Features of creative language in `That Deadman Dance’

`The try-pot floated to the shore..’…`They sang for him’

Exploring the passage from pp 272-274…author Kim Scott uses creative language features that highlight the difference between Bobby’s experience of whales and whaling to that of Chaines.

With his careful choice of words, Scott has created an oppressive feel during Chaine’s paragraphs. The texture of the words (kill, spill, grimace, harpoon) and the short, fragmented sentences are harsh and abrupt. The purpose of this creative language is to present Chaine as a man who does not see the beauty in the ocean or in the whales- he purely views this environment and the creatures within as a way to make a profit.  The rhythm Scott chooses: `rain would bucket down, spill into and spoil the oil’ helps create the pace and urgency that Chaine feels when describing the whaling procedure. Scott paints a grey and dark scene with his choice of words and structure.

In strong contrast, Bobby’s paragraphs are almost poetic and serene in their tone, even though Bobby is standing amongst the bones of previously killed whales. Scott uses the words `yellow’ and `silver’ in the first two sentences of the paragraph, which provokes an almost calm feeling despite the context. Bobby’s spiritual connection with his surroundings help promote this energy. Scott uses environmental language to develop the scene- he mentions the ocean, creeks, sunrise and wind.  Scott also lists the animals connected to the scene- not just the whales, but frogs and kangaroo.  Whereas Chaine is focused on the ocean, Bobby also notices the flowers blooming around him and the sand dunes.  Scott makes the scene come alive by the use of language when mentioning the movements of the animals ` kangaroos put their backs to the wind and their heads inland, toward the sunrise… the frogs, pulses calling’. In particular during the final  paragraph with Bobby diving into the ocean hearing the song of the whales `they sang for him’.

By using creative language Scott takes us, in the space of two pages, on a journey from darkness to light through the eyes of two completely different men in the same environment.



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