Franzen's Metaphorical Language Franzen’s use of metaphorical language helps his argument about the lack of privacy nowadays, especially because of the way of how he is so explicit about it. He has used much rhetoric throughout the passage which easily shows the reader Franzen’s feelings and thoughts about privacy or the lack thereof…
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“That security cameras no bigger than spiders are watching from every shaded corner” allows the reader to picture a similar situation in mind as they may not have seen cameras that small, but they must have most definitely come across the creepy crawlies. He starts off by quoting several other writers who have the same to say. It convinces the reader that since there is more than one person who thinks in a similar direction, then there must be some truth in what Franzen is saying. Thus, the reader may give a chance to what the writer has to say and maybe, by the end of the article, even agree with him. He, himself though, seems to be annoyed with the invasion of privacy. It is abhorrent to him to be reading about the personal lives of others and does not want the same to happen to him: “was that my own privacy – not Clinton’s, not Lewinsky’s – was being violated. (…) What I felt, I felt personally. I was being intruded on.” He talks about how most of us may not be much affected by the complete lack of privacy we have. “The panic about privacy has all the finger-pointing and paranoia of a good old American scare, but it’s missing one vital ingredient: a genuinely alarmed public. Americans care about privacy mainly in the abstract.” It is possible that this is because we have not been that overly distressed with the amount of our information which is out in the public. Though some may, of course, be angry over the same point as they may have been greatly negatively influenced by it. On the whole though, “privacy proves to be the Cheshire cat of values: not much substance, but a very winning smile”. The writer brings in the much famed fictional character of Lewis Caroll’s to make the comparison of what privacy really is in the life of an average human being. There is great hype over the want of it but to most really having it does not matter much. Franzen does seem to be fair though. He brings in both the sides of the arguments that privacy seems to be important to us and yet when our particular details are out in the open, it may make our lives much easier to live by. “I resent the security cameras in the Washington Square, but I appreciate the ones on a subway platform.” These cameras do take away a measure of privacy but they also help in keeping the people safe, and nobody would complain about that. In the beginning, if our private life is being watched over, it does not matter much as long as we do not “feel” it. We may be perfectly fine with strangers knowing pieces of information about us, but it is personal when someone we actually know finds out something about us. “But our respective privacies remain intact as long as neither of us feels seen.” And when anything personal about our life is plastered all over the newspapers and televisions, crying out to the world to notice and see them, then that is when we feel that the limits have been crossed. We are no longer happy with the situation of how our life seems to be a book or movie for everyone to watch or read and give their opinions about: “my disgust was of a different order, from my partisan disgust at the news that the Giants have blown a fourth quarter lead.”
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