Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's not the words, but the interplay of them

I have read A Tale of Two Cities numerous times and have made notations up and down the margins north, south, east and west.  The reading of it always mesmerizes me with the detail and development of character, setting and connection, of what has gone and what is to come.

"Do you particularly like the man?" he muttered, at his own image. "Why should you particularly like a man who resembles you?  There is nothing in you to like; you know that.  Ah, confound you! What a change you have made in yourself!  A good reason for taking a man, that he shows you what you have fallen away from, and what you might have been? Change places with him and would you have been looked at by those blue eyes as he was, and commiserated by that agitated face as he was?  Come on, and have it out in plain words!  You hate the fellow."

Oh, poor Carton, who loves Lucie but not himself enough to push aside his determined fate.

Or Monsieur the Marquis as he travels home from Paris, just late from his most recent evil:

The Monsieur the Marquis in red
The sunset struck so brilliantly into the travelling (sic) carriage when it gained the hill-top, (sic) that its occupant was steeped in crimson.  "It will die out," said Monsieur the Marquis, glancing at his hands, "directly."

Blood not just on his hands but all over him, "steeped in crimson" and "will die out."  And so his bloodline nearly does; he certainly does and almost "directly."

I love to get lost in Dicken's flow of words, so deeply knitted together as though the whole cloth of the story was life as he moves characters in and out of the spotlight until the reader is entirely uncertain who should be followed, main character and supporting shifting places constantly, just as life works, each of us moving in and out of the limelight with the people we most care about.

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