All posts by Tommy West

Final Paper: Janie’s Quest for her Horizon 

Tommy West

Professor Rettberg

ENLT 2514

May 4, 2014

Janie’s Quest for her Horizon

“She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net” (Hurston 193). These words come from Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God when the protagonist, Janie, has at last achieved the harmony with nature and peace within herself she has sought from the beginning of the novel. Like any bildungsroman, Their Eyes Were Watching God showcases a pivotal moment in the moral development of the life of the protagonist. For Janie this moment is undoubtedly the time she spent underneath the pear tree as a young teenage girl. From this moment on, Janie searches for the perfect union of harmony she witnesses here in nature for her own life. In the end, though, Janie demonstrates her journey is an independent one,-focused on finding her own voice and is not dependent on any outside source. Janie’s moral development, and her search for her ‘horizon’ following this moment in nature can be traced by her use of language. Janie’s search for her own voice parallels Hurston’s use of language. By the end of the novel, Janie has developed a strong sense of self, in which she has come to not only find her own voice, but also learns the power of silence. By remaining silent in conspicuous places in her story, Janie shows the reader that having found her voice, she has the ability to control it as well.

In chapter 2, the moment Janie spends under the pear tree clearly marks the beginning of her spiritual awakening. Others, however, may find disagreement with this claim. In an unsigned publisher’s foreword, the author writes, “Janie’s conscious life had begun at Grandma’s gate. When Nanny had spied Janie letting Johnny Taylor kiss her over the gatepost she had called Janie to come inside the house. That had been the end of her childhood” (Hurston Reviews). This scene however, seems to only be a reaction Janie has immediately following her sexual awakening beneath the pear tree. This view in the foreword overlooks the importance of Janie’s newfound standard of sexual and emotional fulfillment. Indeed, underneath the pear tree, Janie witnesses a perfect union of harmony in nature. Janie sees “the thousand sister calyxes arch to meet the love embrace” of the male bee. Nellie McKay calls this moment Janie’s “awakening beneath the pear tree” that begins her conscious journey (McKay 58). In light of this, it’s easy to see how Janie is overcome with emotion and after witnessing this erotic scene, runs over to kiss Johnny Taylor. The erotic language found in this passage, such as Janie’s description “frothing with delight”, is suggestive of the naturalistic romanticism writing style we saw in Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself.” The image of the embrace between the bee and the flower imprints itself in Janie’s mind and throughout the book she is reminded of this moment. Janie views this as an idealized vision of love- one in which there is reciprocity between the two partners. This moment must be the defining moment in Janie’s life because for the rest of her journey she is reminded of this scene and strives to find a relationship with reciprocal love.

We can now analyze how this moment in Janie’s life affects her development and her search for her horizon throughout the rest of the novel. After witnessing her ideal vision of a relationship, Janie begins her quest to find a partner who will give her the strength to find her voice. Unfortunately, Janie’s first two marriages only serve as roadblocks to her ultimate goal. With Logan, Janie finds neither the physical nor the emotional connection she is looking for. Therefore, when Jody Starks comes into town, Janie is dazzled by his ambition and power, which seem to radiate possibility and freedom. However, after twenty years with Jody, this marriage becomes equally, if not more, confining than the last. Janie’s quest to find her voice is stifled under her marriage to Jody as he tries to dominate everything around him. This can be seen in multiple ways; first with his insistence that Janie keep her hair tied up in a rag. Janie’s hair is a symbol of power- it represents her strength and individuality. Throughout the book, everyone is drawn to her straight, long, beautiful hair. However, Jody sees her hair as a threat to his power. In order to control Janie, and his fear that her hair could inspire lust in other men, he orders her to tie her hair in a rag. Another time we see Jody stifle Janie is during the ceremony when he becomes Mayor. When Janie is asked to give a short speech for the occasion, Jody immediately steps in, preventing her from doing so, and says wives shouldn’t make speeches. During this scene we see Jody literally being a hindrance to Janie’s own voice. Throughout this marriage, Jody tries to shape Janie into the type of woman he wants rather than the type of woman Janie wants to become. The mutuality in a relationship Janie wants is completely absent. During these chapters, Janie is constantly thinking back to her moment under the pear tree and realizes this relationship is an unfulfilling one that is not helping her progress toward her goal.

