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    What effect does the use of italics have on the reader?

    "Can't you bring out a clean tablecloth?"
    "It looks so sloppy!"

    I wrote that it gives the reader an image of a desperate Aruna (the character's name).

    "Uma felt pity for her: was this the realm of ease and comfort for which Aruna had always pined and that some might say she attained? Certainly it brought her no pleasure...."

    I wrote that "pity" and "pined creates an image of Aruna who is struggling very hard for freedom.

    But is that enough? Grrrr this is so difficult!!!!!! :confused:
    It's for my IB english IOP presentation.
    The quotes come from the book Fasting Feasting by Anita Desai.

    THank you!!

    If I remember correctly, I think the quotes you give are from the episode in the novel where Aruna has brought her husband back to the family home.

    Aruna, for the most part, is the most 'westernized' character (or at least attempts to appear the most westernized character) - i.e. compared to MamaPapa and Uma, she appears the one most attracted to the 'image conscious' lifestyle; therefore, you could suggest that the italics Anita Desai employ here show, as you said, Aruna's desperation, specifically a desperation to maintain this positive image of her life and family - the italics might suggest that Aruna simply does not believe what Uma/MamaPapa consider a clean tablecloth is not clean enough for Aruna and her standards. Likewise, what the rest of the family may consider acceptable, Aruna observes as sloppy. In this sense, the italics emphaise her standards, and in turn her removal from the typical Indian village lifestyle in favour of the city life.

    This in turn, reaffirms your own suggesting that the italics, on the whole, can also be interpreted as indicating Aruna's strives for freedom.

    In terms of whether this is enough or not, I'm afraid I'm not overly familiar with the IB mark scheme, but it is certainly a good, strong point from which you could develop further points if necessary.

    Hope this is of some help

    Italics place emphasis on the words.
    The words are both adjectives pertaining to aesthetics, implying that the character in question is concerned primarily with the superficial.
    Also, the emphasis on "clean" suggests that this is not usually the case as the character needs to specify it so explicitely - it could be used to show a state of squaler/untidiness in the life of that character.
    (I haven't read the text though so...)
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Updated: January 22, 2010
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