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D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson Writing Styles in On Growth and Form

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Allusion

Thompson draws on any number of familiar events, characters, or concepts to illustrate his ideas to make them clearer for the reader. In one particular instance, for example, the author makes reference to Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels in his discussion of similitude. The principle of similitude, based on the idea that "in similar figures the surface increases as the square, and the volume as the cube, of the linear dimensions" is compared to an instance in Swift's Lilliput:

His Majesty's Ministers, finding that Gulliver's stature exceeded theirs in the proportion of twelve to one, concluded from the similarity of their bodies that his must contain at least 1728 [or 12 to the third power] of theirs, and must needs be rationed accordingly.

In the footnotes following the passage, Thompson also cites that Gulliver had "a whole Lilliputian hogshead for his half-pint of wine: in the due proportion of 1728 half-pints, or...

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This section contains 721 words
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On Growth and Form from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.