Henry Louis Junior Gates says Their Eyes Were Watching God is concerned “with the project of finding a voice, with language as an instrument” (Gates 197). Indeed, this statement is clearly demonstrated by the development of Janie throughout the novel. The narrative shifts from a third person narrator to a bias toward first person- signifying the awareness of self in Janie. For example, near the beginning of the book, when Janie meets Jody, their conversation is extremely limited. Jody is able to charm her by doing all the talking. This brevity foreshadows the problems to come in which Jody exerts his influence over her without leaving Janie any opportunity to grow. This is in stark contrast to Janie’s first meeting with Tea Cake. Here, several pages are dedicated to dialogue, showing the increased confidence Janie has in her own voice. A narrator is no longer needed as Tea Cake is finally allowing Janie to express herself. During their first meeting, he teaches her to play chess. Both of these activities, conversing and playing chess, grant the two partners equal status and Tea Cake is able to put himself on equal footing as her-something Jody was never willing to do. At last, Janie is able to experience the reciprocity in a relationship she has been looking for since experiencing it in nature underneath the pear tree.

There is much debate in the literary world as to whether Tea Cake is a vital component of Janie’s emergence as a strong, self-identified woman. However, upon reviewing Janie’s actions directly before, and after her relationship with Tea Cake, it’s evident that Janie could have found her voice with or without the help of Tea Cake. Critics like Nelly McKay argue, “That he was instrumental in showing her the possibilities of a life” and was necessary for “the subsequent full emergence of Janie’s voice and self” (McKay 61). Yet, as important as Tea Cake is to Janie’s development, he is not an indispensable part of her life. One great example of this is Janie’s reaction to Jody’s death. Lying on his deathbed, Janie knows that this might be one of the last times she will be able to speak to her husband. Having been stifled for twenty years, Janie finally has the courage to confront him- confessing her feelings and accusing him of tyranny. This outburst highlights the importance of language, as Janie appears powerful with her speech. During this scene the reader can see that Janie has already begun to find her voice on her own after realizing her perfect vision of love from under the pear tree was not being fulfilled from this relationship. Another example of how Janie is well on her way to finding her voice before Tea Cake comes from her long conversation with her friend Phoebe following Jody’s death. Here, Janie is able to powerfully converse without the interruption of the narrator and declares that she no longer needs the approval of others. Whereas in earlier chapters, the opinion of the town mattered a great deal to Janie, she has now gained the self-confidence to dismiss the gossip of the ‘porches.’ Lastly, the fact that Tea Cake is not a necessary component of Janie’s life is evidenced by the sad truth when Janie is forced to shoot him near the end of the novel. Janie’s decision to save herself rather than give in to the crazy, rabid, Tea Cake, who she once loved, highlights her newfound confidence and sense of self.

As Janie comes closer and closer to pulling in her horizon, and finding her voice, she is able to show the reader that she has completely mastered her voice. This mastery is shown when Janie remains silent. Critics argue however, that this silence on Janie’s part reflects weakness and that in the end, she truly never finds her voice. Critic, Robert Stepto argues, “Hurston creates the essential illusion that Janie has achieved her voice… but the tale undercuts much of this…because of its narration” (Awkward 19). Critics who agree with Stepto point to the times where Janie’s voice is curiously left out during crucial points such as during her trial. Stepto says that the use of the omniscient narrator “implies that Janie has not really won her voice and self after all” (Awkward 19). By the novels close however, this view is clearly mistaken. During Janie’s trial after the death of Tea Cake, Janie’s testimony is filled with almost entirely narration. Janie’s silence places emphasis on her ability to control her language. Earlier, her silence was a reflection of domination under Jody but now it reflects her ability to choose when and when not to speak. “Michael Awkward argues, against Stepto, that part of the point of the novel is Janie’s learning to dislike talk for talk’s sake” (Duplessis 107). This directly relates to a quote from Janie when she says “talkin’ don’t amount tuh uh hill uh beans when yuh cant do nothin’ else” (Hurston 192). This shows that Janie understands the power of her speech. Clearly, Janie has at last found her voice and is now showing the reader that silence can also be a source of empowerment.

The moment that Janie experiences underneath the pear tree defines her ideal vision of love that she searches for throughout the rest of the novel. The marriages with Logan and Jody stifle Janie on her quest for her voice. Still, she is able to develop a strong sense of self by the time she meets Tea Cake who functions as a catalyst that pushes Janie to her goal. By the end of the novel, however, it’s evident that Janie has become her own woman with her own voice. Strong, and independent, at long last, Janie has found her horizon.

Works Cited

Awkward, Michael. “Introduction.” New Essays on Their Eyes Were Watching God (1990): 1-21. Literature Online. Web. 1 May 2014.

DuPlessis, Rachel B. “Power, Judgment, and Narrative in a Work of Zora Neale Hurston: Feminist Cultural Studies.” New Essays on Their Eyes Were Watching God (1990): 95-119. Literature Online. Web. 1 May 2014.

“Hurston Reviews.” People.Virginia.edu. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1937. Web. 1 May 2014.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel. New York: HarperPerennial, 1990. Print.

McKay, Nellie. “”Crayon Enlargements of Life”: Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God as Autobiography.” New Essays on Their Eyes Were Watching God (1990): 51-69. Literature Online. Web. 1 May 2014.

 

 

 

Style in Junot Diaz’s “Drown”

“Beto got polite and stopped. No problem, he said, slamming the heavy bag into her face. She hit the cold tile with a squawk, her palms slapping the ground. There you go, Beto said” (Diaz).

Diaz’s stylistic choice in the way that he structures his sentences really stuck out to me as I read the short story “Drown.” It was very easy to read and each sentence seemed to be in a flowing rhythm. This type of writing reminded me in some way of William Carlos Williams. In the poem “A Red Wheelbarrow”, his writing is rhythmic and doesn’t use any superfluous word. Similarly, Diaz’s writing is direct, to the point, and stripped of any unnecessary wordiness. For instance, this style was particularly evident during the scene of brief violence that I have quoted above. In just four sentences Diaz captures the unexpected suddenness of violence. The casual way the author brings the violence into this scene conveys a nonchalant sense of realism. The narrator seems to have no trouble relating this story to the reader and its as if this type of violence is nothing at all out of the ordinary.

Another interesting stylistic choice is Diaz’s use of the Spanish language mixed in with English. The use of Spanish is able to draw the reader into the narrator’s world and highlights a distinction between the Dominican and American cultures. Additionally, the choice to not italicize the words in Spanish was different from most texts that I have seen involving foreign words. By doing so, reading his prose flows very easily between the Spanish and English words without any highlighting or any notable difference between the transitions. This is able to integrate the language into the English text and serves to legitimize both the language and the experiences of those who speak the language.

Deformation of Rita Dove’s Adolescence-I

Original text: Entire Poem

 

Deformation:

In water-heavy nights behind grandmother’s porch

We knelt in the grasses and whispered:

Linda’s face hung before us,

And it grew wise as she said:

“A boys lips are soft,”

The air closed over her words

A firefly whirred near my ear, and in the distance

I could hear streetlamps ping

Against a feathery sky.

For my deformation, I took out every simile and metaphor that Rita Dove uses in her original poem Adolescence-I. As I was reading the poem, her figurative language really stuck out to me. Each comparison added to the sense of innocence in the young girls who were in the poem. As an experiment, I wanted to see how the poem would read without each of these specific sections.

What I found was that the poem reads just fine, but the characterization of the girls is completely thrown off. The first word that I took out of the poem was the word “tickling” used to personify the grass. In the original text this immediately gives the poem a playful tone. The reader can feel exactly how the grass feels to the girls in the poem. However, if one were to read it just as “We knelt in the grass” the mood is entirely different. The reader would never get the sense of the childish innocence that the original has.

Second, I removed the comparison of the young girl’s face with a pale pecan. Without this description the face would simply be “hung before us” and does not add anything to the characterization of the girl. Reading about the face just hanging before them puts the poem in a rather somber mood. With the simile about the paleness of her face however, a sense of purity and virtue is bestowed upon the girl.

Lastly, I removed the simile comparing the boy’s lips to the soft skin of a baby. In this poem, Rita Dove depicts a scene of a group young girls inquiring about a boy’s lips. The reader can almost feel how intently the rest of the girls are listening and how fascinated they are with this description. The conversation goes only as far as describing his lips- a tame inquiry revealing how innocent and pure these young girls are. Without this tame description of his lips, the reader’s mind could wonder and there would be no telling where the line “A boy’s lips are soft” could take them. However, it simply ends with this pure simile without having to go past the physical nature of his lips.

 

Introduction to Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich was one of the most influential feminist writers during the contemporary women’s movement. More than just a poet, Rich was heavily involved in feminist, civil-rights, and anti-war activism.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland on May 16, 1929, Rich was heavily influenced by her father, the head Pathologist at Johns Hopkins Medical School. She developed a love for literature sitting in his library reading great poets such as Keats and Blake. Many of her early poems are influenced by how hard she worked to fulfill her father’s ambitions and have a clear resemblance to these authors.

Rich attended Radcliffe College where she wrote her first book “A Change of World” which won the prestigious Yale Series of Younger Poets Award.  Shortly after graduation, in 1953, she married a Harvard economist, Alfred Conrad with whom she had three sons. This period of Rich’s life was very difficult. She struggled with the concept of the prescribed role of womanhood. This radical change in Rich’s life can clearly be seen in her writing style. She began experimenting with fragmentation and jagged utterances and explored new issues such as the day-to-day truths of women’s lives and issues of identity and sexuality.

“Snapshots of a Daughter in Law”, written shortly after the birth of her third child, was a turning point in Rich’s writing in which she unleashed her new voice. Horrifying critics with her controversial topics, Adrienne Rich sealed her national reputation as a leader for the feminist movement. When she moved her family to New York City, she became active in the political movements and her National Book Award winning “Diving Into the Wreck” is heavily influenced by her anger at the Vietnam War.

In 1970, after the death of her husband, Rich came out publicly as a lesbian. She dedicated herself increasingly to the women’s movement both as a poet and public speaker. In a speech given in 1984, Rich summarizes her reason for writing in just seven words answering simply “The creation of a society without domination.”

 

Close Reading Essay on T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

The dramatic monologue in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot examines the tortured psyche of its speaker. Throughout the poem Prufrock reveals more and more about the true qualities of his interior. Similar to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s character Dexter in Winter Dreams, J. Alfred Prufrock aptly fits the description of the prototypical “modern man”. He is solitary, insecure, and always standing in his own way of happiness. However, as we learn more about the speaker of the poem, one glaring question remains. Who exactly is Prufrock addressing in his Love Song? The answer to this question invariably leads to the next pressing issue of what is Prufrock’s “overwhelming question” he wants so desperately to ask? Throughout the poem it’s interesting to note how the answers to these questions lead you to understand more about the speaker without his intention of doing so.

The poem begins with “Let us go then, you and I” (Eliot 822) as Prufrock invites “us” to go and take a walk. But to whom is the “you” addressed? Is it the reader? Someone else? Is he talking to himself? Due to the title of the poem being a “Love Song” it is reasonable to assume Prufrock is talking to a woman he loves. Many instances throughout the poems seem to support this idea. One of the first times Eliot gives the reader a hint about the person being addressed comes from the ninth stanza. “And I have known the arms already, known them all-/Arms that are braceleted and white and bare/(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)” (Eliot 823). The first two lines begin in a very repetitious, monotonous tone. It seems as though Prufrock is excessively bored at having seen so many arms- each one the same as the last. However, the next line in parentheses, which seems to come directly from his thoughts, ends with an exclamation. It’s as though this particular arm has engrossed Prufrock and struck him as unique. Immediately, the first rhyme of the stanza between “bare” and “hair” catches the reader’s attention as significant. It’s clear that this new image must be of the woman to whom he is talking. It makes sense that after inviting her for a walk through “half-deserted streets” that he would see her arm under the lamplight. Even more interesting is the fact that her arm has light brown hair, in stark contrast with the white to which he was previously accustomed. This woman must be different from those that he sees coming and going “talking of Michelangelo.” These few lines also touch on another important aspect of Prufrock’s song- his use of synecdoche. Nowhere in the poem are any whole bodies described. We are given only a body part and meant to represent it as the whole person. People throughout the poem are reduced to “eyes” “faces” and “arms” perhaps because Prufrock sees others as he believes he is seen by the outside world-based only on his outside features. As the neurotic, emotionally stifled, overeducated modern man, in his mind Prufrock only hears the comments of others on his inadequacies.

Understanding Prufrock is addressing a woman, what are we to make of the “overwhelming question” that Prufrock continues to mention throughout the poem yet never seems to ask? Through the context of the poem it’s clear that this question involves Prufrock trying to tell the woman of his romantic interest in her. The first time Prufrock tries to ask his question comes in line 37 when he declares “And indeed there will be time,/To wonder, ‘Do I dare?’ and, ‘Do I dare?’/Time to turn back and descend the stair,” (Eliot 823). We are left wondering what it is he dares to do but its clear he’s referring to his question he desperately wants to ask. The repetition of the phrase “There will be time” and “Do I dare” leaves the reader with the sense that these stanzas aren’t going anywhere. This repetition mirrors Prufrock’s actions because he refuses to commit to anything and is simply going in circles. His inability to ask the question and his belief there will be plenty of time for everything highlights a theme of passivity. Later, Prufrock wonders if he will “have the strength to force the moment to its crisis” (Eliot 824). Again, he must be referring to his desire to consummate his relationship with this woman he is addressing. However, it seems Prufrock knows too much of life to dare ask his question and “presumes” that emotional interaction is impossible. Later in this stanza he compares his feelings to his fear of death as though he had “seen the eternal Footman hold my coat” (Eliot 824). This description shows us how afraid of approaching this woman Prufrock seems to be. Lastly, he wonders if “would it have been worth it after all…If one, settling a pillow by her head, /Should say: ‘That is not what I meant at all. /That is not it at all’” (Eliot 824). These lines are unmistakably referring to the ‘what if” scenario had Prufrock ever approached his lover. This shows that his question must have involved his desire to let the woman know about his love because he is imagining her saying that she was misunderstood and never truly had feelings for him. The potential for his love to be unrequited proves to Prufrock that he was right to never take the risk of finally asking his question. This undoubtedly speaks to his character. What does it say about someone who believes it is best to never know something if it means never having to display audacity or be offended? This sense of cowardice fits right into Eliot’s picture of the modern man who has become too habituated to a static and passive life.

Although the entire poem seems to be dedicated to slowly uncovering what a cowardly, indecisive, and lonely man Prufrock is, it would be foolish to assume Eliot’s only purpose was to create a warning for all procrastinators. It seems as though by using Prufrock, he is satirizing the wealthy modern man living a meaningless life. It’s actually quite a hilarious image seeing a balding man wearing a “necktie rich and modest” wondering if he should dare eat a peach after taking toast and tea. However, it would be equally foolish to presume Prufrock’s love song has nothing to do with a woman lover. The very fact that Eliot’s original title for this poem was “Prufrock Among the Women” shows how central to the plot Prufrock’s relationship to women must be.

Barthelme Compared to Hemmingway

“The balloon, beginning at a point on Fourteenth Street, the exact location of which I cannot reveal, expanded northward all one night, while people were sleeping, until it reached the Park.” (Barthelme 604)

“The marvelous thing is that it’s painless,” he said. “That’s how you know when it starts.” (Hemmingway 1021)

Barthelme’s opening paragraph struck an immediate connection with Hemmingway’s opening to The Snows of Kilimanjaro. In The Balloon we are immediately thrown into the middle of a scene that we know nothing about. Barthelme presents us with a massive balloon of unknown location and unknown reason that is expanding across the city. At first we are given no notice of who caused this to happen or why this was necessary but throughout the story we are given more and more information until at the very end we finally understand the reason for the balloon. This seems a very Hemmingwayesque way to begin a story. Similarly, The Snows of Kilimanjaro opens with a vague dialogue talking about a pain and horrible odor the reader initially knows nothing about. Hemmingway zeroes on the immediate problem-Henry’s imminent death- just as Barthelme zeroes on the immediate issue of the balloon. By tossing the reader directly into the middle of a scene the author creates a sense of intrigue that he can then go on to reveal.

Another similarity between the two stories came to mind in regard to the attitude of the narrator in The Balloon and Henry in The Snows of Kilimanjaro. In the passage above the narrator tells us in a teasing way that the balloon has an “exact location of which I cannot reveal.” He then goes on to boast how he alone controls the expansion of the balloon. The way the narrator claims he saw no reason to not allow the balloon to continue its growth seems very smug and suggests the narrator holds a self-satisfied sense of power. This assertion yields the view that in light of the rest of the story being dedicated to observing other people’s reactions, the narrator is expecting and looking forward to seeing a response from others. In this very same way, Henry seems to say just the things that he knows will elicit a response from his wife. In both cases, the sense of power the two characters hold gives them the satisfaction of watching others respond.

“All I know is, whoever it is ’ll be sorry some day. Why, I just barely knew it myself!” cried Mrs. Fletcher (Welty 1096).

By far the most striking feature of Welty’s style is her use of dialogue. Throughout the story the reader learns about the characters almost solely through conversation. There is no external action in the short story and the real “action” or drama of the story takes place in the dialogue. This style of writing contrasts sharply to Ernest Hemingway’s, The Snows of Kilimanjaro. In this story, Hemingway uses only very short snippets of dialogue and we learn most of what we know about the main character through long dense sections of prose. Welty however, is able to capture the sharp details of the triviality and pompousness of life in this town through the dialogue between Mrs. Fletcher and Leota.

From the first lines of the story we are immediately thrown into a beauty shop with these two women exchanging banter about nonsense. The colloquial use of language helps add to the gossipy nature of the conversations. Upon hearing that people have been gossiping about her, Mrs. Fletcher becomes furious and demands to know who said she was pregnant. We can see by the reaction of Mrs. Fletcher that public opinion shapes everything about the lives of these self-centered women. From this time on she remains very defensive about her own life. The idea of being shaped by public opinion surfaces again and again throughout the story. For example, Leota tries to organize her life around the way another person, the fortune-teller, said her life was going to play out. This clearly shows that she is not a strong or independent woman but instead tries to conform to the way someone else says her life will be. Another example comes from the fact that they believe in stereotypes and are concerned with horoscopes. Nothing is unique about their conversations. Their lives seem purposeless and adjust themselves according to outside influences.

“Sacred” (Toomer 959)

Jean Toomer’s poem Georgia Dusk portrays an idealized black southern town. Coming in the final stanza, the word “sacred” best describes the tone of the poem. Indeed, the speaker seems to hold a romanticized view of the traditional folk culture of the town by extending multiple auditory phrases to the reader. The poem has a very upbeat tone and prevailing themes of music and sound appear throughout different stanzas. In the second stanza we are introduced to “folk-songs” and “soul songs”, and then we can hear the sound of a sawmill “whistle” signaling the end of a workday. When we get to the sixth stanza, Toomer implies a cheerful lyrical voice saying, “the pine trees are guitars” and using words such as “strumming” to describe the falling of pine needles.  Together, these lyrical elements of the poem are described in a sacred tone and it’s evident that the speaker is enthralled with the town’s cheerful night festivities.

In the first stanza, the reader encounters rich imagery of a sunset. The sky is described, “lazily disdaining to pursue” which gives the impression that time is passing rather slowly and there is a prolonged shift between daylight and nighttime. It almost seems as if time is reluctant to pass. This forces the reader to consider how once time goes by, it is a resource that can never be regained. Immediately this places a new appreciation for time, something we may take for granted, in the mind of the reader.  This theme of time being sacred is further emphasized later in the poem when sawmill imagery is first raised in the third stanza perhaps suggesting industrialization and a changing way of life. This is carried into the fourth stanza where we are presented with images of smoke from the sawdust creating “blue ghosts of trees.” In fact, “only chips and stumps are left to show/The solid proof of former domicile.” By invoking the passage of time the speaker invites us to consider time as a resource that should be revered and never taken for granted.

“Up to now literature has exalted a pensive immobility, ecstasy, and sleep. We intend to exalt aggressive action, a feverish insomnia, the racer’s stride, the mortal leap, the punch, and the slap” (Marinetti 796).

In this article from the “Manifesto of Futurism” Marinetti shows off his use of forceful, insistent language seen throughout his work. Words used here such as “aggressive”, “feverish”, “punch”, “slap” give the text a rather hostile tone. This hostility seems to be a convention found in all three of the manifestos. What is this hostility pointed towards? Marinetti also gives us insight into this here, clearly blaming traditional styles of literature. This article gives us a clear picture of the divide Marinetti creates between the “old” and the “new.” The high energy, aggressive words used when describing the “new” serve as tools for coercing the reader to join the revolution. In addition, the use of “We” helps to make the reader feel like a part of Marinetti’s ideal vision for the future. The static nature of the diction used for the orthodox and conventional styles of the past are juxtaposed with the vitality of the future. “Racers stride,” and “the mortal leap” serve to emphasize the swiftness with which Marinetti intends his message to spread. The addiction he seems to have for speed parallels his ambition for a new, aggressive, and passionate future.

This passage is also able to exhibit the violence that Marinetti believes is necessary for a complete transformation. He goes on later to write that war is “the world’s only hygiene” and beauty only exists in struggle. This violence underlines the passion for the upheaval of customary traditions Marinetti yearns to see exhibited throughout the public.