Art Made From Words
The use of imagery in "Two Ways of Seeing a River" by Mark Twain is exceptionally powerful, giving readers a strong visual of a "majestic river." Within "In the Trenches" by Charles Yale Harrison, the imagery not only controls one's sight, it also helps one envision the sounds of trench warfare during World War One. In both selections, authors are fully capable of putting the readers into the eyes of the protagonist, yet the imagery used for both are drastically different.
Twain provides the readers with a "river [that is turning] to ...view middle of the document...
" He effectively demonstrates how a gorgeous scene can turn into a grim and unforgiving one. This is similar to Harrison's piece of writing, the people could not see war the way soldiers did. The people that are not involved in the fight views war as a terrible thing, but none of these people can truly say "so this is war."
Twain and Harrison's contrasting circumstances provide vastly different images for the readers. In Twain's essay, the Mississippi River is one of tranquility and peace, radiating a very sooth and relaxing image in the reader's mind. On the other hand, Harrison's is full of the merciless realities of the world, watching one's comrades be killed right in front of one's eyes. Not only are there vivid visual images in Harrison's selection, there are also realistic sounds of war. The firing of the minnies makes "the air scream and howl like an insane woman." However, there is no imagery that appeals the hearing in Twain's work, only the detailed descriptions of a once majestic river.
Both Twain and Harrison skillfully weave their words together to paint a splendid image in the reader's mind. Twain's essay suggests how one thing is beautiful one day and deadly another, while Harrison shows the horrors of the battlefield. The picture one gets from reading these two pieces are born from the author's talent of making paintings from words.