Lesson overview

Detailed practice
Story - Narrative
Young adult and up
Bleak House
Charles Dickens
environmental description
descriptive detail
hypnotic style
contrasting clause length
organising detail
word choice
In this lesson we rewrite a section of the famous opening passage of Bleak House, in which Dickens follows a permeating fog across the length and breadth of London. We approach our variation as a single draft, paying particular attention to the way that Dickens organises his descriptive details along a series of axes with contrasting poles: verdant upstream vs industrial downstream, lowland north and highland south, boats from small to large, sailors from old to young. We also look at how Dickens uses fragments, repetition and varying clause lengths to create hypnotic musical effect.