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English Module 9 Assignment - The Setting Sun and the Rolling World Analysis

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Alex Gust

on 14 November 2012

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Transcript of English Module 9 Assignment - The Setting Sun and the Rolling World Analysis

Themes Some of the interesting themes in the story are the airplane, and dust. The airplane in the short story symbolizes modernity, helping the author communicate the idea that the pull of a new, modern way of life is powerful and will ultimately—no matter how painful to its keepers—usurp old traditions. When Mungoshi first introduces the reader to the airplane he does so through Old Musoni’s perspective, describing it as a “white speck” and as a “white metal bird” Old Musoni’s negative reaction to this symbol of modernity and his inability or unwillingness to call this example of modern technology by name highlights his fear and rejection of new ways. Mungoshi also uses dust symbolically to emphasise that misunderstanding between generations often gives rise to conflict. The author uses the word dust twice when describing the father’s eyes: “Old Musoni raised his dusty eyes” and “There was a spark in the old man’s eyes…but just as quickly as dust settles over a glittering pebble revealed by the hoe, so a murkiness hid the gleam in the old man’s eye”. In both instances, the mention of dust reflects the father’s inability to see clearly. Given the common association between dust and old things, perhaps the author is suggesting that Old Musoni’s view of the situation is outdated. Perhaps the father is too old and too committed to tradition to see that moving away and creating a new life is something that his son must do. Plot The plot of the story doesn't seem very deep at first: it doesn't consist of much but the old man having a conversation with his son. But if one looks deeper, they find that there is a very deep plot, with multiple layers: the old man and his dislike of everything modern, the son with his embracing of modern technology, the ongoing arguments between the father and the son, and the final agreement of the father to allow his son to leave, with his blessing, This is the climax, and it's also the resolution of the entire story. Summary An old man, not wanting to adapt to the modern world, tries to keep his son, a young man that embraces modern living, from leaving home to make his own way in the world. He finally gives his consent to the son leaving, through one final conversation, and sends his son off with a blessing and tells him that he will always have a home. Characters The reaction that Musoni has to the airplane is one of disdain. This reaction allows Mungoshi to establish a contrast between a traditional life and a modern one. To complete the contrast, Mungoshi describes Nhamo’s reaction to the plane as positive. Mungoshi presents the airplane as a symbol of modernity, contrasts his characters’ reaction to it, and ultimately has the character who perceives the airplane positively get his way, thus allowing him to illustrate the idea that the allure of a modern way of life will ultimately cause old traditions to fade into the sunset. By making the platform on which Nhamo and Old Musoni disagree dusty, the author emphasises that both of his characters’ understanding of each other is obscured. They are seeing each other through dusty lenses and cannot understand why the other feels so strongly for a certain way of life. Nhamo doesn’t understand why Old Musoni is so concerned about him and the potential mistakes he might make and Old Musoni does not understand why Nhamo would want to leave. The dusty setting symbolizes both characters’ clouded view of each other and helps Mungoshi point out the conflict that can arise between generations when misunderstandings are not resolved. Point of View and Title Analysis The point of view in this story is that of a third person, with slight inside-character looks when we need to see inside of people's thoughts. The point of view works well for this story, as we can now see both sides of the conflict, with each of their specific arguments. We can also see the flaws and values of each character. The title's significance comes from the fact that although the world is constantly changing, be aware that the sun will always set. Also, the sun may be setting on the old ways of life. The world's constant change is signified by 'the Rolling World' because the world rolls much like the sea, with constant currents, but also with rogue winds and eddies that drag us ever deeper and farther away from the main current. 'Echo' This picture, for me, symbolizes this entire story. It shows a setting sun, and a world underneath that constantly changes, ever a new peak on the mountain. an analysis by Alex Gust The Setting Sun and the Rolling World note: I tried to write in a less-formal style, as a personal challenge.
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