|Issue Number: CD-001||
Price: 1 d
Mr Dickens and Sentences and Punctuation.
'Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand
at the grind-stone, Scrooge! a squeezing,
wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and
sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire;
secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within
him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek,
stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue and spoke out
shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his
eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always
about with him; he iced his office in the dogdays; and didn't thaw it
one degree at Christmas.'
Just look at the long sentences that Mr Dickens uses. This habit is not like modern writers of the 20th Century. There are only five sentences in the whole passage.
It can make the writing hard to read and can put people off trying. Once you know this is what to expect there are ways that you can make it easier.
The long and COMPLEX sentences that he uses make you feel Scrooge is a difficult and complicated person to know.
Mr Dickens uses punctuation in different ways to us in the modern age, too. Look at the exclamation mark after Scrooge (!). You'd expect the sentence to end, but no, it carries on with a small 'a'. The effect of this on the reader is to make the name Scrooge really stand out.
The unpleasant descriptions listed together like this instead of short sentences as modern writers might do is to make the reader aware that Scrooge is an all-round nasty person without one pleasing habit about him at all. Reading it aloud makes you breathless.
What modern ways can you think of for making lists?