Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Story within a story

Paul Mariani's sentence from The Broken Tower: A Life of Hart Crane does a great job telling the story with its structure:

In the poem -- one he had the good sense finally to abandon -- he pictured himself as a blind moth raised among butterflies, which for a brief moment had found itself rising upward into the empyrean to behold "Great horizons and systems and shores all along," only to find its wings crumpling and itself falling -- like Icarus -- back to earth.

The natural way we read a sentence, our (inner) voice goes up and up all the way to the comma after "along," then our voice starts falling.  Try reading it again but imagining that the comma after "along" is a period.  You will find a very interesting effect.

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