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Comparing Story Openings Of Bleak House By Charles Dickens To The Outsider By Albert Camus

945 words - 4 pages

At the opening of the story 'The Outsider', the writer Albert Camus places time in the wrong order. This creates the impression that we are seeing into the character's thoughts rather than a story being told to us. It works very effectively as the paragraphs are spontaneous and not in any form of order, thus creating a mental picture in our heads of one or two day?s worth of events, as if we were remembering them ourselves.
This, however, does not apply to Bleak house. Dickens does not use any form of time, but instead decides to describe what is happening and makes the days, time, week or month irrelevant. It could be any day, but Dickens does not want time to be the focal point of his story. This is effective because our interest is drawn to the descriptions and happenings of the city.

Surprisingly, both story start with short, improperly composed sentences, most of the time with little or no verbs. This works differently for each story.
In ?The Outsider?, the short, blunt sentences arouse interest that forces you to continue reading, this is because the ?thoughts? of the character are rather cold and blunt about a situation that should be upsetting, for example ?Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday?, as the opening paragraph. The punctuation break up the sentence into emphasized words. Camus directs us to feel slightly disturbed by his descriptions of the events taken place and puts us in the position of psychologist, eager to hear what comes next, but wary of it also.
In ?Bleak House? the short, improper sentences create a very descriptive picture of a cold, dark city, the blunt words mimicking the blunt feelings and people in the city. This is very effective as he uses the same words over again to emphasize the point. The most obvious to us is the word ?fog?, which he continually uses in the second paragraph. This creates a very visual and realistic feeling of oppression from the fog surrounding the city. Dickens starts the second paragraph with ?fog everywhere?. The bluntness and the repetitiveness work well together in painting a picture, making an impression in your mind that you won?t forget.
Camus, in ?The Outsider?, makes a conscious decision not to use figurative language in his story, once again creating the illusion of spontaneous thought. When using everyday language or when thinking we do not include metaphors, similes or onomatopoeias, for example, ?Today, I should not have fought Tracy in the office like a tigress who hasn?t eaten in a week, sinking my long, sharp claws and teeth into her flesh?. Or at least it is uncommon to anyway. Camus is very economical with his language.
However, Dickens, in ?Bleak House?, uses the opposite, applying figurative and descriptive language wherever he can, to create the strong mental impressionistic painting in our minds to which the...

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