How much can one tell from the dialogue and dialect from a piece of literature? "A Sick Collier" by D. H. Lawrence is a short story that exemplifies how important dialect can be to the understanding of a story. This story's dialect is key to many elements of the story. Through the dialect, the reader gets a full picture of the setting, understanding of the collier's social class, and shows the difference in intelligence between the collier and the other speaking characters.
The story begins with background information setting up the scene for the story. Then suddenly it hits you. The collier says "Set th' table ofr my breakst, an' put my pitthing affront o' th' fire. I s'll be getting' up at ha'ef pas' five. Tha nedna shift thy-sen not till when ter likes" (Lawrence 2). Initially, I was overwhelmed trying to read this dialogue. But as I continued to read the story, I realized Lawrence's purpose. The author was trying to give a setting for this piece, because the story has no specific location. Lawrence does not blatantly tell exactly where the story is taking place. However, the reader can make assumption by analyzing the dialect. According to Leith, the dialect is that of the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire area in England. The collier's statements and ideas are simple minded, which is a characteristic of the rural part of the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire area (Leith 245). For example, the collier says "I want none o' your white cloths i' the' mornin'. I like ter be able to slobber if I feel like it" (Lawrence 2). He does not care that his wife thinks the white tablecloths are pretty. He only cares that she might expect him to eat like a civilized human being. The col...
... middle of paper ...
...is so dramatic.
Dialect can tell the reader a lot about a story. By looking at the writings by Leith and Thulin, one can see how important this element of writing can be. From the dialect in this story, the reader can create ideas about the setting, the collier's social class, and the character's level of intelligence.
Lawrence, D. H. "A Sick Collier." Jimmy and the Desperate Woman & other stories. Ed. Giles Gordon. London: Bloomsbury P, 1996. 1-11.
Leith, Richard. "Dialogue and Dialect in D. H. Lawrence." Style. Ed. Summer. DeKalb:
University of Illinois, 1980. 245-258.
Thulin, Richard L. "Man and Woman in the Writings of David Herbert Lawrence and of Certain Contemporary Theologians: A Dialogue in Theology and Literature." Dissertation-
Abstracts-International. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1972. 2487A-88A.
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