In the Far Distance – Chapter 9

1.) Symbolism is a language technique that is significant to the text in chapter 9 – In the Far Distance.

In literature symbolism is a object, person or situation that has more than its literal definition. Joe utilizes this symbolic technique of symbolism with the word selection of ‘light’ which is very important to the text as it portrays hows Joe perceives the ‘light’ in his current situation.

The text “A pillar of gold light beamed diagonally from a small hole in the roof, spraying bright reflections off the far wall of the crevasse. I was mesmerized by this beam of sunlight burning through the vaulted ceiling from the real world outside. It had me so fixated that I forgot about the uncertain floor below and let myself down the rest of the rope. I was going to reach that sun beam. I knew it then with absolute certainty” demonstrates the symbolism of the ‘light’ perceived by Joe.

Being the reader I understand from this text that the symbol of the ‘light’ does not only mean the literal meaning, but for Joe the light gives a sense of hope, life and optimism that there is a chance for him to escape the death defying  situation he is currently in.  Evidence in the passage that convinces me of this second meaning is the current positive tone of Joe when describing the light. He uses a variety of positive words and phrases such as ‘A pillar of gold light beamed’ and ‘spraying bright reflections off the far wall of the crevasse’. Emotive language is also implemented to describe the positive tone of how Joe perceives the light with the selected text of “I was mesmerized by this beam of sunlight”. As the current reader with my knowledge, experiences and biases, the selected word of mesmerized creates and imagery in my mind of my past experiences when confronted with a never before seen beautiful environment such as the Milford Sound creating a disbelief in my mind. Sentence structure/syntax also presents to me the second meaning of the ‘light’ because Joe uses complex sentences to portray the positive tone such as  “A pillar of gold light beamed diagonally from a small hole in the roof, spraying bright reflections off the far wall of the crevasse’. Also I perceive that the symbol of ‘light’ presents a significant feature which is that hope/optimism presents motivation. I gain this sense of feeling because of the short, sharp and statement simple sentences of  “I was going to reach that sun beam” and “I knew it then with absolute certainty”.

2.) Another use of the language technique of symbolism is with the consistent back chat between Joe and the ‘voice’. This is again significant to the text in chapter 9 – In the Far Distance.

The symbolic meaning of the ‘voice’ has a big role in presenting Joe’s mental and emotional state currently in this section of his journey.

It is revealed in the text “A voice in my head told me that this was true, cutting through the jumble in my mind with its coldly rational sound. If was as if there were two minds within me arguing the toss. The voice was clean and sharp and commanding. It was always right, and I listened to it when it spoke and acted on its decisions. The other mind rambled out a disconnected series of images, and memories and hopes, which I attended to in a daydream state as I set about obeying the orders of the voice. ” the symbolic meaning of the voice and conflicting between Joe’s ‘two minds’.

The symbolism used in the passage of the ‘voice’ presents to me as the reader that the ‘voice’ is the logical, calming and responsible mind commanding Joe’s actions and decisions when in moments of need.  As the reader I interpret this by the descriptions, statements and word selection of the voice such as “The voice was clean and sharp and commanding” “It was always right” and I listened to it when it spoke and acted on its decisions”. Personification is also used to show that the voice in Joe’s mind acts like a higher ranked, trusted second opinion almost as if the voice was Simon. Being the reader I perceive the ‘voice’ in Joe’s mind to be like Simon as at the beginning stages of the climb Joe has a very low self esteem perceiving Simon to be his idol but also Simon barely varies his syntax and only uses commanding statements of simple sentences and minor sentences such as “Done it” “No more fluting” and “Come up.” Also as the reader with my experiences I perceive this voice to also be a companion who influences my decisions as I self talk to myself when alone and confronted with a situation of a high amount of stress or failure.  The personification used in the text to portray to readers that the voice is commanding is with the phrase ” I listened to it when it spoke” even though the voice could not speak. Revealed in the text I also am able to see a conflict between the ‘voice’ and the other mind. I perceive this as the other mind fixates on memories/experiences that relate to the situation he is in or concludes to finding the likely outcome of the situation. Evidence that supports my understanding is with the sentence of”The other mind rambled out a disconnected series of images, and memories and hopes, which I attended to in a daydream state as I set about obeying the orders of the voice.”

One Reply to “In the Far Distance – Chapter 9”

  1. Again Michael, you are using an effective structure to convey your ideas. As with your previous work on Chapter 8 when discussing the reference to the mountain as being “ageless”, do not under-develop your answers. I.e. “Emotive language is also implemented to describe the positive tone of how Joe perceives the light…creates and imagery in my mind of my past experiences when confronted with a never before seen beautiful environment such as the Milford Sound creating a disbelief in my mind.” – What is the overall purpose of this tone, or your/Joe’s “disbelief”? Complete the point that you are making here.

    When discussing syntax, it would also be good to compare the use of sentence structures. Go back to the purpose/effect of using each type of sentence and relate this to what is being conveyed in the text.

    I am impressed with your connection between the “voice” and Simon’s influence on Joe. You have also supported this point with evidence from the text. Consider how this presence in Joe’s life may still be needed, even after the connection through “the rope” is lost.

    Great work 🙂

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