The imagery in the passage is focused upon the participation of the people in the fertility ritual – its effect portrays a ceremony of the utmost sacredness. In his opening, Huxley pictures, “hundreds of male voices crying out fiercely…then again the drums; and once more the men’s deep savage affirmation of their manhood.”The onset of the ritual presents the yelling of the people and the beat of drums – Huxley’s language enlivens the mood of the rite and of the people. As the ritual continues, Huxley introduces masked men, singing, and dancing to which he comments, “women had shrieked…as though they were being killed.” The excitement of the ritual rises to the point of deathly outbursts and the people are impassioned with fervor. What follows is a plethora of spiritual and animalistic symbolism: snakes are thrown amongst the people and covered in “corn meal”, performers appear from the “underworld,” and dance and sing, decorated in masks of eagles and coyotes, and a man “nailed to a cross” and an old man with the “sign of the cross” make appearance. The goal of the ritual is fertility of the land, and so the people must connect with nature to ensure the welfare of their environment. They call upon animals and imitate their visage, and pay homage to pagan and Christian faith w...
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...th the intensity of the ritual and his admiring impressions.
Huxley makes his awed reaction to the ritual apparent in his use of imagery, diction, and pacing. The overwhelming excitement and the appreciation of mood inherit in his words illustrate the importance of fertility rights to the people of the Old World and their fanatical execution of the ritual – Huxley is in short moved by the act. Compared to the New World, whose ritual is largely an erotic hoax, The Old World’s tradition is remarkable and invigorating. The deadened machines of the New World are made even more apparent when contrasted with the vital souls of the people of the Old World in revitalizing their beloved land. More abstractly, Huxley reveres a society’s preservation of meaningful traditions and values, which inspire genuine passion in people and promote a greater social consciousness.
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