Rhetorical Essay

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Irie grows up in a difficult world and struggles with personal and external setbacks from western society, which are reflected in White Teeth through stylistic contrast, paradox, and imagery.

The passage's key literary technique is simile, which helps the reader to empathize with Irie's psychological problems and comprehend the concept in descriptive terms. Simile is a characteristic of rhetorical language that employs signals such as like and as to render expressive comparisons. The author considers this feature many times in the book, including when she first describes the problems the grown-up girl was having at the park. For example, Smith writes “She got a twinge--as happens with a sensitive tooth, or in a ‘phantom tooth,’ when the nerve is exposed” (Smith 378). Its use is meant to denote the fact that the pain she was experiencing could only be compared to that of a sensitive tooth. In another case, the author states, “She felt an ache (like a severe malocclusion, the pressure of one tooth upon another) when she passed the park where they had cycled as children” (Smith 378). Simile, in this case, is intended to attract the reader to focus on the fact that Irie was unhappy, that she could not change the fact that she was undergoing psychological trauma from her failed relationship with Millat. The use of the stylistic choice is appropriate, it fits in the greater context of affection and love because one understands the reason Irie is disenfranchised.

Furthermore, the passage enables the reader to single out the use of hyperbole as a way of stressing the theme. A major subject that the author describes in the book is immigration, which appears to be the defining feature for most of the subjects in the book. Irie is similarly portrayed as a person who had been traveling for a while in her life, and she had gotten accustomed to it. The author states that “Irie stepped out into streets she’d known her whole life, along a route she’d walked a million times over” (Smith 378). The use of exaggeration becomes apparent because of the stylistic choice of an overstatement. It is absurd that Irie could have walked one million times because it is unrealistic given the context. The device fits the passage because it serves as a signal to the reader that the character had already become accustomed to the Western lifestyle that was becoming a central part of her life.

The last feature is the use of symbolism, which is preferred as a tool for representing Irie’s lifestyle in a way that engages the reader’s conscience. It is a stylistic device involving the representation of things as symbols and the symbolic meaning of a character. The author considers this rhetorical choice when she narrates that Irie was aware of her past considering she was a victim of it. For example, the author narrates “If someone asked her just then what memory was, what the purest definition of memory was, she would say this: the street you were on when you first jumped into a pile of dead leaves. She was walking it right now” (Smith 378). The importance of this device is that it enables the reader to comprehend that Irie was not a grown-up who could describe her adventures because she could vividly recall all the challenges she had experienced. The fact that she was not much aware previously is signaled by the symbol of “jumping into a pile of dead leaves.” It is prospective that when one jumps into a pile of dead leaves, they will be consumed in them, which perfectly describes what Irie went through before she learned to live in the Western culture.

In summary, the use of simile, exaggeration, and symbolism are the primary ways Smith expresses rhetorical choice through the figurative language describing Irie’s life upheavals. The simile enables the reader to relate through comparison, the overstatement serves as an emphasis tool, while the symbolism is used to draw the reader’s attention. The author is successful in using all the three devices in relating the reader to the challenges that Irie was facing growing up in an environment that promoted the contemporary standards of Western beauty.

Works Cited

Smith, Zadie. White Teeth. United Kingdom: Hamish Hamilton, 2000. Print.

July 20, 2022

Sociology Life



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Society Struggle White Teeth

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