Sensory Images in the Visitor

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Gibbon Ruark's "The Visitor" takes place in the home of a married couple on an early October morning. The couple have called a blind piano tuner to tune their piano. After fixing the piano and claiming that the couple was lucky to have fixed the piano now, the blind man requests that someone play the piano. The wife plays the piano, and the piano tuner eventually leaves, although he leaves an impact on the house: the entire afternoon is filled with music and eventually, the night arrives. There is initially silence, until the couple's cat hits a key of the piano, and causes the narrator to have a lucid dream. Ruark makes the reader feel fulfilled at the ending of the poem through the narrator's new awareness of his senses. By establishing …show more content…
Without his dependence on sight, the blind man is able to perform and function far more effectively and beautifully than he would if he could see. From the very first lines, sight is portrayed to be nothing more than a small hindrance, as Ruark emphasizes that the blind man is able to perform well without sight. Afterward, Ruark describes three more senses: tactile, taste, and auditory. The description tactile imagery when the blind man "touches" (6) the "dusty wires" (6) and twists them "one notch tighter" (8), causing the wires to "quiver like bowstrings" (7) further underlines the lack of emphasis on sight and concentration on the other senses. Additionally, Ruark's simile of comparing the wires to bowstrings is interesting as wires are hard and sturdy while bowstrings are fine. Upon reading this, I felt as if the touch of the blind man was powerful enough to make wires into bowstrings, making him seem even more powerful. It can be inferred as well that the couple have not listened to music from their piano in a long time, evident through the dust on the wires. The lack of music suggests that the couple have neglected to employ their other senses as significantly as they employ sight. The sense of taste is present when the blind man "touches the dry / rust to his tongue" (9-10), essentially tasting the rust on the wires. Surprisingly, instead of recoiling in disgust, he "breaks into a

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