Sunday, May 26, 2019

“Death of a Soldier” by Louisa May Alcott Essay

The excerpt Death of a Soldier, taken from Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott features various rhetorical strategies to create an appeal to emotion. She exhibits the compassion of the nurse for John, change sur display case in the face of inevitable demise she displays the altruistic mindset of John, and adds depth to her words by using analogies. She uses these tools in order to inflict a dusky emotional feeling and an understanding of how awful the situation actually was.One of the rhetorical strategies of this piece is her compassion, even when seemingly futile, for the wounded soldier. The way Alcott describes Johns situation as being completely helpless and doomed. The doctors words, not having the slightest hope for recovery, illustrate his condition. Given this information prior to her attempt to shut up his pain, Alcott raises her sheer sorrow for the poor lad. I bathed his face, brushed his bonny brown hair, set all things smooth about him. This quote shows how muc h travail she put into even the slightest difference in his comfort, in hopes of inflicting a satisfied expression on a dying face. She stirred the air about him with a slow wave of air and waited for him to die. She stood by him until his breath helping him bear the agony of his inevitable and anticipated death. These examples of her charity instill feelings of understanding and pity for John.The other side of Alcotts appeal to emotion is Johns mentality. John questions the nurse in reference to the battle do they think it will be my last? He is seemingly eager to return to his position and fulfill his duty. He feels loyal to his cause and indifferent to his own well-being. On his deathbed he is only momentarily worried for himself when introduced to his fate. After that brief moment he seems to feel guilty for his cowardly cause of death, and justifies it as he obeyed orders. With his last bear breath he asks of the people present that they tell the others he did his best, as he wanted so desperately to make his friends and family proud. He sees the tragedy of his death not in death itself, but in the incapability of action, thereby preventing further altruism. His noble mentality draws the reader away from the image of a boorish, stoic, combatant, towards a kind, caring, Virginia blacksmith.To strengthen the appeal of emotion, Alcott integrates analogies into her writing. She embodies a look of helplessness forced by the inevitability of his death, crossing Johns face in her words, over his face I saw a gray veil falling that no human can lift. She shows the reader how close to death he was, and appeals to the reader with her latitude inability to help him. After he has died, she compares his lifeless breathing to the waves of an ebbing tide that bear unfelt against the wreck. This pallid vision shows how although he was not physically dead, he was not really alive.With such proficient use of these rhetorical strategies, Alcott reaches the emotions of th e reader. She shows the compassion of the nurse, to provide the reader with understanding of the atmosphere she provides insight to the frame of mind of John, to show him as a person who is more than a tool of war and she intensifies her emotional appeal with analogies, to deepen understanding for the events of the story. Ultimately Alcott amalgamates all these elements in an overcome effort to capture the readers heart.

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