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Rhetoric in “The Land Before Time” by M. T. Kelly Essay

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Updated: Nov 25th, 2021

Introduction

It we choose to compare the text with human organism, the structure of the text may be considered the skeleton of the text with its primary function of the basis of the text. The structure is the basis for the content, only skillful organization of the text can make the reader’s perception of the message of the text adequate. However, the structure may be a very effective means of persuasion of the audience and one of the components of the rhetoric of the text, which provides the disclosure of the text’s thesis, as it may be proven by the analysis of the essay “The land before Time” by M.T. Kelly. On reading the essay “The land before Time” it is possible to define its theme as the depiction of the otherness of nature, mainly the Barrens, as it is presented by the author. Since the author is keenly aware of the magnitude of the landscape and the topic he describes, Kelly makes the structure of the essay one of the means of disclosure of the theme of the text. He describes the Canadian Arctic resorting to different structural elements, combining meditation, the introduction of real characters, and the excerpts from Herne’s book as if reflecting the magnitude of nature in his text and inability of a single way of narration to express it.

Main Body

The role of meditation

The text begins with the narrator’s meditation and reflection on the Barrens: “And it becomes clear that landscape, “wilderness”, which appears utterly uninhabited, has been profoundly inhabited, both physically and imaginatively” (Kelly 67). The author describes the Barrens as a living creature that possesses imagination and is alive due to its inhabitants. This type of introduction initiates the reader into the essay successfully, as it creates a bright visual image of nature. The bright language, the use of figurative language is the merit of Kelly’s introduction as it captures the reader’s attention, thus, performing its main function. Such elements as “vanished birds and the vanished people”, “unity and wonder… an ancient connection” cannot make the reader indifferent (Kelly 67). Since we are analyzing the parts of the text that present meditation, it is necessary to mention the final part of the text at once because in the end the author resorts to meditation as well. However, the final part of the text differs from the introduction as it presents more personal description of nature. The author makes use of such word combinations: “the land of little sticks”, “incredible mood”, trying to express his feelings after the personal contact with nature (Kelly 80-81). One more meaning of the circling composition of the essay may be interpreted as the way of expression of the closeness of the region described by the author, the Barrens are majestic realm, and the circling composition proves it graphically.

Kelly’s trip to the Barrens

However, it is necessary to bear in mind the fact that the text under analysis cannot be treated as the piece of imaginative literature, it is an essay, and it should contain a certain amount of reliable information. M.T. Kelly chooses the perfect guide for his trip and for the readers’ “trip” into the wild, Alex Hall. The author introduces Hall to the audience, this is the next element of the structure of the essay, and a very important one, because it creates reliable atmosphere: “Alex Hall, who owns Canoe Arctic, has guided in the Barrens for fifteen years.” “When he speaks of his findings Alex Hall is very secretive” (Kelly 68). The last quotation creates an impression of a reporter who is interviewing a famous person, this adds the essay’s authenticity. The same goes with the description of Hall’s appearance: “tall, garrulous man” (Kelly 68). Besides, the author’s narration of his retracing the steps of Samuel Hearne is a powerful rhetorical means as it combines the originality of personal experience and the reliability of a true fact.

The role of Hearne’s quotations

What is more, Kelly supports every step from his trip that is described in the essay by the information from the book by Hearne “A Journey From Prince of Wales’s Fort in Hudson’s Bay To The Northern Ocean 1769-1770-1771-1772” (73). The extracts from the book that are cited by Kelly are eloquent and create affinity of the essay and the book by Hearne, showing that both works serve one idea: they show magnitude and, moreover, severity, of the Barrens: “the violence of the wind would not permit us to pitch a tent; … the only shelter we could obtain was to take the tent-cloth about our shoulders” (Kelly 72). These abstracts followed by Kelly’s commentaries create the impression of real retracing of Hearne’s trip by the author of the assay. As we read the essay we feel that Kelly becomes more and more entitled to comment on the book by Hearne because the people who are mentioned in the essay, Kelly, Alex Hall, and Hearne, are the people who have got at the nature of the Canadian wild.

Conclusion

Drawing a conclusion, it should be mentioned that the analysis of the structure of the text as the powerful means of creation of the rhetoric of the text is evident. The author of “The Land Before Time” has successfully combined the reliability of the existing literary sources and personal experience supported by personal feelings towards nature. The structure of the text creates the harmony in the information given by the author, thus, contributing to the realization of the theme of the essay.

Works Cited

Kelly, M.T. “The Land before Time”. The Saturday Night Traveller. Ed. George Galt. NY: Harper Collins, 1990: 67-81.

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"Rhetoric in “The Land Before Time” by M. T. Kelly." IvyPanda, 25 Nov. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/rhetoric-in-the-land-before-time-by-m-t-kelly/.

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IvyPanda. "Rhetoric in “The Land Before Time” by M. T. Kelly." November 25, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/rhetoric-in-the-land-before-time-by-m-t-kelly/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Rhetoric in “The Land Before Time” by M. T. Kelly." November 25, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/rhetoric-in-the-land-before-time-by-m-t-kelly/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Rhetoric in “The Land Before Time” by M. T. Kelly'. 25 November.

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