Critical Essays Sir Walter Scott's Writing Style


Sir Walter Scott is a storytelling author. The story is in third person, but when he wishes to explain something to the reader he breaks in and resorts to first person. His point of view is of one watching an exciting drama and relaying what he sees with suitable explanation so that none of the excitement is lost.

He uses a disjointed flashback. He carries the action of one group to a certain point and then goes back to pick up another group to bring it into logical position. It is as though he were weaving together varied colored threads into one exquisite pattern. It is his task to put the threads together so that the finished piece of cloth is one carefully wrought, panoramic scene. Foremost are the figures, often in violent action, against a background of vivid natural beauty. To miss the description is to rob the piece of its wholeness and to be impatient with the archaic and distinctive words is to destroy the medieval setting.

He gives structural clues to move the story along, such as Rebecca's warning of robbers to Gurth, which prepares the reader for the swineherd's encounter with the thieves; Fang's howling precipitates the capture by De Bracy; the phrase which the Prior drops, "the witch of Endor," signifies Rebecca's trial.

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