Sixty Lights: a Close Analysis

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A close analysis of a text’s language devices and meaning rewards the reader with an extensive insight into the texts key themes and ideas. The novel “Sixty Lights” by Gail Jones explores the life of Lucy Strange and the people whom she encounters. Jones constructs Lucy Strange and as an intelligent and modern character. Even though the novel is clearly set in the definite historical time and place of the Victorian era, the characters and ideas are represented through modern thoughts. Such contemporary thoughts include the idea that imagination is much more than an image or a “mental” photograph, but a portal to another place that allows it’s creator to entirely experience it. A simple image encaptures the two dimensional appearance of a moment in time. Imagination, however, is a tool that allows a person to transport themselves entirely to the place of their own desire or creation. It enables them not to simply observe an image they form, but to experience it. This reading is established from my close analysis of the text’s descriptive language and imagery. In chapter 46, Lucy describes how she was “at night... assailed by imaginings of her own inner body.” Her dreams were not simply visions, they were real and tangible experiences that affected her so much that they physically attacked her. The use of the verb “assailed” instead of “she viewed her imaginings”, or “her imaginings flashed at her”, emphasise how imagination is not simply a visually devised mental image. A person “feels” the place they imagine, they do not simply “observe” it. A photograph, on the other hand, only frames the visual aspect of a moment. This is shown by the author’s use of descriptive language in chapter 47 where Lucy describes the photograph she is taking. The terms used to describe the photo are visual terms. Simple straightforward colours, such as “brown” “purple” and “blue” are

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