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"ammu loved her children […] and had midnight swims”

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The language and stylistic devices used in this excerpt characterizing Ammu can have a very strong effect on the reader. The image which is created of Ammu as a loving but nonetheless dangerous creature, mainly by musical devices and lexical field, is very detailed, in such a arbitrary way, that it seems to mirror the randomness of Ammus nature and mind and the unpredictability of her actions. This extract deals with her being a mother and the ways I which she loves her children Rahel and Estha. She looks at her wedding picture and back at her past, while the reader observes the sour acrimony with which she eyes herself. Then, one watches her slowly wander off into a world of her own as she slowly looses her mind and turns into what sounds like a wild sort-of amazon that has released herself from societies fangs. Many of the most powerful images and effects in this passage are created by alliterations and metaphors. 1. Beginning with one very touching and shocking image foreshadowing Ammus future actions that will destroy the family, we are told that although Ammu loved her children, their “ wide-eyed vulnerability and […] willingness to love people who didn’t really love them […] made her want to hurt them” (l. 1, ff.) sometimes, only to protect them of course. They seemed to her like “ a pair of small bewildered frogs” (l. 7, ff.) a comparison that comes very unexpected, seen as not many people compare the vulnerability of their children with the squashabilty of frogs and what “ trucks can do” (l. 9, ff.) to them. The hopelessness of her life and the lack of possibilities is demonstrated by telling us she has only “ a front verandah and a back verandah” (l. 14, ff.) to go to. The anaphora being repeated again for “ a hot river and a pickle factory” where in the reader receives the image of being stuck, trapped in a stuffy, airless and preserved space, which is exactly what Ammus feels like. When Ammu looks at the photograph of her wedding she is described with many fricative alliterations on ‘s’ “ her silk sunset-colored sari shot with gold […] sandalwood paste […] Ammus soft mouth would twist into a small bitter smile […]” (l. 20, ff.) creating a very sharp sound, that seems to cut through the readers mind just as Ammu cuts through her own, inflicting herself the pain of looking at this picture and thinking about how stupid she was. “ So absurd. So futile” (l. 25, ff.) it seemed to her, that she had practically killed herself, made her life worthless by marrying this drunkard. I find, the last paragraph is the most interesting image wise. There is one phrase that makes the reader cringe and have goosebumps run down his back. It is described how when Ammu is listening to her favorite songs, “ a liquid ache spread under her skin, and she walked out of the world like a witch” (l. 32, ff.) where I get the picture of someone spreading the pain like butter with a knife, scraping against her skin and it definitely creates a shudder with the reader, again by using alliterations and a metaphor to deepen the effect.

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