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McTeague by Frank Norris

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    In the passage, McTeague is described as one who desires to achieve his dream by having a job as a dentist that bargains for his tools to characterize him as a cheap and idealistic person. The author uses a condescending and sarcastic tone in the passage to show the narrator’s attitude. The narrator’s attitude toward McTeague is somewhat insulting but wavers throughout the passage. The narrator talks down to McTeague and the attitude of superiority emerges.

    Described as “young giant” who is “six feet three inches” tall, McTeague seems to have a feeling of superiority because the narrator hints that he is a ver simple man with low ambitions. Using imagery and metaphors, the narrator shows how masculine and strong McTeague is but also shows that he lack intelligence. “Immense”, “muscle”, “enormous”, hard”, and “angular” are words the author used to describe McTeague’s physical attributes. Through the first half of the passage, the author was focused more on his appearance and look than his personality.

    This shows McTeague is a person in vain, who is judge by his looks or on how his looks reflect who he is. “McTeague’s mind was as his body, heavy, slow to act, sluggish. ” This quote shows that the author describes McTeague’s physical characteristics mirroring his actions. The narrator’s attitude toward McTeague changes from superiority to assertive power. “Altogether he suggested the draught horse, immensely strong, stupid, docile, obedient. ” The author uses words like “obedient” and “docile” to show that McTeague is dependent and controlled which is much similar of inferiority.

    Also the word “stupid” shows the unpleasant tone the narrator is using. As the passage reaches toward the end, the superiority attitude of the narrator emerges and so does the true character of McTeague. “When he opened his dental parlors, he felt that his life was a success, that he could hope for nothing better. ” In this quote, McTeague has opened his own dental business called “Dental Parlors” and the narrator shows that he is not a ambitious person and that McTeague is happy with what he has got right now.

    But then the narrator shows that McTeague can only this much in his life even though he has dreams that are more that what he has done, “But as yet such a thing was far beyond his means. ” The author’s choice of words showed the narrator’s attitude. The narrator’s attitude grew harsh toward McTeague. The narrator refused to show the good in what McTeague has accomplished in life but showed how he is inferior. The author has shown his unpleasantness toward McTeague through the use of imagery, diction, detail and tone.

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    McTeague by Frank Norris. (2016, Dec 12). Retrieved from

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