Throughout Stone Cold, slang and very harsh, angry, even violent language is used: Link is very upset through all his ordeals. Also with the book being based in London most of the character are written in the cockney dialect. Humour is used in Swindells ‘Stone Cold’ for Shelter. He jokes, ‘Link the Stink’ and ‘The Camden Horizontals’-referring to his dead army (his murdered victims) lying down under the floor boards. Swindells uses short, direct ‘get to the point’ sentences, as this is what the modern reader wants; more is left to the imagination.
Charles Dickens chose rather not to use aggressive and violent language, as you have to remember that this book is written for all the family in the Victorian age. But Dickens still uses dialect for each character and also slang is used a lot (shown in ‘Bad’un’ and ‘Work’us’), so it is written as the people of that time would speak. Compared to Swindells short direct sentences, Dickens uses long very descriptive sentences, leaving nothing to the imagination. Take for example the first line in the book is 7 lines long!Order now
‘The Dodger had vicious propensity, too, of pulling the caps from the heads of small boys and tossing them down areas, while Charley Bates exhibited some very loose notions concerning the rights of property, by pilfering diver apples and onions from the stalls at the kennel sides, and thrusting them into pockets which were so surprisingly capacious, that they seemed to undermine his whole suit of clothes in every direction’: this shows the style of writing in the Victorian times. I will now translate this into modern language making it easier to compare to a caption from ‘Stone Cold’.
‘The Dodger had a nasty way of pulling the caps off the small boys and throwing them on the floor, while Charley Bates, Showing off he was a thief, stole apples and onions from the market, and hid them in his pockets which were so daftly large that his clothes looked out off proportion’. Now lets look at this compared to a quote from ‘Stone Cold’. ‘He’s about fifty for a start, and he’s one of these old dudes that wear cool gear and try to act young and it doesn’t work because they’ve got grey hair and fat bellies and they just make themselves look pathetic’. We can see from this comparison that Dickens looks at the details probably most other Authors would overlook; Swindell writes the typical details of how people look: but this is how Link would talk so it is no less valuable.
Swindell’s book as I said at the beginning is written with a moral, ‘to deter young adults not to take to the streets’. So the book is quite short and has only one story line. In no way does Swindell glamorise the streets, and he never lets Link into a life of crime (but Oliver goes straight into a criminal gang); also Link never gets into drink or drugs: all these precautions are to make sure that the homeless life does not seem attractive in any way. ‘Stone Cold’ also doesn’t end with a happy ending. This is to show to the reader that once you are on the streets, it hard to get off. It also leaves the future of Link in the hands of the reader.
Dickens is writing to mainly entertain, so he has to bring extraordinary coincidence and exciting events into the story; so Oliver is taken in to a life of crime, really for entertainment but also to show what street society and poverty was like at that time. Oliver Twist was written in 53 chapters, it was published in a weekly magazine (a chapter a week) and was the ‘soap’ of the day; this is why the story has many twists and turns (example – Mr. Bumble’s Romantic life), as do the soaps of nowadays have many sub-plots. Dickens was writing to enlighten the public of what was going on in the world rather than with a moral, as the people who would be reading this would not even think about living on the street. ‘Oliver Twist’ does have a happy ending: the bad guys die and Oliver is reunited with his family, because after reading the story a Victorian audience would expect a happy ending; but Nancy does die bringing some sorrow to the story.
Dickens put sympathy in the minds of his reader without them knowing; he tackled a difficult subject by writing an entertaining and gripping story about it. Modern soap operas still do take on current affairs issues to get very emotional stories, as some people can relate to these. Gail in ‘Stone Cold’ was also trying to find an emotional story to give to her readers but ended up being caught up in a very dangerous and life changing experience.
I believe Gail began doing the story mainly for money, but as the story continues she begins to get closer to the dangers and horrors of life on the street and she wants to expose the tragedies which are happening; but she can never leave her true life behind. Dickens writes very descriptively with long paragraphs describing each characters’ looks and features. He does this, as there was no television.
With TV, programs need no descriptions as you can see the characters. So working as the soap of the day he needs every reader to have the same image in his or her head. This style of writing is not modern like the way ‘Stone Cold’ is written which is done with very short and few descriptions, and frankly leaving more to the imagination and for you to decide (also Swindell even leaves the ending of the book up to you). I prefer to read the modern style (Stone Cold), as I find I begin to lose interest in the long descriptiveness of Dicken’s style.
Even though Dickens novel is full of extraordinary coincidences and events they feel at home in this book: whereas the few ‘over the top’ happenings are not well suited in ‘Stone Cold’. I felt after reading both books, Oliver Twist was the best, even though I found it harder to read. I feel I didn’t enjoy Stone Cold as much as it got too depressing and emotional. I look for enjoyment in a book rather than a moral and meaning.