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AP Essay: Maria W. Stewart Essay

The Great Missippi

In the passage “Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927” the author John M. Barry describes elaborately the functions and complexity of the Mississippi River. The author wants to inform the reader about the fascinating characteristic the Mississippi River offers, through a descriptive and informative passage. The author’s fascination of the river is incredible due to the simple, solid facts that are stated. Throughout the passage the author uses many rhetorical devices to amplify his message such as diction, vivid imagery, and simile. The author uses a series of rhetorical devices in the passage such as asyndeton to help communicate his fascination of rivers to the reader. An example of this is “It generates its own internal forces through its size, its sediment load, its depth, variations in its bottom, its ability to cave in the riverbank and slide sideways for miles, and even tidal influences…” (20-23).

This example is very useful to our understanding of rivers because it’s very detailed and rich in in facts. Another rhetorical device the author uses in the passage is the usage of similes. A clear example of this is “Rather, it moves south in layers and whorls, like an uncoiling rope made up of a multitude of discrete fibers…” (36-38). This is a very interesting example of a simile, simply because it compares two things with very descriptive words and because it gives the reader a more concrete understanding of the rivers strength. It also makes the reader become more engaged and interested to the passage.

The last rhetorical device in the passage is the use of vivid imagery. The author uses this powerful device in the passage to amplify and captivate the reader. An example of this is “Humphreys observed an eddy, running upstream at seven miles an hour and extending half across the river, whirling and foaming…” (47-49). This example helps the reader emphasize the rivers complexity and.


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