on the final piece.
The first component of rhetoric that is evident in the play regards the use of anecdote. Indeed, Muir has heavily utilized the device in the story to enhance its effect on the reader. For example, he says;
“I was long in doubt on some points concerning the origin of these taluses.” (Muir p74)
The adoption of the rhetorical device is necessary because the reader can appreciate the authenticity of the story. In particular, the author provides his personal view regarding the taluses, informing readers that he had little understanding of their origin. The sentiments are expressed by the author at the beginning of the story. Therefore, following from the statement, it is possible to have recognized the efforts that are put in describing the taluses. Furthermore, it promotes the environmental choices that are made since each description would be based on the events that are experienced in the course of the earthquake. He continues;
“But for years I left the question open, and went on from canyon to canyon, observing again and again; measuring the heights of taluses through ought the Range on both flanks…”(Muiru p.74).
The adoption of anecdote in the story is vital since it provides a sequential approach from the time the author had little knowledge on taluses to when he began to make observations about them.
The author has equally utilized the concept of alliteration as a rhetorical device to enhance the story. He states;
“..and instead of being slowly weathered from the cliffs like ordinary taluses, they were all formed suddenly and simultaneously by a great earthquake…”(Muir p74)
The choice of the words is critical since they have different effects in promoting the literary piece of work. The first regards the need to draw attention to keywords. For example, one can note words such as “slowly,” “suddenly” and “simultaneously” bring the attention of the reader to the story.
In a different setting, the author states;
trees and shrubs make out to live and thrive on them and even delicate herbaceous plants-draperia, collomia, zauscheneria, etc... (Muir p73)
The choice of the words is vital since it enables the reader to picture the nature of the environment at the valley. The emphasis on the plantation of the valley enables readers to appreciate the uniqueness of the region and the natural setting. Thus, the use of alliteration has been efficient and further serves to promote the literary piece.
Secondly, there is the issue of reinforcing the ideas that are being presented by the author. Indeed, Mr. Muir has been able to support the idea of how the taluses were being formed and their unique nature. Indeed, it is a crucial aspect of the story since its presentation at the beginning reinforces the concept of the avalanche of taluses. Finally, the use of alliteration in the story is efficient and could act to bring in the aspect of humor. For example, the author needs to be able to elicit humorous feelings from readers (Selzer p300). Consequently, the application of the rhetoric has been effective.
The use of enumeratio as the other rhetorical device is evident. In particular, the rhetorical device focuses on the need to provide details and being on point on a given issue. In the story, there is the description of taluses. In particular, the author is keen to detail describing them as being “size of the scars on the wall,” “plain too instead of being made up of material slowly.” Indeed, the description further enhances the understanding of the author’s perception on the taluses. For the reading, it is possible to picture the taluses and imagine them in a particular manner as has been purposed by the author.
The use of hyperbole as a rhetoric device is equally manifested in the story. In essence, the device is based on an exaggeration of a given concept that is being illustrated. Mr. Muir states;
“flashing horizontal thrusts mixed with a few twists and battering explosive upheaving jolts-as if Nature were wrecking her Yosemite temple, and getting ready to build a still better one...(Muir p76)
Evidently, the idea of exaggeration is reflected when the author suggests that Nature can wreck the temple. Obviously, such an act is not possible. Nevertheless, the choice of such words is vital and efficient in further enhancing the story. It is a rhetorical piece which seeks to enhance the story’s understanding.
The author has utilized repetition in the story which successfully works to promote the comprehension of the story. The author reiterates;
“After the ground began to calm I ran across the meadow to the river to see in what direction it was flowing and was glad to find that down the Valley was still down”(Muir p76)
The choice of the word “down” in the story has a meaningful impact on the story. The decision to utilize the term was guided by the need to achieve a particular objective. The first regards the need to reinforce an important point in the story. The valley is portrayed as being at an extreme in-depth. For example, the author aims at reinforcing the idea that the terrain of the valley is in a deep end. The rhetoric works since as a reader, one can picture the overall nature of the terrain and how it appears. In particular, it is possible to understand further the information that the author is aiming to pass (Selzer p306). Through the use of repetition, the emphasis is put on a given concept. In this case, the description of the valley helps in illustrating the terrain and the possible impact that it has on the people living. For the reader, it is possible to comprehend the unique nature of the valley.
The author has equally adopted the use of an understatement in a bid to promote the piece of work. In general, the rhetoric device aims at making an idea less important than it is. For example, in the story, he notes that the owls were the only creatures that seemed undisturbed by the events of the day. Muir notes;
“Only the owls seemed to be undisturbed…a hollow-voiced owl began to hoot in philosophical tranquility from near the edge of the new talus as if nothing extraordinary had occurred... (Muir p79).
