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The beauty of rhetoric!

Mala Arun Kumar is an English teacher at Chrysalis High, Kadugodi, Bengaluru. Teaching is her passion, and she draws energy from the boundless enthusiasm and curiosity of her students. Mala enjoys reading and a good book is her constant companion. She dabbles with writing, whenever she finds time. Her motto in life is, 'live and let live".


As a student of literature, love taking in the way a particular piece is written. For me, the work that goes into it, is something that needs to be felt. try to imagine the setting, situations, and characters, and then think about how it might have been, if the beginning or the ending were different. Literature lets you experience the joys of myriad cultures by using language that makes you feel connected to the exact emotion behind it.

One of my favourite concepts in literature is rhetoric. It shows the immense power that language has. It lets you read, experience, experiment and question. Google defines rhetoric as an 'art of persuasive writing. I would simply put all the tools and devices we use under this huge umbrella. Literary devices have a much greater function than just being used for technical purposes. They can be easily compared to the sculptor's chisel or an artist's brush, as they go a long way in pruning and shaping any written piece.

Imagine how it would be, if Shakespeare had not perfected the art of writing sonnets or if Milton had given up midway, while writing his magnum opus-The Paradise Lost. We would never have got acquainted with his epic similes and extended metaphors.

It is not just poetry where one experiences the power of rhetoric. The classics showcase this, as do the modern day writings. One can try to absorb more about this quality in literature by reading between the lines, looking at the language used and of course, the feelings that it evokes.

These lines from my favourite, The Shadow Lines', convey so much about the loss of something so precious, yet they are so economically used. "Nobody knows, nobody can ever know, not even in memory. because there are moments in time that are not knowable." -Amitav Ghosh I

This is the beauty of language. It challenges you while letting you reign in your thoughts.

I have learnt more about the world from great works which have stood the test of time and are ours to cherish and hold on to. Great literature is something that moves a part of you, chisels you and shapes you. You need not be a great writer to experience this, all you need to be is a good observer and allow yourself to soak in the bliss that it offers.


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