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Comparison Between Baldwin And Green Essay

2126 words - 9 pages

Part I.Graham Greene's "The Lost Childhood" begins with a very short paragraph consisting of only two sentences and averaging a length of 33 words per sentence. The length of the first paragraph's sentences is more than the normal length of an average sentence comprised of 21 words. He also has fewer sentences than a typically found in a paragraph. His second sentence in the paragraph, which makes up the majority of the paragraph with 51 words, still effectively uses clause structure to develop his ideas: " ... but we are more likely to find in books merely a confirmation of what is in our minds already..." (13). He goes on to make a simile adding to the length, which he could have cut down ...view middle of the document...

Perhaps more of a problem than his clause length is his constant use of metaphors, similes, and figures of speech. In the first two paragraphs three uses of these techniques appear. He begins his second sentence in the first paragraph with the simile,"as in a love affair it is our own features that we see reflected flatteringly back" (13). I did not understand this simile; instead, Greene has added to his sentence length. Greene uses another smile in the next sentence. Although this comparison of a fortuneteller to a book is very descriptive and fun, it does not advance the idea that Greene is trying to convey to his readers; that is, that certain books can make us think of a particular future for ourselves. Both these similes back to back seem to be too much. He also uses the figure of speech, "took a slant" (13) to explain life's descent to death, which could be unclear for younger generations. Throughout the rest of the essay, Greene continually uses metaphors and similes, some being outdated. For example, he uses "like a railway carriage" (13), which is equivalent to our railway coaches today. His essay might flow better and be freed up if there were less use of similes, metaphors, and figures of speeche.Greene has many allusions throughout his essay. He frequently refers to different authors and book titles that many readers cannot connect with, such as Captain Gilson's The Pirate Aeroplane, Anthony Hope's Sophy of Kravonia, and Miss Marjorie Bowen's The Viper of Milan. The reader cannot make a connection with these novels because few of them are known or in circulation, therefore Greene's use of allusions is outdated. Not only are his authors and book titles confusing but he also makes other allusions like "a planter in China," "the mild nursery game of Kuhn Kan," or "the don," a word equivalent to professor. Many modern readers would have no real understanding of these words and phrases that Greene is alluding to within his essay. Although the reader may have no understanding of his allusions, he still effectively gives an understandable description of these works and authors so the reader is not completely lost.James Baldwin's essay follows the average modern sentence structure very closely. On page 265 of the essay, second paragraph, the average length of each sentence is 21 words exactly equal to the modern sentence length. His clause structure works beautifully and the reader has little difficulty with the sentences. Baldwin's sentences are not too long and he puts emphasis in the right places where he wants the reader to feel the emotion; for example, " Life and death so close together, and love and hatred, and right and wrong, said something to me which I did not want to hear concerning man, concerning the life of man" ( 265). The reader understands his message and still has little trouble with his clause structure.In addition, Baldwin does not use many Latinate words in his paragraph and throughout his essay. Most of the Latinate...

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