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The Princess Bride

Quotes

Quotes Quotes

Buttercup's ears were now caked with Snow Sand all the way in, and her nose was filled with Snow Sand, both nostrils, and she knew if she opened her eyes a million tiny fine bits of Snow Sand would seep behind her eyelids, and now she was beginning to panic badly. How long had she been falling? Hours, it seemed, and she was having pain in holding her breath.

This passage demonstrates William Goldman's use of style to accommodate the varying modes of adventure in his story. As seen above, he tends to write short, choppy, tongue-in-cheek and seemingly paradoxical paragraphs when defying the conventionalities of tales such as his. But as Buttercup is sinking through the Snow Sand, he writes long, uninterrupted, smothering streams of prose as a way of mimicking the breathlessness of her fall. In the above quote he repeats the word Snow Sand three times, in three consecutive sentences, forcing the reader to understand exactly how this substance feels, and to hold his or her breath while we wait for Buttercup to be rescued. This is a frightening, grave moment and we are to have full awareness of its entirety. William Goldman (posing as S. Morgenstern) plays with the text to a great degree, piddling around with direction and caps. For example, he makes Fezzik's splat sound when he hits someone run down the page like a set of stairs. In passages such as these we recognize the author not only as a creator of plot, but also as a crafter of language to accommodate that plot.