Personification

It is ordinary, as lands go. Mountains and plateaus and canyons and river deltas, the usual. Ordinary, except for its size and its dynamism. It moves a lot, this land. Like an old man lying restlessly abed it heaves and sighs, puckers and farts, yawns and swallows. Naturally this land’s people have named it the Stillness. It is a land of quiet and bitter irony. (Jemisin 2)

As I might have mentioned earlier, personification is the the giving of human qualities to inanimate objects, such is the case here with land. I really like how brutal and violent events like earth quakes/volcanoes are given an overly simplistic and comedic comparison, like to an old man in bed, especially with words like fart. With such a description, this paragraph gives a strong voice to the narrator, winding the reader in quickly on page 2.

It really helps make the land from something eternal, unchanging to something as grumpy, feeling as a human. I guess this wouldn’t be something everyone would use, but it does help add narration or depth to the setting.

Jemisin, N.K. Fifth Season. New York, NY: Orbit, 2015. Print.

 

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Personification with disease

Being human, we identify with things that also act human. Hence, when you talk about animal rights, we identify through the fact that they can feel pain and can experience emotions…which is why when it comes to writing, if you’re writing about something that isn’t human, painting it with human words make it a better picture.

But at some point a Cordyceps came along that was a lot less finicky. It jumped the species barrier, then the genus, family, order and class. It clawed its way to the top of the evolutionary tree, assuming for a moment that evolution is a tree and has a top. Of course, the fungus might have had a helping hand. It might have been grown in a lab, for any number of reasons, coaxed along with gene-splicing and injected RNA. Those were very big jumps. (Carey 54)

Cordyceps – a fungus that used to bond with ants, as a parasite

This I thought was a beautiful paragraph from the book I just finished. Here, it describes the fungus in human-like terms, using phrases like clawing up a tree, jumping the barrier. It puts it in terms simple enough that any reader can grasp, and yet gives the fungus a sort of life-like animation to make it feel like a real enemy we’re working against rather than just some “disease.”

Another strength of this paragraph is the sense of stream of consciousness. The flow is beautiful with the way thoughts stream together, going from jumping to clawing and defining how it got there, that someone could’ve put it there. This reminds me exactly as somebody thinking and brainstorming. It goes from one thought to the next, all in a logical order – at least logical for the person who’s a scientist.

(Notice the words that all relate to biology, because the characters are scientists.)

Carey, M.R. The Girl With All the Gifts. New York, NY: Orbit, 2014. Print.

Reacting to “Lexicon”

I was really unsure when I started this book – the back cover sounded interesting, which I guess is a plus for the writers who wrote it – but when I started the book, you know nothing. Just like the character. This poor guy has been assaulted, kidnapped, in all senses of the word – tortured. I still have no idea who he is, what’s going on.

And it somewhat works. I’m still reading, mostly for curiosity at this point although I haven’t been entirely sated with the style. It’s been a lot of dry dialogue at this point, though the bathroom scene was slightly funny. I chuckled inside my head – mostly because people avoid bathrooms for scenes.

But I was truly impressed when I hit this paragraph:

A door opened. On the other side of it was a world of stunted color and muted sound, as if something was stuck in Wil’s ears, and eyes, and possibly brain. He shook his head to clear it, but the world grew dark and angry and would not stay upright. The world did not like to be shaken. He understood that now. He wouldn’t shake it again. He felt his feet sliding away from him on silent roller skates and reached for a wall for support. The wall cursed and dug its fingers into his arm, and was probably not a wall. It was probably a person. (Barry 8)

This is beautiful, mostly because the way it paints a picture – “stunted color and muted sound.” I love how it describes the feeling of being drugged, how he personifies the world with it “did not like to be shaken.” How he personified the wall because it was really a person. I felt like this was one of the most creative descriptions for being drugged, and I would love to see more personification for imagery.

I guess it’s some of my word/poetry love coming through writing.

Barry, Max. Lexicon. New York, NY: Penguin, 2013. Print.