AP English Language and Composition, Period 3
06 March 2018
Jack London’s “Story of An Eyewitness” Rhetorical Analysis
Throughout all of its history, San Francisco has been one the most emblematic cities recognized around the world, as well as one that has seen many tragic events such as the earthquake of 1906, whose devastating aftermath ultimately destroyed the “Golden City” and menaced its citizenry. However, in “Story of an Eyewitness,” Jack London offers the audience a particular account of the event through the use of rhetorical devices and an extended metaphor of San Francisco’s seemingly doomed fate, painting a vivid and dramatic image of the tragedy that transcends the geographical and material destruction of the city in order to reveal the innermost loss and significance of San Francisco: its populace’s hope and virtue.
London begins his piece by reporting the facts and circumstances in which the disaster started, describing the damage caused earthquake’s fire on infrastructure to rapidly start the creation of his metaphorical approach of the event: the beginning of an impetuous invading force into the magnificent empire of San Francisco. In order to set up this image, London utilized specific connotative language such as “conflagration,” “modern imperial city,” “lurid tower,” “doom” and “retreat,” words that highly foreshadow and illustrate a military scenery in which he antagonizes the massive “conflagration” as mighty lines of enemy troops against the “imperial” and glorious “Golden City,” whose victorious fate will be threatened.
With the previous illustration established, London goes on to stage the destruction and annihilation brought by the...