Description and Deception

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Ah hah! Another twist ending! I actually enjoyed this short story except for the lengthy description in the beginning. I understand its purpose and it was very well done, but it was so long. If it were a video clip/visual beginning, it would have been just fine, but I found myself skimming most of it, unable to remember any real facts.

Today's writers get to the action quicker. Perhaps this is because people don't read as much and aren't as open to the slow-paced novel. Editors say to get to the action first and then perhaps fill in all that background information.

As for the first stranger, the man by the chimmney, he was comendable. The descriptions and the song, helped bring up his bravery and forces the reader to like him even though his the most shady character with eyes "peeping in at the door" (337).

My opinion of him was further impacted when his brother says of him "and jammed close to him, so that he could not have got out if he tried, was the executioner who'd come to take his life, singing a song about it and not knowing that it was his victim who was close by, joining in to save apperances. My brother looked a glance of agony at me, and I know he meant, 'Don't reveal what you see; my life depends on it'" (339).

 OSR

5 Comments

Carissa Altizer said:

The beginning seemed to drag on for so long that I became frustrated with the story very quickly. After the strangers entered the party and Hardy began to use dialogue I started to like it better. Long descriptions of scenery lose me very quickly. We're both products of a high speed generation when it comes to jumping in at the action of the story.

Dave said:

I also tend to get bored by lengthy descriptions, but it didn't seem too bad here. That's most likely a result of spending much of today reading "The Scarlet Letter." Which by comparison makes reading Hardy seem terse, and to the point.

Aja Hannah said:

Ugh "Scarlet Letter" was tough. I read it in 10 or 11th grade. The only thing I remember is the beginning with the roses and her stepping out of the jail and then same A appearing in the sky later after someone died or something like that.

You're right though. I didn't find the tail end of the description so hard after I used to it, but the beginning I could just not picture even though he wrote it well. I was just too sick of words.

Jessie Krehlik said:

I found myself thinking back to my old AP 11 English class while I was reading this...It reminded me of Washington Irving's stories. Like in Sleepy Hollow...he spent half the time writing this huge description that, I felt, actually took away from the story. Having said that, I definitely enjoyed this a lot more than I ever enjoyed Irving. But then again, the dialogue in this short story really picked the story up once the 2nd stranger arrived. When I started reading this, I just remember thinking, ugh, this story is going to drag...but it actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I still don't think that description at the beginning was all that necessary...It was so boring that I honestly don't remember what it said in the first place...

Dave said:

I feel that the description at the beggining is kind of necessary to lull us into the sense of the mundane. Up until the strangers arrive, everythings supposed to be kinda boring, and normal. By first joining the regular activities, before the strangers arrive, it helps to make sure the reader identifies with the hosts, rather than the strangers and shares their viewpoint to some degree.
This said, the same could probably have been accomplished with far less words.

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