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Marianne Wiggins' Book John Dollar

Categories: BooksPerception

In this passage from John Dollar, the author, Marianne Wiggins, discribes a catastrophe and the confuison of the survivors after it. With the description of the actions and the setting, the reader understands that this passage takes place after a shipwreck. Some girls are . Scratchy, covered with sand, exhausted, and confused, the girls are starting to wake up. The reader follows this retablisement, while the author conveys the feelings of the girls; mainly confusion. The syntax emphasizes this idea.

Through out the text, Wiggins creates an atmosphere of confusion.

He presents a sense of the environment for this incident. In fact, the beach, which is often related to holidays, pleasure and happiness, is in this passage demonstrated as a torture for the girls; “This was a torture”, a place for their death. But the opening sentence seems to demonstrate the opposite: “The air smelled like diamonds”. Diamonds are usually not related to catastrophe, but more to richness, presents.

Nevertheless, all the elements on the beach represent a danger for the girls.

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The wall is used as a metaphor for the waves, which is created around them by the tide digging into the sand. The waves have also erse their memory: “had collapsed on their memory”. The coral which is a beautiful aquatic element, as turn into a razor to shaved their knees. The sand has overlapped them, from their feet to their mouth; “but he tongue was covered with sand”.

The animals are threatening the girls and try to eat them; “carrion eaters arrived.

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They stalked around Oopi , testing her palatability…”. The crows seen as carnivores and the birds arrive and peck the fish, scissoring “out the gray flesh with their beaks”. These two powerful images reinforce the tone of the passage. The girls, between death and life, are surrounded by carnivores who try to eat them. Oopi is purchased by the birds, and in the description, the author gives the impression that she will be killed.

Furthermore, “The sun was too bright” and hurts their heads, the smell of the dead fishes stinks. “Dead fish” and “dried seaweed” are two images of death. Therefore, the beach can be view as a set after a battle with the smell emitted from the dead corpses. Everything in the environment is here to threaten and attack the girls. Even the air, which is primordial to survive, is now hurting them as the sharps of a diamonds would cut the spine: “The air smelled like diamonds. It was sharp in their lungs.

The repetition of the pronom “she” centers the action on the girls. “She” designes different girls through out the passage: the girls in general, Oopi, Gabi, and Amanda. This permits the reader to have different points of view and situations. Furthermore, in the first part of the passage, Wiggins conveys the feelings of the girls through a precise description of their situation. Their state is grave. Indeed, from the very beginning of the text, their life is unsure. The use of the hyperbole “Theirs was a not-life, a state of nonbeing, a coma from which they were waking, a stage in the life of a worm” emphasizes their physical and mental pains and the last expression compares the stage of life of the survivors with one of a worm, which are vulnerable insects. Their pain is so intense that death might have been a better issue to their problems: “No one was glad to discover to she was still alive”. Crying has become even hard for them to do: “Each one, when she was able to, wept”.

In the second part of the passage, the author describes their feelings, and the reader can therefore have a sense of what they think: “Her head hurts”, she feels dizzy, confused and thirsty. The girls gain strengh and their feelings are now translated to the 3rd person singular, so the reader can understand their feelings esealy.

Moreover, confusion is omnipresent. The girls have hallucinations, they see “things that could not swim were swimming: trees, the horizon, a bee”. This list represents three types of elements totally different: vegetation, infinite and impalpable limit and a human being, which demonstrate the confusion on the whole enviroment. Wiggins conveys the confusion of the girls by describing their confused actions; one on the girls forgets her shoe at the edge of the see. In addition, the perception of the girls is also damaged, the colors swam and they cannot distinct the real shapes around them. The orange color is predominant in this passage. “Orange thing” is a metaphor for the life vest, but the use of the pejorative word “thing” demonstrate that they see it as a useless object for them now that they are safe on the beach and try to take it off.

The syntax emphasize the idea of confusion. Through out the passage, contrastive sentences are used. Short sentences followed by long sentences reinforced the confusion of the passage. In fact, the author interprets the girls’ state and mind through the syntax. For instance, exhausted and hurt, the girls don’t have the strenght to develop concrete and long ideas and the short sentences demonstrate their difficulty to breath. Furthermore, the rhetorical questions are used to emphasize their confusion, they have no idea where they are, what has happen to them. The exclamation mark translates their emotion: “basta!” and the dash before “carrion eaters arrived”, creates a pose to emphazise this powerful image.

The last paragraph, distuinguishes itself from the rest of the text because its two lines. Nevertheless, it is the most important part, the reader understand that the girls are the survivors of a shipwrecked. The word “Help” has a capital letter, therefore it is caracterized as a name. “Help” cqn be replqce by the word “God” because the girls, left alone, are waiting for a miracle to rescue them.

In conclusion, through the setting, the use of metaphors, the syntax, repeated ideas images and the pronoms, Marianne Wiggins, conveys the feelings on the girls after the incident. The confusion is total, in their brain and on earth. The typical, peaceful elements of the seaside transform to attack the girls and the colors swam in their mind.

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Marianne Wiggins' Book John Dollar. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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