Charles Dickens and Lorenzo Carcaterra

‘A Safe Place’ is a modern novel about 1940’s New York.

This is shown in the way it is written and the language that Lorenzo Carcaterra uses. Lorenzo Carcaterra had a poor education, speaking only Italian for the first years of his life. This shows in the language used in ‘A Safe Place’.

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It is colloquial and conversational throughout and everything is described in a matter-of-fact way, if described at all. There is also a lot of swearing used, especially in dialogue, as this was the way most New Yorkers spoke.Dialogue in the book is kept to a minimum and most events are described from Lorenzo Carcaterra’s point of view looking back on them. The book is written in this way to bring to life the feel of New York at the time. Despite the lack of description the simple dialogue and colloquial feel of the book give it an atmosphere that matches the sombre mood of the stories being told.

The language in ‘Oliver Twist’ is a stark contrast. It is very proper, Victorian language due to this being the style of writing at the time it was written.There are large amounts of elaborate description, often using long, structured sentences, and in-depth character descriptions at every introduction. Charles Dickens effortlessly switches between physical description and more in depth character analysis, “Now, Mr. Bumble was a fat man, and a choleric; so instead of responding to this open-hearted salutation in a kindred spirit, he gave a little wicket a tremendous shake”. There is also a lot of flowing dialogue, which can often become confusing to read, as it is hard to follow who is talking.

Conversations often last more than two pages. The language in the two novels is very different but both fit the era in which they were written. Charles Dickens and Lorenzo Carcaterra use very different descriptions for both characters and settings but both work to the same effect. Charles Dickens painting an elaborate and dark view of the back streets of Victorian London and Lorenzo Carcaterra telling tales of a rough yet close neighbourhood in 1940’s New York.