Thus my sense of sight; while dry rot and wet rot and all the silent rots that rot in neglected roof and cellar – rot of rat and mouse and bug and coaching-stables near at hand besides – addressed themselves faintly to my sense of smell and moaned, “Try Barnard’s Mixture.
–Charles Dickens, from Great Expectations
AboutPoets think in lines, prose writers in sentences; the best of both work from sound to sense, with an ear for the music in their compositions. S for Sentence celebrates lyricism in prose, the play and craft at work in the artful sentence. We post a sentence a month along with comments by a guest writer on the craft that shapes it, on what makes it great. In one or two sentences.
—Pearl Abraham, Editor
What pleases here initially is sound: the repetition of ‘rot’ establishes the sentence’s rhythm, sustained throughout; ‘rot’ becomes its own complete rhyme and makes us aware of the satisfying (hard) consonance of ‘neglect’ and ‘rat’ and ‘bug’. The insistent ‘rot’ makes even the plosives and sibilants – ‘roof’ and ‘mouse’ – seem hard. The realization that ‘rot’ is both a noun and a verb thrills – the rot is alive! has agency! – as does the synesthesia of ‘silent rot’ and the smells that ‘moaned,' which directly contradict each other and add to our sensory confusion. Thus the reader ends as overwhelmed as Pip. —Stephanie Grant, author of Map of Ireland and Passion of Alice