The Five Sources of Sublimity in Emma Duffy-Comparone’s Marvel Sands

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The term “Sublime” is understood as the highest excellence of artistic expression in literature. Longinus, the author of the treatise On the Sublime, finds five important sources of sublimity: (1) the power to conceive impressive thoughts, (2) the capacity for strong emotions, (3) the appropriate use of figures of thought and speech, ( 4) nobility of diction and (5) dignity of composition.

To explain the ideas of Longinus’ On the Sublime, the recent short story by Emma Duffy-Comparone called Marvel Sands is the most applicable type of literary work that corresponds to the concept of the five sources of Sublimity.

The first source of the sublime has to do with the greatness of the writer’s thought. The use of images in this font is helpful because it helps readers understand the writer’s concepts, which may appeal to one or more of the five human senses. Various parts of the Marvel Sands passage could be classified as the way the writer shows the reader the desired image of the work, rather than telling them. And some of them are as follows: (1) using the first-person perspective when telling the story, readers experience the main character’s foolishness of leaving sand on the floor and not putting the bills in the same way on the tray and ( 2) the backdrop of seagulls and silence reveals your mature vision and reflects your world that you are still learning.

The second source of the sublime is genuine emotion. If some emotions, such as anger, require that the person of the emotion be believed to exist, even though in reality he or she does not, the author made it possible for readers to feel the intuitive feeling of the fictional character throughout the story.

The third source of the sublime is the poetic use of language. There is a line in the story where the author used a particular way of speaking called metonymy: “When I got home, I could see the television flashing blue through the living room window.”

The fourth source of the sublime is diction, which includes the choice and arrangement of words. In the Marvel Sands story, the character said the following lines: “I felt a vague laugh in my chest and I swallowed it”, “I was standing outside the cockpit, watching the storm clouds gather in the west like big bruises.” And actually looking at them, it is all too obvious that the use of style ornaments (simile and hyperbole) is the only way for the author to express her ideas through figurative language.

The last source of the sublime is the dignified and elevated ordering of the diction for the greatness of the composition. The descriptive type of storytelling shows the author’s technique of allowing readers to participate in the experiences of the characters.

This analysis leads to Longinus’ belief that “good writing does not persuade; it draws the reader out of himself.”

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