The Explorer’s Daughter Analysis

12 December 2016

The explorer’s daughter is about a woman who is seeing a narwhal hunt take place, and is torn between the lives of the hunter and the lives of the narwhal. She employs lots of language techniques to convey her feelings. She has written this as a descriptive piece of writing but it ends up almost argumentative. In the first paragraph the writer focuses on place and setting.

She makes the place sound almost magical with descriptions of her surroundings “spectral play of colour. ” This also gives the reader an aroma of what it is like there. The phrase “butter-gold” not only conveys light, but indicates the wealth of beauty in Greenland. The light phrases are really important in this paragraph as her feelings are happy, like the light that shines. However, the paragraph ends on a sombre note with the light deceives her “shifting light. Showing that everything is not as it seems and things were about to take a turn to the grey moral area of hunting.

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In the next paragraphs she explains why Inughuits need to hunt narwhals to survive. The detailed explanation makes it seem like she is on the hunter’s side until she morphs the paragraph into her explain the life of a narwhal. This section is purely informative, making the tone factual, using technical words like “scurvy. ” The next paragraph includes lots of emotive language.

The word “clustered” is a very powerful word as it describes the women all huddled together, to give themselves a feeling of protection as they watch their husbands in perilous danger. They not only want to see their husbands alive, but their need for food is almost as great as shown by the gasps. The writer describes it as “vast waterborne game” although they are playing with lives, and says that the hunters are “spread like a net” which makes use of irony, as a method of catching something is to trap it in a net.

The next paragraph is when the writer sees the beauty of the narwhals and is split between the side of the hunters and the narwhals, as shown by the quote “in that spilt second my heart leapt for both hunter and narwhal. ” In the build-up to this she creates tension, with the mention of stillness and the pause after “picked up his harpoon and aimed. ” This tension makes the reader choose between the hunter and the narwhals. She then drops the tension instantly in the next paragraph, creating a breathing gap for the reader to thing over the debate; hunter, or narwhal.

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