LITERATURE: McCullers’ The Heart.. – Language

I love Carson McCullers’ voice in this novel, her easy way of telling what is in the setting, and yet I would cringe a bit at what I see as amateurish, in this case, repetition of a vital word used once beautifully, the second time, unnecessarily I think:

The moonlight was bright and the shadows of Portia and William and Highboy lay black and solid on the dusty street.  The houses in the neighborhood had a miserable look.  Doctor Copeland’s house was different from any other building near-by.  It was built solidly of brick and stucco.  Around the small front yard there was a picket fence.  (p. 61)

I love the shadows laying black and solid.  I lover the neighborhood having a miserable look.  These are simple, clear and yet give so much more information in the simplicity of statement.  You could read something about the three characters in the solidness of their shadows, the definitiveness of black as being an absolute and in contrast to the dusty street.  But in saying that Doctor Copeland’s house was built solidly of brick and stucco, the word solid is not only unnecessary, given the materials and the "miserable" of the neighborhood, it dilutes its value in the descripton of the shadows.

Most certainly these are such minor nitpickings in a novel of this depth.  It will be interesting to follow up with further of McCullers’ works to see the writer progression; although masterful already in langugage, I would expect great things of her. 

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