Owen Marshall uses animal imagery of a camel to describe Mr Thorpe in the short story ‘Requiem in a Town House’. The use of this animal imagery through similes attracts and maintains the readers attention because it makes the reader sympathize for Mr Thorpe. The reader wants to read on to know why he is like an old camel, what has led to this and why he is viewed in this way. ‘Mr Thorpe stood helplessly by, like an old gaunt camel’, ‘like a camel whose wounded expression is above it all’. These examples of animal imagery from the text create an image of Mr Thorpe like an old camel. Camels are known to be large, awkward and slow moving, so the comparison to the elderly Mr Thorpe is a negative one. Camels are also often put on show at Zoos and such places where they live in small enclosures, much smaller than they are used to. The comparison to Mr Thorpe is demoralizing and dehumanizing to elderly people but also makes the reader feel compassion and sympathy towards him as he is living in a small house much smaller than he is used to and is confined just like an old camel. The authors purpose was to accentuate the entrapment that Mr Thorpe feels in the town house. This draws the readers attention to how elderly people are treated in society, often put to the side and their opinions ignored, decreasing their value of life.
Animal imagery is equally used in Disconnections to attract and maintain the reader’s interest through the alienation of old people, especially towards the elderly woman, the main character. The lady has just suffered from a stroke and the older she’s become her memory is fading. The doddery woman cannot support herself as she walks. Ever since the horrific stroke, she has become very sluggish. She is well aware of her family’s opinions of her welfare and it makes her feel self conscious about herself. The woman has to walk into a room where her family sits waiting for her to come in “watch her inching her wayward leg forward, an awkward...
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