Analysis Of Bel Air

Analysis Of Bel Air
In the essay ?Bel Air: The Automobile As Art Object;? Daniel L Guillory uses a combination of narrative and expository writing as a way of showing his audience the connection between an icon, which in his case is a 1958 Chevy Bel Air, and the effect that it can have on a person.
Guillory starts off the essay with narrative writing. He is telling his audience about how he was in Illinois when he came across a flea market. He saw a 1929 Ford Model A, but the price was too high for him. The farmer told him that his friend was selling a 1958 Chevy Bel Air up the road. So Guillory went and looked at the car, and ended up buying it.
By starting this essay with narrative writing he captures the reader?s attention, especially the readers with the same literary repertoire. This is what happened in my case. I have a certain fascination for cars, so when I noticed it was about a car it just grabbed my attention and kept it.
Guillory then goes into expository writing. He compares his 1958 Chevy Bel Air to ?every man?s space ship,? and he relates it to a space ship because the year before the car was made Sputnik was launched. He than says, ?Eisenhower was enclosed safely in the White House, Elvis was king, and the Cold War was turning icy-hot, as suggested by the Civil Defense Conelrad logo on the radio dial.? Just looking at this car brought him back memories of what was happening at the time the car was made. Then he says, ?I dimly understood that by possessing this car I was retrieving part of my past and?through a kind of Proustian logic?expanding my present.? In order to understand the term used in this sentence you need to be familiar with the French author Marcel Proust. In his novel, Remembrance of Things Past, the narrator eats a piece of cake that takes him back to his childhood. So the term Proustian is when an object has the power to take us back to the past.
I know how this experience feels. My first car was a blue 1994 Hyundai Elantra gls. I loved that car. I would pamper it with the best gas, the best oil; and I would wash it once a week. I would go everywhere with my car. Then one day on my way to work, the unthinkable happened, I got into a car accident. The car was destroyed. The air bag came out, the axle broke in two pieces, the windshield was cracked, and the hood was bent all the way to the windshield. Now every time that I am driving and I see a Hyundai Elantra it reminds of the good times with my first car, and all the fun I had with it.
Guillory also shows the connection between car mechanic and rhetoric. He does this by making the statement:
In their view, everything on a car behaved according to immutable principles of logic and right reason. If anything malfunctioned on the car, there was always an exact and assignable cause for the problem. Unlike the world of men and ideas, where reality was surrounded by a nimbus of confusion and doubt, the system of the automobile obeyed laws of a Platonic and Newtonian kind.
I began to appreciate the subtle meshing of one part to another and the larger coherence of whole systems of parts?Precise articulation was the goal here as in the teaching of rhetoric.
What he means by this is that certain rules or laws govern all parts of a car, just as rules and laws govern rhetoric. For example, you must have punctuation marks in your writing, for if you don?t there is no point in reading it for it will not be understandable. In a car you must you must have water or Anti-freeze in your radiator, for the reason that if you don?t your engine will break and you will not be able to get to your destination.
He ends this essay with a narrative paragraph. In his final paragraph he takes us back to the beginning of the essay, because he again is looking to purchase another car, a blue 1965 Chevrolet Corvair. He says, ?I?ll incline my head gently toward the car and make him an offer he can?t refuse.?

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