Literary Techniques In John Mcphee's Contrhonol Of Nature

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John McPhee uses a variety of literary techniques in his novel to explain the magnitude of the situation at hand. In the novel Contr¬ol of Nature, specifically the chapter “Cooling the Lava,” Similes help to explain the volcanic eruptions and their aftermath in effective ways as most people are unfamiliar with what they are like. By using the device, it grabs the reader’s attention making them more likely to try and understand the situation. A volcanic eruption also deals with lots of technical and political jargon that can be uninteresting or difficult to understand, by using comparisons this language can be made more colloquial allowing readers with different types of background to comprehend and enjoy the novel. The literary device allows McPhee to provide a sense of clarity to a foreign situation. The first simile used in the chapter is used when describing the lava flow during the eruption of the Eldfell volcano. The lava flow “clinks and tinkles, and crackles like a campfire” (McPhee 98). The idea of molten rock creeping across the landscape can come across as unnerving and may boggle the mind. But by comparing the flow to a campfire it becomes slightly normalized. Anyone that has gone camping or has witnessed a campfire through media can find comfort in the familiar image and sounds a campfire…show more content…
Many of the “houses…were cooked until their frames came loose like the bones of stewing chickens” (McPhee 110-111). Instead of depicting the severe property damage as a scene of horror it is conveyed in a lighter sense. Human creations are seen as ingredients for nature itself to do what it wishes with. Even though the ash has caused irreversible damage to the town something new will be made from it. The image of a chicken stewing also invokes images of a home cooked meal creating feelings of comfort. Even though the homes may be destroyed the memories made in them will not
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