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AP English Language and Composition
Voice Lesson -- January 2
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Voice Lessons: Diction – Lesson 20

 

Consider:

 

Twenty bodies were thrown out of our wagon.  Then the train resumed its journey, leaving behind it a few hundred naked dead, deprived of burial, in the deep snow of a field in Poland.

 

n      Elie Wiesel, Night

 

Discussion Questions:

 

  1. This scene describes the transporting of Jews from Auschwitz to Buchenwald, both concentration camps in World War II.  In this selection, Wiesel never refers to the men who die on the journey as men.  Instead, he refers to them as bodies or simply dead.  How does his diction shape the reader’s understanding of the horror?
  2. How would the meaning change if we substituted dead people for bodies?

 

Apply:

 

Change the italicized word below to a word that disassociates the reader from the true action of the sentence. In other words, change it so that the reader will not feel any emotion for what is happening to the chicken.  Afterwards, briefly explain the effect of your new sentence.

 

            Fifteen chickens were slaughtered for the feast.

AP English -- Taryn Barber -- Largo High School -- 2006/2007