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Covered With Dust Essay

1392 words - 6 pages

In an excerpt from “In Cold Blood”, Truman Capote writes as an outside male voice irrelevant to the story, but has either visited or lived in the town of Holcomb. In this excerpt Capote utilized rhetoric to no only describe the town but also to characterize it in order to set a complete scene for the rest of the novel. Capote does this by adapting and forming diction, imagery, personification, similes, anaphora, metaphors, asyndeton, and alliteration to fully develop Holcomb not only as a town, but as a town that enjoys its isolation.
Capote begins the novel with a complete description of not only the town as a whole, but also the people and landmark buildings, which allows Capote to characterize the town completely. In the first line of the passage Capote uses the rhetoric of diction and imagery, to not only expose the surroundings to the audiences, but also to begin the higher and implicit meanings of his words. “Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area”, this quote from the passage provides the implicit understanding that the land surrounding this town is unkempt, and lacks human interference. The “high wheat plains” act as a barrier to the outside world that those who live in the village, want to stay isolated from. The ending of the same line uses diction to explicitly show that this one little area is divorced from other communities. “Area that other Kansans call “out there””, shows that even to people who live in Kansas, which Americans consider “out there” can call this town “out there” providing exemplary evidence to Capote’s purpose of proving the seclusion of the village. “The countryside, with its hard blue skies and desert- clear air”, shows the use of diction and implicit meaning. When Capote writes, “hard blue skies”, he doesn’t actually mean that the sky is hard or solid, he means that it is one color, not obscured by clouds or rain or weather, its just one giant sheet of blue stretching on. The meaning and intentions behind “desert-clear air” is to show and re-infuse the idea of lack of human interference and lack of pollution. Constituting the idea of isolation and enjoyment of being “out there”, Capote writes, “The local accent is barbed with a prairie twang, a ranch-hand nasalness”. He uses diction to create a hostile country tone to the speech and dialect of the people. The word “barbed” can be reckoned to show and simulate the want of people staying out, like when barbed wire is hung on fences of secure buildings, or the want to keep people in, like in jails. The term “twang” is used to construct the image of country folk, with farms and all knowing one another’s names. Capote uses diction in an odd way in the seventh line of the excerpt, “the land is flat, and the views are awesomely extensive”. The use of the word “awesomely” contradicts the tone of a country, calm, unobtrusive environment. In the last line of the first paragraph, Capote uses diction and a simile to show not only the...

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