Words of Wisdom:

"See you somewhere" - Catherine

How Are the Writers Feelings Presented

  • Date Submitted: 03/11/2014 10:29 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 54.7 
  • Words: 518
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In this extract, Christopher Ondaatje describes his visit to Lake Victoria. He experiences various thoughts and feelings during his journey. Firstly, in the opening paragraph, the author gives us the impression that he is thinking about both the present and the past. He describes his location and what he can see before him, and reveals that Mwanza is a “vibrant African city” that is growing and busy. Implying that this place is a living city, he states that it “seemed to grow as we watched”. Furthermore, he shows an awareness of the lake being much older and having played a role in “the great explorations of the past”. This shows the reader the fact that Ondaatje has a sense of the lake’s history and its importance as a landmark for previous travelers. The second paragraph suggests to us that the beauty of nature overcomes the author. He portrays where he is as an “idyllic spot” and then goes on to describe the sounds of the birds, the beauty of the sunrise and the sound of the lake. His senses are informing his feelings here; what he sees and hears are all conveyed very positively and he states that waking here would “be a good way to start every morning”. However, as Ondaatje describes the travelers’ wait to catch the ferry to cross the lake, the language he uses hints that he is no longer in control of the situation. Passengers have to rely on the local system, which is not very reliable, and there is doubt that they will even get on the ferry. The previous idyllic setting is now contrasted by the discomfort of the day getting “hotter and hotter”. The description of conditions on the ferry shows the passengers’ discomfort only gets worse, calling the setting “hot as hell – and getting hotter.” Moreover, worse than the discomfort he feels is his knowledge that a similar ferry sank or “went down” a year or so earlier with loss of life. Ondaatje’s anxiety is shown in that he realizes there is no system of controlling the amount of weight taken on by the ferry and...

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