The Depth of Description, The City & The City

On the third page of “The City and The City” we get a vivid description of a recently deceased woman. It sets the mood for the book and sets a standard about how the setting/events will be described throughout the book.

“She lay near the skate ramps. Nothing is still like the dead are still. The wind moves their hair, as it moves hers, and they don’t respond at all. She was in an ugly pose, with legs crooked as if about to get up, her arms in a strange bend. Her face to the ground.” (p. 3).

In the first line “…Nothing is still like the dead are still.” I think they are eluding to more deeper stillness than you would expect from a corpse. When I read this line, I instantly though of how a corpse wouldn’t be breathing or their eyes not moving, not just a corpse not moving as a whole.

In the next line “The wind moves their hair, as it moves hers, and they don’t respond at all, its describing the wind blowing her hair around. When it says they don’t respond at all, I think they are trying to get us to picture not moving your hair out of your face or fixing it if it gets messy. The wind blows her hair all around and the hair (person) doesn’t “resist”.

The third and final lineĀ  “She was in an ugly pose, with legs crooked as if about to get up, her arms in a strange bend. Her face to the ground.”, talks about the weird angle her legs and arms are in. I immediately had an idea of how the corpse would look sprawled out on the concrete. I imagined a dead insect had it been stepped on, with its legs bent awkward angles as it lays still on the floor.

 

4 thoughts on “The Depth of Description, The City & The City

  1. Good commentary Jarell. This is something I hadn’t thought of when I read the City and the City the first time. I blame this on modern society has made our generation more decensitized to violence. However, now that you bring it up this is a very detailed description. It sets the tone and almost subconciously catches the readers attention. Forcing them to realize this case is serious.

  2. First its amazing that you were able to pull all of that information out of just three lines. I never really thought of how still a dead body truly would be and how it wouldn’t respond to natural things we would do without even thinking about it. A dead bug is a great was of comparing the dead body thinking how immediately after they die they sort of curl up and no matter how you hit flick or move them they don’t uncurl.

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