Essay on Charles Dickens' Style: Analysis of Use of Various Language Features to Create Themes and Shape the Meaning
The author uses allusions to allow the reader to indulge themselves into the story without explaining a lot of the action in a given scene. In the first paragraph of the extract, the narrator uses the words ‘shy of’ when describing Mrs. Tibbs to add emphasis on how small she felt around the people in her presence due to an incident that had happened earlier.
Furthermore, Charles uses ‘lords of creation’ to illustrate the class of people seated at the dinner table and how much respect Mrs. Tibbs has for them. Through making a reference to the assignment of Arthur Wellesley Duke of Wellington as Chancellor at the University of Oxford in the first line of the second paragraph, Charles Dickens depicts how much work was put in to get Mrs. Bloss settled in. In that very sentence, Charles hints at how chaotic and grand the activity was.
Charles Dickens uses formal diction when writing his characters’ dialogue to create a particular effect on the reader. When speaking to Mrs. Bloss, Agnes uses the word ‘ma’am’ at the end of every sentence she speaks. The term ‘ma’am’ is a polite form of address for a woman, especially one of an esteemed class. Since Mrs. Bloss is Agnes’ mistress, it is required of her to respectfully address Mrs. Bloss by referring to her as ‘ma’am’ instead of using her name.
Furthermore, Agnes uses grammatically incorrect words when talking to Mrs. Bloss, which allows the reader to know the kind of person Agnes is. In the ninth paragraph, Agnes uses a third person present tense, ‘gives,’ in a current simple tense sentence. Therefore, it is evident that her diction is not one for an educated person like Mrs. Bloss.
In this book, Charles employs fictional prose and uses ordinary language to deliver a clear and direct story. The structure of the extract is set up to build anticipation and suspense in the reader’s mind as he readies the stage for Mrs. Bloss and Agnes’s arrival at the boarding house. Additionally, through this type of form, he was able to construct reasonable and realistic speech for his characters in formal grammatical sentences. More so, the interaction between the characters of Mrs. Bloss and Agnes shows the expression of thoughts and ideology. Charles uses this technique to show the difference between Mrs. Bloss and Agnes.
Charles Dickens uses language and vivid descriptions that complement the five human senses and draws the readers into the world of The Boarding House. Through illustrating the world that the characters are living in with words, what they are wearing and doing, a reader is able to believe what they are reading. For Example, when Bloss arrives at the boarding house, Charles describes how dramatic her entrance was as her personal property came in ahead of her and Agnes. While studying this paragraph, Charles Dickens ensures that readers can mentally visualize how grand Bloss’s arrival was because of the number of items that had to be carried into her quarters at the boarding house.
The narrator uses symbolism and complex sentence structures to build a theme of royalty for Mrs. Bloss’s arrival which indicates that he used a narrative and descriptive style of writing in this piece of literature. In the fourth line of the first paragraph of the extract, Charles Dickens hints at the attitude that the gentlemen who are seated at the dinner-table have towards the sickly Mrs. Bloss without describing their feelings in detail.
However, in the next line, Charles Dickens describes in great detail the amount of preparation that was taken to make her as comfortable as possible. Consequently, Charles Dickens relies more on the narrative to describe the characters’ feelings and the setting rather than using their dialogue to deliver information.
Charles Dickens’s sentence structure is complex, and this is a pattern he follows throughout the extract. Preferring to write lengthy sentences, Charles Dickens relies on multiple commas and semicolons to partition his words. For example, the last sentence in the first paragraph is over 60 words describing the arrivals of Mrs. Bloss’ personal items. Additionally, Charles also uses repeated word patterns within the complex sentences as conjunctions. Following the same Example, Charles uses the word ‘then’ to start four sentences that show the arrival of each one of Mrs. Bloss’ personal items in their order of arrival. Charles Dickens’s arrangement of words is complex as he has multiple phrases within a broader sentence.
In this extract, Charles Dickens makes use of the two types of voices; the author and character voices. The complexity of his sentence structure, detailed description of the scene, choice of words, punctuation, tone, and subject choice defines his authorial voice. Using a third-person narration, Charles tells the story of Mrs. Bloss’ arrival from Mrs. Tibbs’ perspective. However, Charles Dickens’ use of character voice is what brings essence to the story. For Example, from reading Agnes’ dialogue in the extract, one can tell she is homeschooled in the English language as some of her words are grammatically wrong, she is also chatty and has a stammer in her speech pattern. On the other hand, Mrs. Bloss is authoritative, reserved, and does not say more than she has to.
Charles Dickens uses enumeration to drive the reader’s attention to intricate information. Dickens pays great attention to detail when describing how ready the apartment was made for Bloss in the first paragraph of the extract. By naming all the tasks that were done and furniture added, the reader is able to get a broad understanding of how big the boarding house is and how important she was. He also uses eutrepismus to separate Mrs. Bloss and Agnes’ dialogue in an orderly form. The use of this literary tool enables Charles Dickens to clearly convey to the reader what each character is saying at a given point in the story. Furthermore, through using eutrepismus, Charles limits the number of times he has to specify to the reader, which character is talking since the character speeches are well arranged and separated.
Furthermore, the use of anacoluthon challenges the reader to rethink their assumptions. Charles Dickens uses this literary tool on Agnes’s dialogue in the ninth paragraph to mislead the reader to the whole other meaning of what Agnes was trying to tell Mrs. Bloss. The anacoluthon, in this case, also misleads Mrs. Bloss because her reaction suggests she misunderstood what Agnes was trying to say. Charles Dickens uses exclamatory language to emphasize Mrs. Bloss’s surprise to some of the things that Agnes was narrating. Charles Dickens refers to Mrs. Bloss as “chop-eater” in the second paragraph of the extract to let the reader know that she likes to eat lamb. Furthermore, he uses the term “chop-eater” as a set up for the next sentence where Mrs. Bloss has mutton-chop delivered to her room by Agnes.
In conclusion Charles Dickens used various language features to create themes and shape the meaning of the novel. Through using such literary devices, he was to have an effect on the reader’s senses all the while creating a sense of realism.
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