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The Crossing: Cormac Mc Carthy Essay

1031 words - 4 pages

In this excerpt from The Crossing, by Cormac McCarthy, the subject has killed a wolf and is presently brooding over his feelings regarding the fallen creature. His thoughts are displayed in a rather convoluted manner, many of which offset one another, and can cause confusion for the reader. Fortunately, through the usage of diction, syntax, and imagery, McCarthy helps to convey the impact that the experience of the situation has on the main character.Diction plays an enormous role in expressing the impression the wolf's death (and circumstances surrounding it) has on the subject. From the onset, the author establishes a dramatic mood by describing the scenery as having "talus sides" (Line: 1) and "tall escarpments". (Line: 2) As the passage progresses, the passion of the choice of words increases. Such is exemplified in Lines 57 and 58 when the author states: "What blood and bone are made of but can themselves not make on any alter nor by any wound of war". Such a quote implies that the elemental make-up of a body can create the shell of a creature, but no act of man can bring back a soul to fill the casing. The terms "blood", "bone", and "wound of war" are all very fervent and poignant expressions. Their usage conveys the gravity of the quote itself. The utilization of a simple, two-lettered word held great meaning to one particular line of the passage: "He took up her stiff head out of the leaves and held it or he reached to hold what cannot be held..." (Lines: 53 - 55). The placement of "or" implies that the subject is confused about his own emotions, but the situation indicates that they are strong. Simply holding the wolf's corpse in his arms is an attainable feat, but the second half of the previous quote seems to suggest that that subject is reaching for life in death, an impossibility that many strive for. The author's choice of diction, both complex and simplistic, conveys very precise and significant meanings that cannot be overlooked.The syntax of the excerpt is extremely intricate, which helps to enhance the passage as a whole. The entire second paragraph (Lines: 15 - 30), is only separated into three sentences. The content of this paragraph simply walks the reader through the subject's actions and fleeting emotions as he lays the wolf on the ground and begins to contemplate it. The lack of punctuation helps to perpetuate the sequence of events, but tends to have a busy, droning, almost lazy tone about them. Yet at this particular moment, "busy, droning and lazy" all reflect the subject's actions and emotions. He was busy doing what had to be done (lighting a fire, washing away blood, cutting sticks for a trestlepole), completing each task in a monotonous manner, and getting ready to fall asleep. Therefore, the pace of the paragraph was ideal for the character's present state. At the beginning of the passage and right after the subject wakes up, the sentences are short and concise. These help to convey the subject's...

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