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Transcript of The Censors
A man joins a mail censoring facility to intercept his own letter. As he is promoted up the levels his personality changes and when he intercepts his own letter, he reports himself and suffers the consequences.
It is a country built on paranoia and fear.
The story uses a full circle ending structure, starting at the end and rewinding before progressing chronologically again. It catches the reader's interest, drawing them in, and shows the steady shift in his morals as the story continues.
The setting makes the story seem more realistic because these events were actually occurring at this time period. The setting also displays the paranoia.
Key Character Development
Juan develops throughout the story because in the beginning, he opposed the government and in the end he was helping them and his motive of joining the mail censoring facility had changed. At first he had joined to intercept his letter, but he ended up turning himself in.
Author of The Censors
Juan lives in a country where the government screens everything they do, say, and write.
Juan usually has his guard up, works at Censors secret command.
Power can change people’s morals and personalities.
Developing Main Ideas
In the beginning, “He applied simply to intercept his letter.” He starts out wanting to simply cover up his mistake. Towards the end, “He was about to congratulate himself for discovering his true mission.” He was proud of himself, believing he now had some sort of benevolent power that was beneficial to all.
Foreshadowing and Flashback
The foreshadowing, like when Juan turns in his colleague, shows the readers that his motives have changed.
Mystery, Tension, and Surprise
Readers were surprised when Juan turned in his colleague- it was the turning point when we realized that all was not sunny in paradise.
“...sabotage the machinery and throw sand in its gears...” (Analogy)- This is particularly effective in painting the image of taking down the government.
“...he felt he had climbed a rung in the ladder.” (Metaphor)- It shows just how much his priorities have changed.
“...his letter...was probably floating around in this one.” (Imagery)- It gives a view of how many letters he would have to sort through to find his.
“His basket for censored letters became the best fed." (Personification)- It shows the extreme to which he has changed, he's now the government's best censor.
The author has a very satirical tone throughout the story, subtly making fun of Juan and his short journey.
Magical Realism Elements
Juxtaposition- comparing his intentions to his end results. “Soon his work became so absorbing that his noble mission blurred in his mind. Day after day he crossed out whole paragraphs in red ink, pitilessly chucking many letters into the censored basket.”
Accepting something not normal- dealing with the government's extreme censorship: “These things happen the minute you’re careless, as one often is.”
Hyperbole: The author uses a lot of satirical hyperbole to emphasize the abnormality and ridiculousness of the situation: "...he was shocked by the subtle and conniving ways employed by people to pass on subversive messages; his instincts were so sharp that he found by a simple 'the weather's unsettled' or 'prices continue to soar' the wavering hand of someone secretly scheming to overthrow the government. "
Relation to Allende's Argument
The author wrote this story to display the lengths the government would go to “protect” its citizens when in actuality, they were only censoring letters to protect themselves. This relates to Allende’s argument because she said authors write to explain their reality because people might not believe it otherwise.
Life of Pi
They helped us to see more directly the elements of the magical realism genre like hyperbole, vibrant details, etc, that we had read about already. It put things in a context we could more tangibly visualize.
1. What theme did we identify for The Censors?
2. How did The Censors relate to Writing as an Act of Hope?
3. What elements of figurative language were identified?
4. What three magical realist elements were named? (Or, what elements did you discover that weren't named here?