Essay on Sensory Images in the Visitor

Essay on Sensory Images in the Visitor

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Gibbon Ruark's "The Visitor" takes place in the home of a married couple on an early October morning. The couple have called a blind piano tuner to tune their piano. After fixing the piano and claiming that the couple was lucky to have fixed the piano now, the blind man requests that someone play the piano. The wife plays the piano, and the piano tuner eventually leaves, although he leaves an impact on the house: the entire afternoon is filled with music and eventually, the night arrives. There is initially silence, until the couple's cat hits a key of the piano, and causes the narrator to have a lucid dream. Ruark makes the reader feel fulfilled at the ending of the poem through the narrator's new awareness of his senses. By establishing this feeling, he illustrates that merely relying on sight is almost the same as being blind: that all senses must be utilized in order to gain happiness.
Senses are primarily emphasized and are seen throughout the first section of the poem. Although the "blind" (1) visitor is first seen as dependent and "holding the arm of his helper" (1), Ruark emphasizes that the blind man's lack of sight is not a hindrance: he is a "piano tuner" (2), which seemingly requires sight. Ruark has already produced an oxymoron, capturing the interest of the reader, while simultaneously illustrating that the blind man has overcome an obstacle. The similar sounds and location of blind and "finds" (3) illustrate likewise that the blind man is not impaired and that he can still function without sight. Moreover, while the blind man "hesitates" (3) at first, once he locates the keyboard, his hands "glide" (4) over the piano keys. Ruark emphasizes that the man is fluidly, confidently, and masterfully touching the piano k...


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...piness through the use of his other senses. At the conclusion of this poem, I felt as if the narrator had gone through a small journey, in which he developed his own senses and is now in control of them. The comparison between blindness and lucidity at the beginning and end of the poem also reverberates within me as a simplified example of how the narrator changed over time, essentially making me feel fulfilled and satisfied at the end of the poem.
At the conclusion of the poem, the narrator is finally aware of his other senses and does not merely rely on sight. Through this new-found awareness, Ruark forms a feeling of satisfaction within the reader, and through this feeling, he emphasizes that solely relying on the sense of sight is comparable to being blind and that once the other senses are utilized and developed as well, only then can happiness be achieved.

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