"Luck" by Mark Twain_
Mark Twain is one of the most important figures of American life and generally of American culture. By invisible threads he is connected with the process of his country's development, with its national peculiarities and social contradictions and this deep contact goes through the whole of his creation.
One of his short stories named "Luck" centers round a man who had a success to be born lucky and then it helped him to get to the top of the tree. That's why the subject matter of the story is a role of luck in a human life.
The story made an impression on me to have taken place in real life and the use of proper names and some historical facts contribute to this realistic effect:
Woolwich, London, the Crimean battlefield, the Crimean war, the Russian army.
And the detail that the author withheld the real name and titles of the main character gives the reader the idea that such a person exists in the history.
From the very beginning the major character Lieutenant-General Lord Arthur Scoresby is portrayed by the author as a very prominent person and he conveys this idea using a synonymic row: "illustrious, renowned".
Generally, the first paragraph of the story describes the significance of the main character, his sublimity over other common people. That is the purpose why the author adheres to periphrases: a demi-god.
Besides, the reader grasps the idea about the narrator's attitude towards this man. This is admiration and worship, so deep and sincere that no more was required to the narrator but to keep silence and have a chance to see this person.
The use of a synonymic row: "scanning, searching, noting" and repetition with polysyndeton "to look, and look and look" - demonstrates the attitude. Moreover, describing the qualities of the major hero the narrator adheres to abstract nouns with a very positive connotation which create an image of a very pleasant and respected person: "the quietness, the reserve, the noble gravity, the simple honesty".
To say more, Scoresby was so unassuming and modest, that couldn't realize his greatness, and to underline this fact the author makes use of anaphoric repetition: "the sweet consciousness of his greatness, unconsciousness of the hundreds of eyes, unconsciousness of the worship".
These stylistic devices and also the use of epithets "noble, simple, deep, loving, sincere, admiring, sweet" help to arouse in the reader the same feelings, emotions, attitudes that the narrator has. But on the other hand, the image of Scoresby seems rather ideal, hyperbolized that can make us suspend, doubt its reality.
And really the author destroys all our illusions concerning this man with the words "Privately - he's an absolute fool", which sound as anticlimax. But we are inclined to believe them as the author convinces us that it's true. The choice of words contributes to this effect: "a man of strict veracity…and his judgment of men was good, beyond doubt or question".
So according to the Reverand's words Scoresby is the embodiment of stupidity which under some lucky circumstances can seem to be genius and exceptionality, rareness.
On the one hand, the narrator demonstrates a correct, true image of Scoresby. The use of synonyms helps to bring the idea out: "stupidity, ignorance"; the repetition: "he didn't know anything"; ordinary repetition of a word "blunders"; periphrases "a wooden-head, this immortal fool, the supremest ass".
But on the other hand his stupidity was compensated by a great deal of luck that it shocked the Reverand who knew Scoresby's abilities exactly, and he couldn't believe this fact. The use of anaphoric repetition: "he went through with flying colors on examination day, he went through on that purely superficial cram" - contributes to describing that emotional state of the Reverand.
With the same purpose the author makes a choice of words: "it was made reel".
He couldn't believe that a person can be so lucky in life because it looked rather incredible. The author brings this to the reader's notice using antithesis "by some strangely lucky accident - an accident not likely to happen twice in a century" and using epithet "this phenomenal and astonishing luckiness".
We can say that the character of Scoresby enjoys the sympathy of the Reverand and the reader. At the beginning the narrator says about him, using epithet "He was evidently good and sweet and lovable and guileless". And the use of polysyndeton contributes to the effect that nothing negative can be said about this person. The narrator repeats this sentence at the end of the story and we grasp that his attitude towards Scoresby didn't change at all.
Such a person can arouse only a feeling of pity, a desire to help him, to support and the Reverand wasn't an exception. He even tries to justify his actions by these feelings: "it was exceedingly painful to see him, a harmless act of charity, I resolved to make his death as easy as I could".
But at the same time he felt guilty and miserable and the allusion to Frankenstein completely explains his emotional state: he felt as if he created a human creature dangerous for other people and that country.
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