Figurative Language In Libby Copeland's Who Was She? A DNA

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Libby Copeland, in “Who Was She? A DNA Test Only Opened New Mysteries”, painstakingly uncovers the ramifications of accessible genetic testing. In light of this modern practice of determining lineage, she details the relationships facilitated and losses mourned through the use of figurative language, diction, and structure.
As a clever method of showing the audience many individuals’ reactions to genetic testing results, Copeland uses figurative language throughout the article to elevate drama and establish tension in the investigation. When the opportunity arises to learn more about her genetic lineage, Alice Collins Plebuch does not hesitate to gather more information about her family’s origins. Feeling as though the results could provide …show more content…

Copeland carefully selects words in the introduction to emphasize an overall nonchalance in compiling such comprehensive information, “Over the past five years, as the price of DNA testing kits has dropped and their quality has improved, the phenomenon of ‘recreational genomics’ has taken off,” (Copeland). The use of “recreational” suggests the practice of gathering broad scientific information lacks gravity. In fact, the author contrasts the word with more levity with the use of “genomics”, a concrete science that affects the structure and function of genetic information. The dramatic usage indicates to the audience that users of DNA testing are incapable of understanding all possible consequences of accessible genetic testing. Traditions of past generations provide a foundation for the identity of future generations. When descendants of the Benson and Collins families meet, they discuss moments when the fathers’ lineage was in question. “Pullman told her the family story of how, when her tall Uncle Phillip was courting his first wife, her observant Jewish parents didn’t believe he could possibly be a member of the tribe,” (Copeland). The use of the word “tribe” connotes the Benson and Collins families adhere to distinct traditions specific to a particular culture, and assimilation into a tribe does not necessarily lead to acceptance within the tribe. As the process of assimilating into a tribe requires considerable effort, the process of determining genetic lineage is similarly exhaustive. In the search for an individual’s ancestry, it is common for genetic detectives to turn to social networking. Copeland details, “[CeCe Moore] runs a 54,000-person Facebook group, DNA Detectives, that helps people unravel their genetic ancestries,” (Copeland). “Unravel” is a curious term to describe the investigative

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