Moment of Truth
Nell Literary devices can be a writers’ best friend, and likewise, worst enemy. In the essay “What A Certain Visionary Once Said”, by Thompson Highway, Highway employs imagery, simple vocabulary and omits repetition. Al Gore, in the essay, A Moment Of Truth, also uses imagery, but uses much more formal vocabulary and repetition. Although, the literary devices found in Gore’s essay are often effective, Highway invites agreement more effectively because he is able to get his point across without being invasive, by capturing the true beauty of our planet with the brilliant use of imagery and by using simple vocabulary.
Gores essay is much longer than Highways, due in part to the use of repetition, which is “used deliberately. Repetition can be an effective rhetorical strategy for achieving emphasis. ” (Nordquist, 2013) Gore chose this style of writing because his essay is written with a sense of urgency, with a message that us people, MUST do something quickly.
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“We should not wait. We cannot wait. We must not wait. ” (Gore, 2013) He chooses this sentence in the end of his essay for emphasize, just as he used repetition throughout. Along with the use of repetition, Gore also exaggerates many sentences in his essay and uses hyperboles. However, when writing fiction, poetry, memoirs, humor or other creative work hyperbole is an extremely effective literary device. For example, to describe a very long car trip, I might write, “I’d been driving for about a hundred years when I finally came to a fork in the road. “
This is dramatically more descriptive than “I’d been driving for a very long time when I finally came to a fork in the road. ” Since the reader knows it’s impossible for the writer to drive for a hundred years, it becomes clear that hyperbole is being used. This particular hyperbole is also a good example of comic irony. (Claerr, 2013) The reader is left with no sense of own thought as Gore makes his point clear and also that we should have the same. Upon finishing the reading, we are not left questioning anything about the reading, just ourselves and our contribution on the planets ecological footprint. Highways style of writing is much simpler, and uses no repetition of words but uses repetition as a tool for imagery. Unlike Gores essay, in which he uses more examples of nature rather than images of it, Highway takes full advantage of the beauty of our planet.
He draws a picture for the reader using his words instead of a paintbrush thus making the essay extremely descriptive and relatable. It is a method, if used correctly, “paints pictures of scenes and characters in the minds of their readers. While plain old description works well in some instances, imagery takes description to an entirely new level. It gives the reader tools that help him or her to imagine the scene the writer has created; when an author correctly uses imagery, the reader can feel as though he or she is actually experiencing the place and time of the scene. (Thompson, 2013) While reading the essay, you can almost taste the crisp fresh air and clean, drinkable water and “if you take the time to listen-really listen you can begin to hear the earth breathe. ” (Highway, 2007, 2010) He places the reader in a position of being there so that he can create a sense of pride within us about our land. Along with the pride created by an abundance of imagery, he also creates awareness. He makes us question whether the land that we live on is ours, or just borrowed as we come and go on this planet, yet the land still remains.
Is it for us to use and damage by treating it like our own? Or shall we be respectful, since we will be “giving it back. ” Highways suggestion of this topic is not overt like Gores but he also makes us question our personal contribution on the planets ecological footprint yet in a non invasive way. Two different styles of vocabulary are used in each authors writing. Gore chooses to address the reader in a very formal manner, which could be partly due to his stature in politics, where as Highway does not. He uses simple words which we would use on an everyday basis while speaking to our friends.
This makes the essay much easier to follow and more pleasurable to read by building an overall connection. Depending on the piece of literature being written, this casual technique does not always work effectively because it may hinder the tone of the essay thus making it seem less sophisticated. “While it may be acceptable in e-mail or in chat rooms, excessive colloquialism can diminish the quality of a formal written text. The things you write have the potential to make you appear more intelligent; however, they also have the potential to make you appear ignorant. (How to Avoid Colloquial (Informal) Writing, 2013) Since Highways’ essay is written in a personal manner, he is able to effectively use colloquial writing and still get his point across without appearing ill-mannered In completion of reading both essays; although Gores message was appreciated, the formal use of vocabulary, repetition and lack of imagery made the essay fall flat and become dreary quickly. Thompson Highways was more appealing and successful at getting his point across without intruding on the readers personal opinions.
With the use of simple vocabulary and no repetition, he was able to keep the essay short enough to avoid boredom for the reader, yet kept their interest with brilliant use of imagery. Highways love of our “great North” and respectively, our planet earth was apparent throughout his essay which exuded onto the reader leaving an impression worth remembering. “The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth.