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Death of a Hero, Written by R.Aldington
The text under analysis is taken from the novel “Death of a hero”, written by Richard Aldington. The first extract under analysis is very emotional by itself. In connection with the main theme of the novel the main idea of the first extract is the representation of the beauty of things menaced by war. The first is a beautiful canvas of spring as seen by two young and sensitive people in love. And the second one is regretful author’s interposition about British nature and vulnerability of people of art during the war. From the very beginning of the text we see this beauty, and when George and Elizabeth just entered the Bushey Park .
They were literally shocked by the beauty of the English garden and nature. This unexpectedness is conveyed to the reader through the metaphor “sudden ecstasy of delight”. We realize how sensitive and poetic they are, and how subtly they feel this delight. And the whole text, with its highly-emotional vocabulary, rhythm and colorful descriptions sounds more like a poem. And we can find the prove in the next couple of sentences. The description of the garden is very imaginary, as if we can see it through our own eyes. This effect is created with a help of certain syntactical structure.
Many sentences beginning with adverbials of place: “Between the wall… and another long high wall… “, “Underfoot… “, “There… “, “Among them… “, directing our gaze and inviting the reader to enjoy all the loveliness of the sight. The choice of words is also very rich and poetic in this part of the extract. Such as “”grandiose scale”, “innumerable bulbs”, “great secular trees”, “vast fans” help to show the splendor of the nature, to emphasize the color the author uses mostly coupled epithets such as “glittering green-and-gold foliage”, “the stouter green of wild plants”, “tender blue sky”, “white and blue blossoms” and many others.
All these create a visible scenery of the garden. For the greater part the epithets or attributes denoting color, are combined with metaphors describing the shapes of the flowers: “pale hearts” of the lilacs, “foam of white and blue blossoms”. A whole cluster of metaphors is devoted to the wild daffodil: “the soft, slim yellow trumpet”, “a pointed ruff of white petals”, “gold head”. Also, to create even more visional scenery the author uses simile very often in this part of the extract.
And he compares the grass to an evening sky and the flowers to stars, the red tulips to bubbles of dark wine, and the large parti-coloured gold and red tulips are said to be “noble and sombre like the royal banner of Spain” . The colors are very warm and soft, ad its completely different from the colors that would be used in the next part. The choice of words is remarkable for their sonorous quality (foliage, unfold, verdure, alert, sombre, banner etc. ). The passage is particularly rich in adjectives with alliterating (slender, stiff stem; glittering green-and-gold foliage; lost in the lush herbs).
The alliterations are mainly based on the l- and r-sounds. These features make the passage particularly musical. To create the same musical effect the author uses the inversion. These stylistic devices create the atmosphere of harmony, beauty and splendor. With the words “English spring flowers” the second part of the text starts. And we can hear admiration and regret in this words. The change from the mood of tender delight to that of sadness and tension is immediate. Emotional words pervading the paragraph change their key; they are woe, bitterness, despair, bleak, mournful, appalling, foul, regretful.
The author just opposed the the peaceful beauty of nature and the bitterness and despair in the world of men. This sharp contrast creates the atmosphere of despair and in this sentence “What an answer to our ridiculous “cosmic woe”, how salutary, what a soft reproach to bitterness and avarice and despair, what balm to hurt minds! ” we realize it even more clear how unnecessary it is to have war. And the allusion from Virgil’s Aeneide shows to us that people should stop or they would have the same destiny as Troyans.
Another contrast, brought about, is between the “bleak sky” and the “bleak race” of England and her beautiful flowers and poets. The final pathetic rhetorical question is whether the prospective conqueror would “think regretfully and tenderly of the flowers and the poets”. Also, the presentiment of England’s final ruin is worded as one more classical quotation. The phrase: “fuit Ilium” is from Virgil’s Aeneidethe whole line being: “Fuimus Troes, fuit Ilium” which is the Latin for “We were Troyans: Troy was”, implying that it is now no more.
The sharp contrasts, as well as the emphasis laid on the effect the transitory moment produces upon the heroes’ senses, the refined metaphorical imagery comparing things in nature to man-made objects of luxury, — all these combine to bring Aldington’s word-painting close to the Impressionist school. The lyrical intensity of Aldington’s descriptions largely depends on the combination of the direct imagistic method, i. e. presenting things in a series of images almost physically palpable and real – with the author’s own comments, bitter or sad.