Tag Archives: words

Without the Words

“Are you going to tell pa are you going to kill him? without the words I said it and he said “Why?” without the words. And that’s why I can talk to him with knowing with hating because he knows”

Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text. New York: Modern Library, 2000. Print.

This passage is very unique because of the way Faulkner uses quotation to report speech but then follows this with “without the words”. This appears to be a theme throughout, that each narrator is aware of what another is thinking without having much reported speech.

Woolf’s Language/Technique

“The Lord had shown her the way. So now, whenever the hot and painful feelings bolded within her, this hatred of Mrs. Dalloway, this grudge against the world, she thought of God. She thought of Mr. Whittaker. Rage was succeeded by calm. A sweet savor filled her veins, her lips parted, and, standing formidable upon the landing in her mackintosh, she looked with steady and sinister serenity at Mrs. Dalloway, who came out with her daughter.”

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, 1925. Print.

In this passage, Clarissa’s internal distress fuels a range of metaphors, from the “hot and painful feelings” she experiences, to the “sweet savor [that fills] her veins.” However, Woolf’s ability to emphasize emotions comes at the cost of dragging them out in text, arguably, through awkward phrasing. Really, “steady and sinister serenity”? Is that not a little much?