Contrast in "Days of Obligation" Essay

622 WordsMay 4, 20113 Pages
Contrast in “Days of Obligation” Acclaimed American author Richard Rodriquez’s autobiography “Days of Obligation” conveys that his feelings for both Mexico and the United States can be expressed through contrasts. Rodriquez uses pathos, tropes, and schemes to articulate his feelings. His purpose for writing about the contrasts between Mexico and California is to help readers understand the differences that affected his life. Rodriguez’s relationship with his literate audience is personal, since he is opening about his personal life and his views on it. In the passage, Rodriguez’s use of pathos is evident in many places. In the first paragraph alone he uses it when he states that “Mexico play the tragic part; California plays the role…show more content…
This figure of speech is seen in the fourth paragraph when Rodriguez says “I use the word ‘comedy’ here as the Greeks used it, with upmost seriousness, to suggest a world where youth is not a fruitless metaphor; where it is possible to start anew; where it is possible to escape the rivalries of the Capulets and the McCoys; where young women can disprove the adages of grandmothers.” The uses of these schemes are important in the passage because they stress emphasis on certain things that help him in explaining and conveying his feelings. Another way Rodriguez explores and conveys his conflicted feelings is with use of tropes. He uses rhetorical question, which is asking a question, not for the purpose of eliciting an answer but for the purpose of asserting or denying something obliquely. The most effective rhetorical questions in conveying his feelings is in the second to last paragraph. He questions things such as “How shall I present the argument between comedy and tragedy, this tension that describes my life? Shall I start with the boy’s chapter, then move toward more ‘mature’ tragic conclusions?” These questions help define the confusion Rodriquez faces for the reader. Through the use of pathos, schemes, and tropes, Rodriquez offers his conflicting feelings about California and Mexico. By contrasting Mexico and California with these styles of writing, he sets up
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