Sunrise On The Veld -Figures Of Speech- Doris Lessing

Sunrise On The Veld

Doris Lessing

-Figures Of Speech-


Crouching house (Personification)

Personification is the figure of speech in which one would describe a non-human thing with human-like attributions. A house can not sit, nor look, nor crouch for all that matters, that is why when the house is described as ‘crouching’, it is a form of personification. An example of this would be: the rain danced down the street; or “He always looked back over his shoulder at the house before he passed a wall of trees that shut it from sight. It looked so small, crouching there under a tall brilliant sky.” This is why in the context, the house is personified with the human action of crouching.

The use of this figure of speech is used accurately and articulately that it fits into the story in such a perfect way, it is almost hard to comprehend just how well Doris Lessing’s use of it is. Personification is a way to help people to feel a more connected and with that, she also gave her literary piece of art, life. Plus the fact that she chose a house to personify, I feel also has a meaning. This is the place where human often time resonate, and Lessing chose to make the house have human attributes and features, I am skeptical that this decision did not have a little to do with, irony maybe. I say that because, the very place where humans stay and spend their time, now is changing and having human abilities; the ability to crouch.


Gun in hand, prepared to kill. Yet debating whether he should end an animal’s life (Irony)

An irony is the figure of speech, where you use language that usually signifies an opposite thing, this is for either a humorous or emphatic effect. With this, the irony of having a gun, leaving the house prepared to kill, yet debating if an animal’s life should be taken by you, is a prime example of irony. He is already there. Ready to hurt and kill animals, yet cannot stop the suffering of an animal that he might have hurt in the first place.

An irony is in often cases that I have seen, used for humor. This situation though is more focusing on a more sad topic that, I feel is the perfect place to use it. Lessing used it in a way that spiked my curiosity and made me began to think about how some people’s minds work. How can one be so blatantly stupid, and okay with it? How can one stand with their gun in hand, prepared to hunt, but still wonder if they should end the suffering of an innocent animal? Lessing, I feel even used this in a way, that created and adding to selfishness and foolishness of this character.


“Grimly Satisfied” (Oxymoron)

An oxymoron is a figure of speech that is used when two dissimilar and contradictory things or words fall beside each other. Grimly satisfied is an example of an oxymoron because of the fact that Grimly means to do something in a serious, depressed or even gloomy matter; satisfied means you have done something well and it leaves you in pride or a level of contentment.

Lessing used this oxymoron in such a way that almost everyone, can understand the emotion of being grimly satisfied, it is the feeling where you might have been or done something bad, and although the bad thing is laid in front of you, you can’t help but feel not pride but content in what just took place. When an oxymoron is laid so plainly in a text such as this, it is clear that it is trying to say something about the character. Maybe it has to do with his already twisted emotion range and his character builds in general. The use of an oxymoron in this story, I think is probably something that was needed and Lessing highlighted the fact that this boy needs help.


“I could walk all day, and never tire!” (Hyperbole)

A hyperbole is a figure of speech that uses an exaggerated statement or claim that is not meant to be taken seriously. This is an example of a hyperbole because we know that he would get tired if he had walked all day and never stopped.

The use of a hyperbole in Lessing’s writing is one that is kind of hidden, because the statement comes from the boy, so it is a subjective statement and depending on if you take an inside point of view or an outsider’s perspective, this statement could count as a hyperbole or a statement that is meant to be taken seriously. I chose that, since this story is riddled with figures of speech, then this was one too. I feel that is also was used to show us his egotistical personality and how highly he thinks of himself. The fact that he thinks he could even do this, is an example of why his personality is a hyperbole of even some of the most egotistical people.


Comparing him to God (Metaphor)

A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. This metaphor is never bluntly stated but is clear to view in many scenarios. Such as when he is shouting from the rocks top, imagining that he is controlling the water, trees, the wind, all of nature, and what roams in it. He thinks he is an all-powerful being that controls everything, there is only one person that actually can do this and that is God. Another instance is when he s walking in the ants and they take no notice of him until they finish with the buck, this is like how humans don’t notice God until they have a hardship or struggle in their life.

This metaphor was definitely there, never mentioned directly, but I have a feeling that Lessing meant to put it in this piece of writing. Many might say that is not it at all and the boy is just an egotistical brat, while true he is egotistical, I definitely see this coming through in the writing. I also believe this is a subjective example because of the fact that, it is never directly stated.

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