Jan 30, 2013


By Ilsa Rashid

Directed Writing:
I lay on a mattress of steel, writhing in pain that gnawed, not on my body, but my conscience. The cold of the mattress reminded me that this agony and this loneliness were all real.
How much longer must I endure such suffering? When shall I join those innocent ones? The ones that I snatched away from their families, like a stubborn child seizes another’s possession.
I saw their faces float affront my eyes, on the walls of the cell, mocking me. The embarrassment, the guilt of it drove me insane! I remember, as clearly as I saw the turnkey sleeping on a chair behind the bars that I had killed. How many, I do not remember.
The turnkey parted his eyes slightly and said,
“Do you need anything?”
“Death,” I replied.
“Might as well learn to kill time too. You’re not going anywhere anytime soon,” he stated flatly.

Comparative Analysis:
Both, the given passage and my passage, are written in first person singular and are monologues by a person responsible for a series of murders.

Both passages have the same purpose: to show the murder’s agony. ‘Agony,' ‘miserable,' ‘parched’ and ‘terror’ are words that the given passage uses. My passage uses ‘pain’, ‘suffering’, and ‘gnawed’. All these words describe the character’s experience in the prison and create a mood of tension and, sometimes, sympathy. Throughout the passages, the tone of the speaker is that of guilt and restlessness. This is illustrated by the questions in line 5 in my passage these questions evoke sympathy in the reader as they help form a connection with the prisoner.

The given passage uses long sentences and exclamations to show the frustration and helplessness of the prisoner. The given passage uses thus exclamation in line 21, whereas I have emulated this technique in line 10 and 11.

The given passage uses a simile in line 22 where the renewed torture is compared to ‘the turning of the wheel.’ ‘Like a stubborn child’ is the simile that I have used to describe his act of murder.

The given passage repeatedly mentions how the prisoner can’t differentiate reality from a dream, as in line 4, 24 and 47. I have also shown a sense of disbelief and confusion in line 13, where the prisoner does not remember how many he has killed.

Both passages make use of dialogue where a person asks the prisoner a question. ‘Are you better now, sir?’ in the given passage and “Do you need anything?’ in mine. Also, both passages make use of sarcasm: in line 42 in the given passage and line 17-18 in my passage, where the remarks of the outsider hurt the prisoner. This evokes sympathy for the prisoner.

“Gaolers, turnkeys, bolts” is a triad used in the given passage. This creates a sense of pity for the prisoner as it is a list of boring things and people. However, I have not used this technique.


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