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Professor Mia Alvarado
26 September 2016
In Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder , Kidder utilizes imagery in his nonfiction book to appeal to the reader's imaginative sympathies. This imagery allows readers to envision the life of Deogratias as he escapes the genocide in Burundi , while inciting a multitude of emotions in the readers such as fear, revulsion, resentment, sympathy, and so on. Kidder indulges in many different forms of imagery; visual, olfactory, and auditory for example . These imageries are evident throughout the book and the y are the most memorable passages for the readers because the readers will likely find themselves feeling the most during these sections.
Kidder's usage of imagery allows readers to envision, to their limited capability, what Deo's life was like as described in the book. Immediately , the readers conclude , through the imagery provided in the first few chapters, that Deo is escaping Bujumbura, Burundi which was currently being depicted in his mind as h ell.
"In the spring of that year, violence and chaos governed Burundi. To the west, the hills above Bujumbura were burning. Smoke seemed to be pouring off the hills, as the winds of mid-May carried the plumes of smoke downward in undulating sheets, in the general direction of the airport . . . Burundi had become hell" (Kidder 4).
In this passage Kidder is using visual imagery to describe what Deo is seeing. The readers may feel a sense of loss for Deo because the place he once called home is undergoing massive turmoil while being burnt to the ground. It is easy to feel a sympathetic connection towards Deo in this moment because one could only imagine what it is like to lose not just one's house but the whole country.
Similarly, in this next passage Kidder's imagery stimulates the readers to not only imagine losing one's home but one's family as well. "When the flight started to board, the whole bunch around this boy began weeping and wailing. The young man was wiping tears from his eyes as he walked toward the plane. Probably he was just going away on a trip. Probably he would be coming back soon. In his mind Deo spoke to this young man: ‘ You are in tears. For what? Here you have this huge crowd of family. ' . . . He thought that if he were as lucky as that boy and still had that much family left, he wouldn't be crying. For that matter, he wouldn't be boarding planes, leaving his country behind " (Kidder 6).
This passaged contained auditory and visual imagery and these two together really help wrap up the scene of Deo at the airport observing this family separation. The readers may feel sorrow for the weeping wailing family because they can either relate or imagine the heartbreak one feels in saying goodbye to a loved one . Then , the readers may find themselves transition ing their feelings from the family at the airport to Deo because it is at this moment the readers come to realize that Deo didn't just lose his home but even worse, his family. This passage of imagery molds the reader's reactions to be that of insurmountable condolence for Deo and his losses.
The readers are only now merely beginning to understand the gravity of Deo's situation. Deo has no home and no family and the readers may find themselves asking what possibly could have caused all this, what went so wrong in Burundi that led to this? Another piece of the puzzle unravels in this next passage, "White skin hadn't been a marker of danger these past months . . . waking up and seeing a white person in the next seat wasn't alarming. No one called him a cockroach. No one held a machete" (Kidder 7). In this visual imagery, the readers envision Deo surrounded by white people but the only thing that incites fear in him is the color of his own skin and someone holding a machete. This depicts a very particular scene in Deo's life. This imagery allows the readers to understand that Deo fears his own people and
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