Monday, September 19

Oscar's Exuding Ideas

Suddenly the man drew up with a jerk at the top of a dark lane.  Over the low roofs and jagged chimney-stacks of the houses rose the black masts of ships.  Wreaths of white mist clung like ghostly sails to the yards. 

'Somewhere about here, sir, ain't it?' he asked huskily through the trap.

Dorian started and peered round.  'This will do,' he answered, and, having got out hastily, and given the driver the extra fare he had promised him, he walked quickly in the direction of the quay.  Here and there a lantern gleamed at the stern of some huge merchantman.  The light shook and splintered in the puddles.  A red glare came from an outward-bound steamer that was coaling.  The slimy pavement looked like a wet mackintosh. 

Chapter XVI, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, published in 1891. 

I really love this passage, not only because of how dangerously atmospheric it is, but because of how full of ideas it is: 
  • The idea of the masts and the white mists like sails in the yards. 
  • The idea of the lantern light splintered in the puddles. 
  • And finally the idea of the pavement looking like a wet mackintosh. 
It's so rich!  It exudes (and 'exude' is really a word to exude from yourself with plenty of theatrical emphasis) atmosphere.  Aren't you there?  I completely am.  Maybe just read these ideas again and this time really pay attention to the images that unconsciously form in your mind with them... 

1 comment:

  1. I love the part about the pavement too! I always try to add things like that into my stories, but it's definitely a talent I haven't developed yet and it always sounds a bit forced! He does it perfectly :)


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