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The Nature of Things

Currently reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and wanted to share a snippet of a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” that is included in the text. It is located on page 44 of the Signet Classics edition of the novel:

“Like one who, on a lonely road,

Doth walk in fear and dread,

And, having once turned round, walks on,

And turns no more his head;

Because he knows a frightful fiend

Doth close behind him tread.

Coleridge’s “Ancient Mariner”

I love the writing, particularly the pacing, in Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook. I’ve always admired the use of short, concise sentence structure, directly contrasted by longer, flowey, almost run on, sentences like I have quoted below. It adds so much texture to the description of the family without saying so much more than a paragraph of text. The reader can feel the speed in which the daily routine, and consequently the lives, of these characters move. This passage is on page 120 of the Harper Perennial Modern Classics edition.

"The facts were these. I've said his family life was difficult. It was intolerable. He had a wife and two sons and a daughter. He supported his wife's parents and his own. I've been in that little house. It was intolerable even to visit. The young couple, or rather, the middle-aged couple who supported it, were squeezed out of any real life together by the four old people and the three children. His wife worked hard all day and so did he. The four old ones were all, in various ways, invalids and needed special care and diets and so on. In that living-room in the evening, the four played cards interminably, with much bickering and elderly petulance; they played for hours, in the center of the room, and the children did their homework where they could, and George and his wife went to bed early, more often than not from sheer exhaustion, apart from the fact their bedroom was the only place they could have some privacy. That was the home." 

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