In "Lucy: A Novel", Jamaica Kincaid uses rhetorical questions, metaphorical representation, and contrasting character descriptions to highlight the complex interactions between and Mariah and Lucy; by doing so, Kincaid explores how one's culture and childhood impacts a person's overall worldview. This excerpt begins with Mariah asking the question: "You have never seen spring, have you?" to Lucy. This question serves to highlight the dynamic between Lucy and Mariah in this excerpt with Mariah speaking to Lucy in a patronizing way, expecting her to not have a full understanding of the world since she has come from a different background. The rhetorical questions that appear throughout this novel, such as Mariah saying to Lucy "What a history you have" and Lucy responding with, "You are welcome to it if you like?", serve to differentiate the different personalities between Lucy and Mariah, each question having a tone that relates to the personality of the character. Mariah sees the world as a beautiful place, with "flowers bending in the breeze", and Lucy sees the world as a place of responsibility and hard work, evident when she says. "and when I fell down from exhaustion [the daffodils] piled on top of me until I was buried deep underneath them and never seen again".The metaphorical symbolism daffodils serve in this novel represent how the world looks from different perspectives, yet is actually a constant place in both cases. Lucy comes from a background in
which she had to memorize poems, work hard in school, and face the crushing responsibility of pleasing her peers and superiors. Mariah comes from a background in which she spent the summers at her lake house, and visited gardens and zoos in her free time. Mariah sees the world in a very positive light while Lucy sees the world in a very negative light. While the two live in the same world, their worldview is bent based on the cultures from which they come. By describing the complex interactions between these two characters, Kincaid explores the effect culture can have on the values of a person.
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In Ken Kasey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” patients living in a mental institution known as “The Combine” live a weary existence under the tyranny of Nurse Ratched. This dynamic is shifted with the introduction of patient Randle McMurphy. Self-confident and tenacious, McMurphy is uniquely idealistic in his belief that he has the power to oust Nurse Ratched, and thus, alter the dynamic of the ward as a whole. Through McMurphy’s idealism, he allows the patients to regain a sense of dignity and he charts the course for his ultimate demise; through this, Kesey is able to show that despite the inevitable negative consequences which will result from idealism, it is a necessary quality to ignite social change. McMurphy’s idealistic belief that he has the power to permanently alter the conditions of the ward compel him to take incredibly risky actions which prove to benefit the patients. Through staging a protest whenever he sits in front of a blank TV in order to demand access to better channels, he is resisting Nurse Ratched in a way no patient around him has ever dared to. As such, he establishes himself as a martyr and a symbol for hope on account of his idealism. This leads to the patients being able to abandon their own cynical perceptions of the world and latch onto McMurphy’s idealism. When McMurphy sneaks the patients out of the ward to go on a fishing trip, he is motivated by the idealistic belief that what he is doing will enact long-term change and that there will be no consequences. However, these men being able to autonomously catch fish for themselves is uniquely empowering for them; it is because of McMurphy’s idealistic actions that these men are able to regain a sense of dignity. Such is specifically shown through the character of Broman, a man who strives to remain invisible through hallucinating a fog with allows himself to be detached from Ratched and the ward. These actions are propelled by his cynical views and deeply-rooted fears of the world; however, when he meets McMurphy
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