If you could include what grade you think this might get that’d be great
Question: Analyse how language features revealed the writers purpose in the written text.
An authors effective use of language allows the purpose of a text to be revealed to readers in a tasteful and digestible way. In the short story ‘Famished Eels’, featured in anthology ‘Black Marks on the White Page’, author Mary Rokonudravu includes a range of language features to reveal her purpose in creating the emotive piece. While there are multiple different messages that can be taken from Famished Eels, the mature and moving comment that is made on the state of the human condition and through the metaphor of the eels encourages the reader to reconnect with their whakapapa - the base foundations of what it means to be human in this progressive time. The powerful use of imperative verb commands, paired with the emotional response that is evoked through the use of sophisticated similes and metaphor, reveal Rokonudravu’s passion for using her voice in the place of those in her island community who cannot. This is reinforced when she mentions in an interview; ‘For too long, others have told our stories and that has always been painful to witness’.
In the opening section of the text, the readers gets an initial glimpse of the narrators father communicating the importance of staying connected to whakapapa in order to create and maintain a legacy. Rokonudravu includes the emotive metaphor ‘I was born to be bridge’ in the exposition of her piece, immediately establishing the connection the narrator feels they provide from one generation to another, and the responsibility that narrator feels as a result of this. The hyperbole that follows; ‘all I see are connections’, reinforces how overwhelming this responsibility is in such an increasingly developing society, particularly as a young person. To overcome this, the fathers advice to his child is to “keep writing… As long as someone remembers, we live”. This imperative verb command is a striking statement, and while it is directed to the child in the story, the reader is encouraged through the command to acknowledge the instruction themselves. This shows Rokonudravu’s artistic ability to convey a topic as confronting as colonialism in a tasteful way that evokes an intuitive response in readers. Rokonudravu tastefully comments on how acknowledging our whakapapa and strengthening our cultural roots will remedy the misdirection we sometimes feel as a universal part of the human experience. In this post-modern world, connection to our past is one of the few elements of a chaotic life that can ground us, and revert us back to appreciating and finding peace in the basic, even mundane, elements of life.
Rokonudravu continues to reveal the purpose of the text in the turning point of the short story, continuing to use intriguing language features to her advantage. In this section, the narrators father speaks to her in the way of a thought provoking simile; “He tells us we are like eels in a decreasing pool of rain”. In this quotation, Rokonudravu alludes to how the newer generation is suffocating the past with newness, and an inability to acknowledge its importance. Rokonudravu explores this through the sophisticated metaphor of eels, with larger eels representing the newer generation, and the rainwater representing the space that is required for eels to thrive. The simile that Rokonudravu uses to deliver this message engages the reader with its unique delivery, allowing her to most effectively convey the purpose of this written text. The addition of the extended metaphor of the eels representing past and present generations transfers the complex issue of progression and generational differences in a clever yet digestible way. This allows the reader to fully understand what Rokonudravu is encouraging them to do, the purpose ultimately being to acknowledge the importance of connecting with ones whakapapa. With the narrator being only a child when her father tells her this story, she calls it ‘horrible’, and is lacks the ability to understand her fathers prayer for her to ‘find a black cloud that gives [her] rain’. This encapsulates Rokonadravus main message and purpose in creating this piece; although it is uncomfortable, connection to the past and our own whakapapa is entirely necessary in order to continue our legacy as individuals, as well as a generation.
In the closing section of the piece, Rokonudravu continues to challenge the readers perception of their own relationship with their whakapapa, through language features which show the narrators ultimate recognition of their own. It is at this time when the narrators father is rendered speechless that the narrator experiences moments of clarity when dwelling on previous interactions she’d had with her father. This is revealed in the closing section; ‘You will grow into your road, he tells me as a child. And I have.’ The short, simple sentence Rokonudravu has written from the narrators perspective alludes to how all has become clear to her, she is confident that the choices she has made in relation to her father and her legacy are honourable. It is also at this time when our narrator has another revelation; ‘My story is not mine alone. It is the story of multitudes and will become a thread in the stories of multitudes.’ Rokonudravu effectively connects with her audience in this metaphor, alluding to how the narrator and the reader are alike, enhancing the readers personal connection to the story, allowing Rokonudravu to effectively convey the purpose of the text; to make comment of the importance of every kind of connection. Rokonudravu tells her story through Famished Eels, her vulnerability and sophisticated analysis of her own experience encourages readers to consider not only their own whakapapa, but also the stores and experiences of others.
Rokonadravu’s tasteful use of a variety language features allows the purpose of the text to be uncovered by readers. The theme of connection and legacy is present throughout the piece, challenging readers to question their own relationship with their whakapapa, with their own ancestors who have contributed to the individuals they have become. Rokonudravu suggests that our connection with our ancestors runs deeper than mere genealogy, and connecting and understanding the sometimes uncomfortable elements of our ancestors’ lives will benefit our own sense of identity. At the same time, Rokonudravu encourages us to acknowledge the differences that the younger generation brings to our ancestors legacy, and while we must acknowledge the past, we must also make room for the future, for new legacies to be made. Through her masterful use of extended metaphor, Rokonudravu creates a thought-provoking and important piece that leaves its own legacy, a timeless message that is relevant and applicable to all generations.