The choice of the rhetorical device may not have worked. For example, it was evident that the occurrence of events including the flooding and the earthquakes had an adverse impact on the people living around. In particular, Indians are seen running to places with a low terrain to avoid the adverse consequences of the earthquake. However, the author tries to describe the incidence of the events by relating the hooting of the owls. Despite the intention being to illustrate the rhetorical device of an understatement, it may not have worked successfully in this case. In general, it fails to bring out two concepts which are the severity of the earthquake and another aspect which could help in advancing the concept effectively. However, in this case, the attempt by the author to use an understatement has not been efficient and it failed to demonstrate the intended action. Furthermore, there is evidence of uncertainty from the part of the author regarding the intention of the use of the owl. Consequently, the author could have selected a different rhetorical device to help in passing information to the readers.
The author has utilized audience involvement. In particular, there is evidence of attempts made to involve the reader through relation of the subject to their lives. Muir states;
“If for a moment you are inclined to regard these taluses as mere draggled, chaotic dumps, climb to the top of one of them, and run down without any haggling, puttering hesitation boldly jumping from boulder to boulder with even speed…
You will then find your feet playing a tune, and quickly discover the music and poetry of these magnificent rock piles-a fine lesson… (Muir p81)
Indeed, the utilization of the rhetorical device is vital since it further invokes the sentiments of the reader and gets them engaged through the story. In particular, the sentiments can be viewed as efforts toward illustrating the impact of nature on the environment. The utilization of the rhetorical device is imperative since it establishes the ground through which readers can indirectly engage with the author. Thus, it has been an effective choice that seek to improve the understanding of the story. The choice of the rhetoric enables the reader to become more engaged in the story. For example, in the case depicted, there is the issue of taluses which have been the basis of the entire discussion. By invoking the reader, they are able to indirectly engage with the author following the invitation. In particular, there is the significant aspect of ensuring the need to establish a relationship between the reader and the writer. It is imperative to acknowledge the fact that the author is not perceived as being intimidating. In general, the use of direct address to the reader serves well in promoting the overall understanding of the story.
The use of facts and statistics is evident in the story. The writer has adopted various effects in a bid to ensure that the story attains the desired impact. In particular, there is a range of specific effects such as shock and surprise which have the objective of supporting the perception of the writer. For example, in the story, Muir reiterates;
“.. and all Nature’s wildness tells the same story-the shocks and outbursts of earthquakes, volcanoes, geyers, roaring, thundering waves and floods, the silent uprush of sap in plants, storms of every sort-each and all are the orderly beauty-making love-beats of Nature’s heart..” (Muiru p81).
Indeed, the description of the events which occur during the earthquake is vividly demonstrated. The writer sought to demonstrate the outcomes of the earthquake and how it affected the natural terrain. The writer proceeds to describe how Nature has a role in determining the appearance of the earth. It is imperative to acknowledge that such descriptions including; “roaring,” “volcanoes” and “outbursts of earthquakes” are all efforts aimed at supporting the writer’s intentions. The writer has been explicit in the choice of the words. As a reader, one can feel the effect that the writer sought to elicit. In particular, it is evident that the shock that comes with the impact of Nature’s activities is successfully illustrated. Indeed, further looking at the concept from a general perspective, one is likely to experience a shock after the events that follow the earthquake or flooding. Consequently, the choice of the rhetorical device has been instrumental in promoting the views of the writer about the events which occurred.
Finally, sarcasm has been effectively used by the author to depict the environmental forces. In general, the application of irony has varied effects in the narration. The manifestation of irony is evident when Nature is being described as being deliberate in her operations. Evidently, Nature cannot be seen as being able to execute any operations. However, the author has utilized the rhetorical device in a bid to enhance the writing. Muiru says;
“Nature, usually so deliberate in her operations, then created, as we have seen, a new set of features simply by giving the mountains a shake-changing not only the high peaks and cliffs but the streams.”(Muir p80).
In general, nature is depicted as having the ability to transform events or activities. Having such a perception of nature is ironical. However, it is essential to acknowledge the rationale to adopt the style of writing is to promote understanding. The application of the device is equally aimed at achieving exaggeration regarding a particular situation. For example, it is not possible to shake mountains. However, through the use of the rhetoric, the intent of the writer is evident, and it has become possible to engage the reader on a personal level.
All in all, John Muiru has in his story “The Yosemite,” has made significant efforts to utilize a range of rhetorical devices. The application of the device has promoted the comprehension of the story by involving the reader. Indeed, the different devices are useful and have had positive effects in illustrating the idea of environmental forces. However, it is vital for the writer to consider other rhetorical devices as a way of supporting the writing.
Muir, John. The Yosemite. Modern Library, 2010.
Selzer, Jack. "Rhetorical analysis: Understanding how texts persuade readers." What writing does and how it does it: An introduction to analyzing texts and textual practices (2004): 279-307.
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