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Help me understand this part Options
vkhu
Posted: Sunday, December 3, 2017 9:55:11 AM
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Joined: 6/18/2012
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Quote:
It gave no warning. It was as unpredictable as mercury or lightning. Suddenly it sprang, streaked out at her feet—and a little beyond, as though it had overreached itself. Its tail part came lashing, switching after it.

All she did was shudder, in a form of death without contact. Then she deflated as suddenly as it had leaped, her waist sank in, rippled down over the edge of the seat, and she sidled inertly to the ground, retched a couple of times. There beside her own discarded black coif, with the two jet ornaments spaced on the front of it, and the long sinuous length of whipped-around veiling, that bulged like muscular haunches in places, that the wind had been sending creeping stealthily up on her a little at a time.

Cruel minutes
went by, in a gift of renewed life that was hardly wanted any more, it had been so expensive. She got to her feet again somehow [...]

- Black Alibi, Cornell Woolrich


I have 2 questions about this part:

1) It (a hungry jaguar) jumped straight to her feet, but for some reason she still had time to slowly slide down from her bench, vomit, and have some minutes after to stand up. Why is that?

2) What was there beside the black coif and all other stuff she dropped before? This sentence has no subject.

Any help would be appreciated.

P/S: sorry for the long post. The first question require me to post up to the "Cruel minutes..." part, and since my 2nd question is about the preceding sentence, I decided to ask away.
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, December 3, 2017 11:33:02 AM

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This does appear to be badly written. Perhaps something left out, or some incorrect punctuation.

That said, it appears she collapsed from fright as the jaguar leaped towards her feet, and became sick at her stomach. The next part would read better if a few words were inserted at the beginning.


(She lay)
There beside her own discarded black coif, with the two jet ornaments spaced on the front of it, and the long sinuous length of whipped-around veiling, that bulged like muscular haunches in places, that the wind had been sending creeping stealthily up on her a little at a time.

If the remainder of the writing is as bad as this, then it would seem that this book should follow the advice of one wag who said something like "This is not a book one should simply put down. It should be heaved with great force".


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
thar
Posted: Sunday, December 3, 2017 11:37:47 AM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
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A streak is something that is moving so quickly it blurs as it moves past you. 'At her feet and a little beyond' - ie it leapt past her.


It is describing there - a location on the floor. The scene of some action.
What did she do there? Or, what did she do that produced something that ended up on the floor, among the discarded clothes?
vkhu
Posted: Sunday, December 3, 2017 11:38:22 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/18/2012
Posts: 782
Neurons: 6,343
FounDit wrote:
This does appear to be badly written. Perhaps something left out, or some incorrect punctuation.

That said, it appears she collapsed from fright as the jaguar leaped towards her feet, and became sick at her stomach. The next part would read better if a few words were inserted at the beginning.


(She lay)
There beside her own discarded black coif, with the two jet ornaments spaced on the front of it, and the long sinuous length of whipped-around veiling, that bulged like muscular haunches in places, that the wind had been sending creeping stealthily up on her a little at a time.

If the remainder of the writing is as bad as this, then it would seem that this book should follow the advice of one wag who said something like "This is not a book one should simply put down. It should be heaved with great force".


It's quite a thrilling read though. I'm still interested in seeing how this end. But truly, the prose is such a chore!
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, December 3, 2017 1:42:34 PM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
It is prose - literature - rather than normal written formal English.

The "sentence with no subject" is really a l-o-n-g adverbial phrase/clause/thing saying where she vomited and fell.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Romany
Posted: Monday, December 4, 2017 5:44:11 AM
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

I think I must have a different interpretation - though of course, have no idea what the book is about.

But it seemed to me to be talking about HER shape-shifting. It's SHE who metamorphises into a Jaguar: it sprang out FROM her.That's why the sight of her "human" clothes in a pile beside her takes a whole sentence to describe!

It doesn't seem at all badly written to me,(of its genre) as I read it - but then, that's because I read it getting THIS interpretation, so it made sense.
Audiendus
Posted: Monday, December 4, 2017 8:41:47 AM
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Joined: 8/24/2011
Posts: 5,085
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Location: London, England, United Kingdom
vkhu wrote:
There beside her own discarded black coif, with the two jet ornaments spaced on the front of it, and the long sinuous length of whipped-around veiling, that bulged like muscular haunches in places, that the wind had been sending creeping stealthily up on her a little at a time.

'Verbless' sentences (i.e. sentences without a main verb) are a legitimate literary device, but they should be short. If they are long, as in the example above, they can be confusing. The reader is constantly expecting a main verb, which never comes.

Also, "sending creeping" is awkward.
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