Comment on Style and Language of Passage A

The mood as well as the tone of this passage fluctuates from greatly paranoid and anxious to ‘normal’ and right back down to irrationally frightened.  This constant change corresponds with the feelings and thoughts passing through the authors mind as she; an agoraphobic and overly paranoid individual; decides to pass a milestone in her life and engage in an outing in France. Her grim and pessimistic attitude is reflected in the negative vocabulary and language devices used, such as rhetorical questions and metaphors. However, finally she comes to the realisation that her ‘philosophy of life is wrong’, which is also manifested in the optimistic language used as well as the nostalgic mood and tone at the end of the passage.

She uses words like ‘wrench’ and ‘palaver’ as well as ‘plunging into God knows what’ to describe a seemingly pleasant event – a holiday. She then calls it a ‘big mistake, saying ‘all her fears were justified’.  Throughout the passage she asks rhetorical questions, ‘Why have I done this?’, ‘What comfort? Why expect any?’, ‘What could be wrong now?’, ‘Why have I not stayed at home? […]’, ‘Why come and terrify myself?’The use of the metaphor of a cup being half empty or half full throughout the passage indicates the contradicting nature of her and Olivia’s view of life. To the writer the cup is always half or even ‘completely empty’ The negative vocabulary present throughout the passage, as well as these irrational questions, asked as a reaction to minor misfortunate events, convey the mood of paranoia and anxiety, and encapsulate her unreasonable feelings.  In some instances the mood becomes uplifting, however as she lists many unrelated events in the sentence, ‘I crawled…uproar,’it can be seen that even when she enjoys herself, she is overwhelmed by everything going on around her, and she cannot convey her thoughts.

Nevertheless, as she comes to the realisation that ‘perhaps Olivia was right and my philosophy of life was wrong’ her vocabulary and tone undergoes a significant change. She starts seeing things as ‘heavenly’, ‘fresh’, ‘golden’, and ‘pleasant’. These optimistic adjectives influence the tone and mood which also become cheerful and positive, corresponding to the feelings of the author. At the end of the passage the mood becomes nostalgic as she realises her irrational paranoia and pessimism she manifested her whole life and asks herself ‘Why didn’t I stay longer?’ looking back positively on the dreaded trip.


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