Through a comparison of two passages discuss how effectively Keenan conveys his experience of solitary confinement.

Essay by xHMxCollege, UndergraduateA-, April 2005

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Brian Keenan uses a variety of linguistic and literary devices in An Evil Cradling to convey his experience of his time spent in solitary confinement. Some of the devices I will be looking at are; simile, metaphor, assonance, alliteration, personification and oxymoron. The two passages I will be comparing in this essay are pg. 62 -70, from the chapter entitled 'Into the Dark' from 'Come now into...' to '...explain them to myself' and pg. 73 -78 from chapter entitled 'Music' from 'My days...' to '...forcing me to be.'

In 'Into the Dark' Keenan employs various coping strategies to prevent himself from slipping into madness. These are often given expression through the use of imagery. Firstly he tries to 'think of something, anything on which the mind can concentrate.' If he has nothing to concentrate on his mind will wander. He uses the simile 'will I go with it or will I try to hold it back, like a father and an unruly child?' to determine how he will cope with the onset of madness on this particular day.

He also uses the metaphor 'the waters of the sea of despair are heavy and thick' to demonstrate how being alone is affecting his mental state. An example of his declining mental state can be found in the simile, 'reciting a half-remembered nursery rhyme like a religious mantra.'

Keenan employs phonological devices of alliteration and assonance to highlight important areas of his experience. 'the feet and the backs of my fingers suffer the most from these insistent flees.' The repetition of the /f/ and /s/ consonant sounds make the reader take more time over these words, therefore taking more notice of them. The same applies for the use of assonance. 'I try and try to find' and 'I too am cocooned here.'...