The first segment (paragraphs 1-8) is about the author’s impressions of the island. The second segment (paragraphs 9-10) is about the author’s childhood fear. Explain how the writer uses language to convey meaning and create effect in these two paragraphs.
In the first segment, the writer expresses his hatred towards the island through the use of metaphor and comparison. Firstly, the writer illustrates Vanuatu after the lights fades as “coal-shaft black” and “back-of-your-closet black”. Here, the writer describes the darkness at late Vanuatu as coal and the back of a closet. The two continuous metaphors here effectively suggest that the impermeable darkness is, in a way, dirty and unpleasant to the writer, therefore expressing the writer’s hatred and negative impressions of the environment. Secondly, the writer says that the hotel is “a magnet to flies”. The metaphor used here vividly shows the great amount of flies in the area, as if they are being attracted by something in the hotel. The detailed descriptions of the flies shows the writer’s disgust towards the hotel and possibly his hatred towards the island. Thirdly, the writer claims that the small kerosene lamps among the table “make the slightest dent on the monolithic emptiness of the world beyond this one”. Here, the writer compares the great contrast between the impacts of these small lamps on the environment and the feeling of emptiness of the rest of the world around him, concluding that the lamps could not even make a dent. The comparison in the sentence indicates that nothing could ease the desolation of the place and the loneliness of the writer, which additionally highlights his hatred towards the island.
In the second segment, the writer conveys the great impacts brought by his childhood fears through the use of the rule of three, repetition and metaphor. Firstly, the writer claims that his childhood fears are mainly “That sense of abject abandonment, the helplessness, the distress”. The rule of three is used here as the writer lists out the components that made up his fear, making the language more emotive, highlighting the fact that these emotions are still left in his heart even after he had grown up. Secondly, the writer further describes his fear in detail as “nobody knows I’m here, nobody cares, and nobody’s coming back for me”. The technique of anaphora is used here as the word “nobody” is repeated at the beginning of each phrase, making the phrases more and more emotional. This emphasises the fact that the writer was left alone, how helpless he was and therefore indicates that these childhood fears will cause great impacts on the writer. Thirdly, the writer metaphorically describes his childhood fears as “thumbprint of anxiety”. The metaphor used in the phrase effectively shows the characteristics of the anxiety left in his heart by his childhood fears: perpetual and long-lasting, just like a thumbprint, which is always there throughout a person’s life and will never change no matter what. With this metaphor, the writer shows the greatness of the impacts of his fears. Therefore, the great impacts brought by the writer’s childhood fears are conveyed to the readers through the use of the rule of three, repetition and metaphor.