Blog Post #1 


“We are apt to be angry with this cruel hardness in our life—this unflinching regularity in the smaller wheels and meaner mechanism of the human machine, which knows no stoppage or cessation, though the mainspring be for ever broken, and the hands pointing to purposeless figures upon a shattered dial” (Braddon 206). 

The first line serves as a tone setter for the rest of the paragraph, like the way a thesis might guide an argumentative essay; “we are apt to be angry with thus cruel hardness in our life.” Essentially, he, Robert Audley, is saying life can be hard, and for the rest of the paragraph he goes into detail about why it’s hard. He needs to express how grueling life can be so he relates it to a factory like setting, this can be seen when he uses words like wheels, mainspring, mechanism, human machine and shattered dial. Relating an industrial setting to life is a useful way of expressing the point of this paragraph, since factories are often associated with fatigue, underpaid workers, unsafe conditions and long hours, especially in the eighteenth century. Also, Braddon uses no full stops in this paragraph until the last sentence, only commas and dashes. This allows the reader to read it as if it is a poem, continuously. This choice of punctuation is especially well suited to this paragraph because it allows her in depth description to flow, she centers in on one point, which is to express how hard life can be, and by having no full stops it brings the paragraph into one cohesive point, which makes it easier for the reader to digest her thesis. This passage also gives us an insight into Robert’s psyche. Given that Robert has been on the search for an explanation for the disappearance of his friend for a long time, one can only imagine the weariness and anguish he must feel. In addition to this he has just met George’s father, who gave clear signs that he did not care much for George and that the part of him that does has written off his disappearance as a trick. Making George’s disappearance even more tragic and even tougher for Robert to handle. When factoring in these recent experiences George has endured, his pessimistic view on life makes sense.