1). Make some general observations about the syntax. Are the sentences predominately simple or complex? Long or short? What’s the level of formality? Any fragments or run-ons, any stylistic “violations” of the conventions of grammar? Are there any periodic sentences, parallel structures, or other special features? 2) Make comments based on your observations about how the author’s use of syntax creates specific effects. 1. From Moby-Dick, page 1
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long, precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me. 2. From The Shipping News, page103
Quoyle woke in the empty room. Grey light. A sound of hammering. His heart. He lay in his sleeping bag in the middle of the floor. The candle on its side. Could smell the wax, smell the pages of the book that lay open beside him, the dust in the floor cracks. Neutral light illumined the window. The hammering again and a bearing shadow in the highest panes. A bird. He got up and went to it....
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