Smith Literary Qualities

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The evocative atmosphere of the novel arises from Garfield's detailed descriptions of eighteenth-century London. The settings of the narrow, fog-shrouded alleys, the malodorous depths of Newgate Prison, the rough-and-tumble world of the Red Lion Tavern, and the rigid, unchanging Mansfield house all overflow with precise and picturesque detail.

Garfield's use of slang and thieves' lingo, combined with his descriptions of dress and manners, defines the separate worlds of the upper and lower classes and highlights the contrast as Smith moves between these two worlds.

Garfield's settings also function as metaphors for action and character. The dark, twisting streets suggest the evil plottings of the lame man; the cold and blinding snowstorm echoes Smith's detachment from the conventional patterns and beliefs of Mr. Mansfield's world; and the narrow twisting ventilators in Newgate Prison symbolize the convoluted path that Smith must negotiate to escape the world of crime...

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This section contains 273 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Smith Short Guide
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