“I’m not a romantic man, Bob,” he would say sometimes, “and I never read a line of poetry in my life that was any more to me than so many words and so much jingle; but a feeling has come over me, since my wife’s death, that I am like a man standing upon a long, low shore, with hideous cliffs frowning down upon him from behind, and the rising tide crawling slowly but surely about his feet. It seems to grow nearer and nearer every day, that black, pitiless tide; not rushing upon me with a great noise and a mighty impetus, but crawling, creeping, stealing, gliding toward me, ready to close in above my head when I am least prepared for the end.” (Braddon Ch. 8)
Something that really stood out to me in this passage was the imagery. The line “a feeling has come over me, since my wife’s death, that I am like a man standing upon a long, low shore, with hideous cliffs frowning down upon him from behind, and the rising tide crawling slowly but surely about his feet” specifically stood out to me in Braddon’s word choice. Instead of just saying that George is upset and sad, she uses this very strong and descriptive language. In a sense, it makes the reader have a deeper sorrow for him in dealing with a loss, while also continuing to set a dark and grim tone for the story. While there is no clear repetition in this line, I find this to be a common theme in Braddon’s writing. Instead of just saying that George is upset, or Robert loves someone or something, Braddon often goes into length using descriptive language either tell the reader something, or more importantly allude to something. In this specific passage, initially I didn’t think much of the lengthened description of George’s feelings, however as I read on, I now see that this could have foreshadowed George’s disappearance, specifically what is mentioned in the last line of this passage referencing “prepared for the end”. In this way, the passage is related to the novel by serving as a narrative device, or motif, that suggests that there may be impending doom or tragedy lurking beneath the surface. This vivid descriptive language prompted me to continue to ask the question “So What?”. This constantly has me trying to uncover the hidden motives and dark truths behind Lady Audley’s façade and question the significance of these descriptions and their role in unraveling the central mystery.