Cursing, he dug sporadically here, here, as deep as his arm, and sat there quite still, eyes thirstily incredulous on his palm.
A handful of alluvial diamonds leered back, and more: mixed in the scar glinted globules of rubies, emeralds, onyx.
And then he was swimming in fire and drinking, splashing hot haloes of glittering drops at the choir of assembled carrion crows.
A solitary prospector staggered, locked in a vision of slate hills that capered on the molten horizon Working alone Isolated – no help available Arouses sympathy Exhaustion Suffering – thirst (dehydration) and heat – cannot walk properly Trapped – no possibility of escape – prisoner of thirst, heat and his obsession – cannot break out of the landscape Heat – haze/mirage Hills are dancing/melting Molten = metaphor = fire Man trapped in furnace
Waterless, he came to where a river had run, now a band flowing only in ripples of white unquenchable sand Plight: no water – exhaustion, point of collapse Normally searches for diamonds, now water New obsession = to stay alive Discovers a dry river bed IRONY? Waterless, he came to where a river had run, now a band flowing only in ripples of white unquenchable sand White = blinding colour PERSONIFICATION: sand = thirsty TRANSFERRED EPITHET: the prospector is thirsty HOPELESSNESS & FUTILITY
WHAT IS A “TRANSFERRED EIPTHET”? A rhetorical device/figure of speech in which a modifier, usually an adjective, is applied to the "wrong" word in the sentence. “restless night” The night was not restless, but the person who was awake through it was. “happy morning” Mornings have no feelings, but the people who are awake through them do. “female prison” Prisons do not have genders, but the people who are inside them do.
Cursing, he dug sporadically here, here, as deep as his arm, and sat there quite still, eyes thirstily incredulous on his palm. Swears out of frustration and anger On and off Inconsistent Lacks focus/energy No hope Occurring at irregular intervals; having no pattern or order in time. Appearing singly or at widely scattered localities, as a plant or disease. Has not found water In disbelief… IRONY: finds what he has always looked for – shock – cannot save his life
A handful of alluvial diamonds leered back, and more: mixed in the scar glinted globules of rubies, emeralds, onyx. ? Digging and sifting through mud, sand and gravel using shovels, sieves, or even bare hands. Typically, diamonds come from geologic rock formations are eroded over time by rivers and streams and can deposit diamonds in the sediments carried by those streams farther downstream from the original source rocks.. PERSONIFICATION Mocking him Will never benefit from his find Diamonds = useless Extremely rich find – totally rich find but also totally useless – cannot save his life IS HE HALLUCINATING? METAPHOR Hole in ground = wound Disfigures land – land disfigures him
And then he was swimming in fire and drinking, splashing hot haloes of glittering drops at the choir of assembled carrion crows. Participles = very effective Describe jewels/gems in terms of water Becomes what he needs in his mind…. Throws gems wildly into the air “Showers” himself with the gems Light, beauty, colour, richness Also links to sand/desert Grim, foreboding tone “carrion” = dead, rotting flesh Death is inevitable Crows waiting for him to die
THEMES What in life is valuable? The prospector risks his life to find a “strike” but he when finds it he dies from a lack of water – a daily commodity, the value of which we usually underestimate.