Brooklyn, New York by Louis Kahn
The narrative is an architectural speech given by Louis Kahn as identified within the story during his visit to a graduation ceremony that rewards him with an honorary award. The story is set in Maryland and begins with a descriptive introductory paragraph that acquaints the reader to the given ceremony. Kahn’s style of writing enhances the reader interaction through various literary devices and style of writing that make the article interesting. First hand narration is used in the publication as marked by phrases like ‘I’, ‘me’, and ‘myself’ and this imparts a level of realism in the narrative as the writer is enabled to table his thoughts and feelings with regard to the topic of discussion. The narrator uses a casual tone that specifically addresses the reader informally as ‘you’ enhancing the concentration and interrelation level. Amplification of the narrative’s casualness is also noted using the contracted word form like don’t, doesn’t and what’s. The thoughts and ideas presented in the story are broken and intermittent in nature, necessitating the reader’s attentiveness and critical thinking aspects for comprehension. Additionally, they are a reflection of the gradual plot development in the story marked by the discussion stages.
The narrative comprises of ambiguous statements and relative standpoints that infuse a dramatic effect on the story. For instance, the author asserts, “everything was started in one way at the same time. It was at no time, either; it was just simply there” (Kahn, 1973, p.91). The statement appears to be confusing initially, but with deeper reflection, it attains sense and the dramatic effect is compromised. Kahn employs this aspect quite extensively in the story challenging the reader’s conclusions to overcome personal bias that is implied within leading statements. Interestingly, this aspect imparts an intellectual element in a rather informal discussion creating a balance in the story. Personification is also used to attain a dramatic effect through the element of humor as the narrator precisely creates in the dialogue between a brick and an architect. Humor is also noted in light phrases like “when you copy you really die twenty deaths” (Kahn, 1973, p.89). By the irony in the statement, death occurs only once in a person’s lifetime. The author uses humor to overcome the element of monotony, which is notably prevalent in narratives that employ the style of ambiguity and repetition.
Repetition is widely used in the narrative, almost on a sentence basis, to complement the ambiguity aspect. The frequency of the repetition is very high as instanced in an example like “I felt, first of all, very joyous. I felt that which joy is made of. And I began to realize that joy in itself must have been the impelling force…that somehow joy was in every ingredient of our making” (Kahn, 1973, p.89-90). The dual effect evidenced in the use of the repetition device is that it creates constructive emphasis in the text while at the same time imparting a negative element of irritation, especially towards the end of the story. The musicality achieved by repetition is enhanced by both end and internal rhymes creating harmony in the narration. Inversely, cacophonic sounds that create conflicting resonance are used to break this harmony to achieve drama that overcomes a linear discussion format that would be boring. A cyclical pattern marked by rising and falling actions ensures that the reader’s interest is maintained during out the story.
Kahn’s (1973) statements, “I discovered something” (p. 89), “this is where design comes in” (p. 92), “when you’re making something” (p.97) and “the architect’s job” (p.100) are cleverly disguised subheadings written in capital letters as guiding structures in the discussion. They are intentionally used in the document to overcome the aspect of irritability. The statements act as guidelines to impatient readers that may be adversely affected by the repetition device opting to identify the writer’s main arguments from the thesis statement formulated to ensure that the dissuasion objectives are realized. In conclusion, the narrative is very appealing and interactive enhancing the reader’s interests.
Kahn, L. (1973). Brooklyn, New York. The Yale Architectural Journal, 19, 89-100.