English Language- paper 1 q2Watch
How does the writer use language here to convey Oliver Bacon’s views on jewels and the value of precious stones?
You could include the writer’s choice of:
• words and phrases
• language features and techniques
• sentence forms.
Then he touched a spring in the wall and slowly the panelling slid open, and behind it were the steel safes, five, no, six of them , all of burnished steel He twisted a key; unlocked one; then another. Each was lined with a pad of deep crimson velvet; in each lay jewels— bracelets, necklaces, rings, tiaras, ducal coronets; loose stones in glass shells; rubies, emeralds, pearls, diamonds. All safe, shining, cool, yet burning, eternally, with their own compressed light.
Firstly, the writer uses asyndetic listing ‘steel safes, five, no, six of them, all of burnished steel’ to portray his passion for what ‘the panelling’ is ‘slowly’ unveiling. The deliberate dismissing of conjunctions in his list really showcases how out of breath he is and how he cannot contain his nervousness and excitement; as well as he doubtfulness, he is only just processing what he is seeing: it allows the reader feel as if they’ve just ran a marathon or as if they’ve been caught stealing the queen’s crown jewels and the writer makes it sound as if he’s gasping for air. Furthermore the adjective ‘steel’ not only reveals to the reader how valuable the contents inside the safe are but perhaps it could’ve been used to illustrate that the jewels were stolen revealing something hidden and sinister about the character this can be inferred from the fact that ‘steel’ is a homophone of steal. The sibilance allows the person reading the text to imagine gas hissing. Gas is transparent and sounds evil, almost like the character is secretly evil or almost like the jewels are covertly malevolent the writer has done this deliberately giving the text the dramatic flair it needs to make the reader gasp in awe- linking back to the fact that he is trying to make us feel out of breath.
Towards the end of the text he says the jewels are ‘all safe’ is he trying to imply they are secure? Or is he referring to the safe? The adverb ‘all’ blatantly tells us the entirety of the prised possessions are secure; a motif of defence is recurring throughout the extract perhaps trying to make the person reading feel trapped, placing a metaphorical barrier around them not making them feel safe but in danger- this suggests that the writer secretly dreads the idea of valuable things like jewels- they make him feel as if he is danger despite them being so beautiful making some feel secure and lucky. Again, the adverb ‘all’ really reveals to us that the totality of them make him feel like this. Later, the jewels are known to be ‘burning eternally, with their own compressed light’ the verb ‘burning’ triggers our senses: makes us imagine something burning to blackness, makes us smell something slowly sweltering, links back to the idea of hissing gas, creates a rage inside us make us sense the jewels aren’t ‘all safe’ but a real danger to us. Secondly, the adverb ‘eternally’ highlights the jewels will never stop the ‘burning’ like in hellfire. The religious imagery places us in hell straight away- the possessions are sinister allowing the reader to feel as though he is a sinner despite jewels having connotations of beauty, treasure, and wealth. The idea of gems and hell contrast like light and darkness- the image of light and darkness is carried from the use of the verb ‘burning’ the place is left to rest in darkness despite it containing the glowing gemstones. Dark overpowers light- writer has done this to really showcase the sinful nature of the character and to make the reader feel like they are doing something wrong (sinning) by reading his story, when in reality they’re not. Perhaps this has been done to show how wealth, the jewels, are the root to all evil as they have managed to manipulate us into thinking we are the villains ourselves.