The Canon

Lucia Duncan '99 (English 27, Spring 1997)

Wole describes the Canon as both superhuman and human. The Canon is physically imposing-- he is a "giant figure" who stoops to pat a little boy on the head. Parts of the Canon's body are large and encompassing. He has an "endless smile", "enormous shoes", and a "vast bottom". Wole observes that a woman's hand vanishes, enclosed in the Canon's. At the same time, Wole notices that the clothing worn by the Canon is ill-fitting and diminishes his presence. His jacket and trousers are too small, and his hat "squashed his giant figure". Wole struggles to reconcile the Canon's seemingly opposing physical traits. He wishes for a more stable and consistent appearance. Not only does this passage tell us about the Canon, it reveals to the reader the thought process that Wole uses in understanding the world. He is keenly perceptive of physical characteristics and from these attempts to construct meaning. This is not always easy. For example, Wole is unsure whether the Canon's forehead crease is a sign of pleasure or headache.

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