Cannibalism In The Cars Analysis

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Mark Twain once said “[the] humorous story depends for its effect upon the manner of the telling[...]” In his satirical writing “Cannibalism in the cars,” he uses a number of rhetorical devices in order to enhance the humorous effect on the manner of telling stories. The rhetorical devices he uses include paradox, irony, and satire. Paradox is a self-contradictory statement and its abundance is shown clearly within the essay. In the part where the congressman explains the situation inside the cars as the intensity of snowing grew heavier, he says “cheerfulness gave place to grave concern” (Twain). The words “cheerfulness” and “grave concern” are term that do not concur on the meaning or the mood. Also, near the end of the writing, the speaker presents his uneasy feeling, saying “[with] all his gentleness of manner and his soft voice, I shuddered whenever he turned his hungry eye upon me[…]” (Twain). In this sentence, words “gentleness” and “soft voice” contradict the word “shuddered,” since gentleness and soft voice brings comfort or…show more content…
Whereas the paradox can be identified without the knowledge of a story’s plot, irony requires the readers to acknowledge the storyline. For example, the statement “[that] I know was the cheeriest hour of my eventful life” is an ironical statement, for it does not contradict itself but contradicts the mood of the plot (Twain). Overall storyline of the congressman’s story is gloomy and horrifying. Yet, the sentence states otherwise. Also, the quote from the congressman that reads “He [John Murphy] married her [widow of Mr. Harris, the first victim], and is happy and respected and prosperous yet. Ah, it was like a novel, sir - it was like a romance” provides the mood that contradicts the earlier part of the story (Twain). The ironical statements provides antithetical moods or other aspects that further enriches the humorous
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