Sustained use of present

Sustained use of present - Sustained use of present-tense...

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Unformatted text preview: Sustained use of present-tense narration is so unusual that, as we read, we hardly know what to expect from moment to moment. Thus there is a sort of suspense in the method itself as well as in the plot. It forces us to be enjoyably alert — and we've already had to become quite alert in order to catch Dickens' persistent verbal irony — that is, his saying one thing but actually meaning something else. This combination of continual irony and present-tense narration gives the writing great intensity. By far the larger part of the story is narrated in this way by the omniscient author." But, surprisingly, Dickens switches every now and then to "Esther's Narrative," allowing Esther Summerson to do some of the telling. This alternation strikes many people as an awkward and highly artificial technique because the reader remains aware that "Esther's Narrative" is still really Dickens'...
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