Tag Archives: absence of silence

Detail in Whose Body

“Mr. Parker was a bachelor, and occupied a Georgian but inconvenient flat at No. 12A Great Ormond Street, for which he paid a pound a week. His exertions in the cause of civilization were rewarded, not by the gift of diamond rings from empresses or munificent cheques from grateful Prime Ministers, but by a modest, though sufficient, salary, drawn from the pockets of the British taxpayer. He awoke, after a long day of arduous and inconclusive labour, to the smell of burnt porridge. Through his bedroom window, hygienically open top and bottom, a raw fog was rolling slowly in, and the sight of a pair of winter pants, flung hastily over a chair the previous night, fretted him with a sense of the sordid absurdity of the human form…” (44)

Unlike the contents of other modernist writings we have read, where much is omitted for the reader to figure out, or make their own assumptions of, Sayers’s book “Whose Body?” if very much detail oriented. In contrast, “The Jolly Corner” had descriptions that were meant to make the reader think more. The most descriptive moments in James’s story was in the silence, when nothing was said or told. Sayers uses a plethora of words to make the reader think more. As a mystery novel, the reader is prompted to read more into the words than into the silence. Her detailed descriptions do well to make the reader think.