Analysis of Charles Dickens' - Sketches by Boz

1181 Words May 23rd, 2013 5 Pages
‘The Streets-Morning’ by Charles Dickens is an extract taken from ‘Sketches by Boz.’ It is a descriptive piece and follows prominent features of the literary sketch technique, as it contains no prominent plot. The speaker narrates the “appearance presented by the streets of London an hour before sunrise on a summer’s morning.”

The extract is in the first person narrative. This feature adds intensity and supports the use of details. First person narrative is generally considered unreliable due to lack of witnesses and external verification; however, the detached and objective narration by the speaker prompts readers to think otherwise – “now and then a rakish looking cat runs stealthily…bounding first on the water-butt then on the dust
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The second metaphor is – “stillness of death is over the streets,” perhaps the most foreboding of lines in the extract, this metaphor could serve as a possible foreshadowing for impending events.

The street itself becomes an important motif. It represents a path that leads somewhere, however, readers could question whether this could be leading to activity or stagnation. This theory is supported with the images of the “drunken, the dissipated, and the wretched.” The policeman similarly, is also preoccupied with his “deserted prospect.”

The description of the street is similarly presented in Tennessee Williams’ ‘A Streetcar Named Desire”–

“The houses mostly white frame, weathered grey with rickety outside stairs and galleries and quaintly ornamented gables to the entrances of both. It is the first dark of an evening in early May.”

The houses become symbols of who their inhabitants are in the extract. They give readers insights to where they live, how they live and who they are. The “quiet, closely-shut buildings” are perhaps the only privacy the residents have. The speaker brings in social context through this description and the tone shifts to one of
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