Life in the Iron Mills: Realistic and Sentimental Fusion

The narrator of the story uses direct address to the reader in order to manipulate the reader’s emotions with the use of sentimental language. The narrator says, “I want to tell you a story” (41.) The redundancy of informing the reader that the narrator wants to tell a story after the story has already begun is a sentimental writing technique used to reassert the importance of the story that is being told. By assuring the reader that the story is not going to waste his or her time, the narrator is attempting to manipulate the reader into believing the story through the narrator’s use of authoritative language. The narrator is attempting to achieve verisimilitude by informing the reader that there is something important that is about to be told. Therefore, when used properly, this technique achieves a reality effect by entreating the reader to believe that the story is real. In this story, the sentimental techniques are reinforced by nearly two full pages of beautiful concrete imagery that falls more firmly into the realism school of writing. The author uses phrases like: thick clammy air- Irishmen puffing Lynchburg tobacco- and black, slimy pools on the muddy streets (39.) These phrases bring the story to life in a vivid visual way, and further allow the reader to be drawn into the sentimental manipulation of the narrator’s want to tell the reader a story.

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