Crime and Punishment
“~but at almost the same moment his face suddenly assumed a serious and preoccupied air; it even became as if veiled with sadness, to Raskolnikov’s surprise. “
There are various ways to describe one’s emotion, faces, atmosphere, etc. Out of all those common ways, Dostoevsky uses “assumed,” “air” to show the abrupt change in the atmosphere, rather than saying “Porfiry kept his poker face and had serious tone of accusing.” Moreover, it is quite interesting that he used the word “veiled” to add the dark and gloomy tone within Porfiry’s facial expression. This leads readers to actually picture the scene, than to rush through the descriptions. Furthermore, semicolon smoothly prolongs the description of Porfiry’s change then leads to Raskolnikov’s reaction towards the beginning of the accusation. Personally, I think if I am Raskolnikov, listening to Porfiry with sudden change like this quote, I would freak out. It gives the readers chill of how cleverly Dostoevsky can allude the readers of what Porfiry is doing with his tone and dictions to make Raskolnikov confess his crime and illness.
“~but at the last minute his face abruptly assumed a artistic and enthusiastic air; it even became as if his enthusiasm was burning to the core, to the judges’ surprise. “
It was interesting for me to learn that a single quote could change the whole atmosphere even before the readers read about the reaction towards it. Somehow the way of the description adds the dramatic taste to the scene. I don’t if you have recognized the set of my imitation, but this is a quote describing the scene of the film, “Billy Eliot.” I described the extreme tension at the audition using “enthusiastic” and “burning”.
*Question: Why would this quote be impactful in its dramatic taste comparing to the others? :O