The English Pupil Themes

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There are a series of contrasts in the story between age and youth, present and past, death and life. Linnaeus is bitterly and painfully aware of these two sets of opposing realities, and he attempts to bridge the gap between them. The contrasts bring out the irony of Linnaeus's present condition. The aged, decrepit man was once famous for his prodigious memory, and his life's work consisted of naming and classifying things in the natural world. Now his mind is so diminished that he can barely recognize his own daughter and is confused about the identity of her companion. At the height of his powers, Linnaeus was like the Biblical Adam, who gave names to all the animals (Genesis 2:19). To name something is a sign of knowledge and power and is associated also with memory: “Nomenclature is a mnemonic art”; that is to...

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This section contains 608 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The English Pupil Study Guide
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