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  1. #1
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default two or three hands went to two or three eys

    Dear teachers,

    Recently I read a whimsical phrase in Charles Dickens' "The Life and Adventure of Nicolas Nickleby" (please see the balded words in the following excerpt)

    "Two or three hands went to two or three eyes when Squeers said this, but the greater part of the young gentlemen having no parents were wholly uninterested in the thing one way or another."

    Would you be kind enough th explain to me what forces the author to use such hard understandable periphrasis?

    Instead of saying the simple phrase "two or three children began to cry" the author used a such way to express this idea.

    Thank you in advance for your efforts.

    Regards.

    V.
    Last edited by vil; 11-Jan-2008 at 11:46.

  2. #2
    Uncle M is offline Member
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    Default Re: two or three hands went to two or three eys

    Hello,

    You used the word 'whimsical'. If Dickens had written '...children began to cry...', it wouldn't be whimsical.

    His phraseology doesn't say that they began to cry, but that some children showed the first tell-tale signs of becoming tearful or upset, as recognised by an adult onlooker.

    Dave

  3. #3
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: two or three hands went to two or three eys

    It's also an excellent example of the way in which Dickens used words to arouse emotions in his readers.

  4. #4
    vil is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: two or three hands went to two or three eys

    Hello Dave Mortimer,

    What fun is to ascertain the fact that you caught the used from me meaning of the word "whimsical" at the first try. A few others would say that this word is used wrong on this place. In my post I alluded at the meanings as: fanciful, playful, imaginative. You know "imaginative" = "having a lively imagination, inventive."

    Thank you for your pictorial explanation of the inaugural overture to the real cry.

    Thank you again for having been so considerate.

    Regards.

    V.

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