We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Pacing and Imagery in Bukowsky’s “Dog Fight” Essay Sample

essay
The whole doc is available only for registered users OPEN DOC
  • Pages:
  • Word count: 784
  • Category: traffic

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.

Get Access

Pacing and Imagery in Bukowsky’s “Dog Fight” Essay Sample

In Charles Bukowski’s “Dog Fight” (Kirszner & Mandell, pp. 790-791), we are treated to a first-person recounting of a street race through the southern parts of Los Angeles. While the story itself is interesting and (some would say) exhilarating, it is the structure and pacing of the poem’s wording that truly gives the story excitement.

Consider the very first lines of the poem: “he draws up against my rear bumper in the fast lane, I can see his head in the rear view mirror, his eyes are blue and he sucks on a dead cigar.” While the description itself is nothing special, several elements combine to make the reader’s heart beat a bit faster and the adrenaline flow. The first, and most obvious, is the universal feeling of “road rage” we as drivers all feel at one point or another, be it on the giving or the receiving end. The situation the speaker describes would be nothing worth getting excited about were it to take place at a stop light, but this happens while the two cars are cruising at a presumed high speed down an LA freeway – a dangerous place on a good day, and at normal highway speeds, to say nothing of being challenged to a race.

The speaker continues to set a high-energy pace, with phrases like “he ups it 5 mph, I do likewise, we are a team…”, signifying their mutual acceptance in this duel of wits and engines; “I hit the blinker and fire across 3 lanes of traffic, just make the off-ramp…”, an insanely dangerous move even in the best of circumstances; and “…then I see that the parking lane is open, and I flash by inside of him and the Mercedes…”, another ridiculously dangerous (and illegal) move that displays their wanton lack of consideration for safety. These phrases and the pacing of the words leave the reader breathless, feeling their own grip on the wheel, their own eyes skittering side to side looking for the imagines pedestrian or some old truck slowly backing out of a drive. Indeed, the speaker finds himself in just such a situation, “…they make it as I power it and switch back ahead of them in their lane in order to miss a parked vegetable truck…”, himself narrowly averting certain doom.

The final quarter of the poem falls back a bit, and gives the reader a sense of watching these three cars bobbing and weaving through traffic, as from above, in a chase helicopter; the imagery called forth with “we are driving with a skilled nonchalance, we are moving in perfect anger, we are as a team, approaching LAX, 1-2-3, 2-3-1, 3-2-1” giving the impression of watching an Indy Car or NASCAR race from a safe distance, the lead positions constantly shifting, the cars moving towards one unspecified goal as if working together in a team. This delivers a powerful image to the reader to wrap up the occasion, an open-ended ending, one that ends with the dance of machinery and men moving off into the distance on a crowded highway.

One interesting trick of this poem is the speed with which the words flow, giving brief description to the driver’s surroundings or details as to how they found themselves here in the first place. All that matters here is the thrill of the chase, the speed, the rush of wind over steel, the squeal of tires against tarmac…all imagined, never spoken, but relayed to the reader quite skillfully through the shape of the scant few details we are shown in the maddening rush. Constant signs of impending dander and certain death are flashed by us: “…blasting past the front of an inflammable tanker…we veer down the ramp in separate lanes to the signal…make the green as the Mercedes and blue eyes run the yellow into the red…” While we aren’t shown the specifics of these encounters, it is enough to know that they were there, present and gone again in a flash, forgotten for the moment so that all eyes can concentrate full ahead, scanning for the next danger, the next calling of a fiery death.

The emotions and imagery called forth in “Dog Fight” are breathtaking in their speed and simplicity. It is hard to imagine that this poem could be told in any other fashion, utilizing any other combination of words and jargon to so keenly relay the sense of danger and adrenaline rush we see here. Bukowski masterfully crafts a gripping tale of road warriors dueling to a mutually-unknown victory along the open road.

REFERENCES

“Dog Fight”, Bukowski, Charles; Literature: Reding, Reacting, Writing, 7th
Ed., Kirszner & Mandell, 2011

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

The Effects of Traffic Congestion

Followed by new technology, automobile industry also developed dramatically. The cars, heavy vehicles not only came to more beautiful shapes with affordable price but also it became more popular and necessary for everyday life. Couple decades ago there were only countable cars on the road. However, in recent years traffic congestion became biggest problem in every single developed and developing country. As GIBB (2002, pg178-179)...

Kerala Traffic Rules

1. Keep Left The driver of a motor vehicle shall drive the vehicle as close to the left hand side of the road as may be expedient and shall allow all traffic which is proceeding in the opposite direction to pass on his right hand side. 2. Turning to left and right The driver of a motor vehicle shall: a) when turning to the left,...

Dissertation Proposal

Aims and Objectives Since decades, human errors and problems in air traffic control have been considered a major cause of accidents in aviation industry. In specific, communication, especially oral-based communication is one of such problems identified in different studies. In this regard, the proposed dissertation will identify and discuss different communication problems confronted in air traffic control. Moreover, the research will endeavor to provide solutions...

Traffic Congestion: Improving the Traffic Flow

Traffic congestion is a condition on road networks that occurs as use increases, and is characterized by slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular queueing. The most common example is the physical use of roads by vehicles. When traffic demand is great enough that the interaction between vehicles slows the speed of the traffic stream, this results in some congestion. As demand approaches the...

Privatisation of Indian Airlines

Wright brothers brought the popular and sustained power flights which flourished worldwide within short span of time and were further brought by the British to India, during the World war. To cater to the needs of domestic market Indian Airlines was found in the year 1953 which is the largest airlines system in Asia with a fleet of 62 aircraft’s. Since inception, Indian Airlines have...

Get Access To The Full Essay
icon
300+
Materials Daily
icon
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
icon
Free Plagiarism
Checker
icon
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access
immediately?

Become a member

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!

logo

Emma Taylor

online

Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Couldn't Find What You Looking For?

Get access to our huge knowledge base which is continuously updated

Next Update Will Be About:
14 : 59 : 59
Become a Member