shedding first its capital letters

aiyu

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi!
This text is from 1984(George Orwell).

Suddenly he began writing in sheer panic, only imperfectly aware of what he was setting down. His small but childish handwriting straggled up and down the page, shedding first its capital letters and finally even its full stops:

In this passage, I'm wondering about the last part-- shedding first its capital letters and finally even its full stops.
Does that mean he forgot to keep the rule of grammar-- a sentence should start with a capital letter and end with a period?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    He doesn't forget the rule so much as ignore it. He sheds capital letters as he might shed (take off) a sweater in hot weather. And later he sheds even the full stops.

    Sheds is often used to describe animals shedding fur -- they're losing fur, just as he is losing his capitals and full stops. It doesn't appear to be a conscious decision, just something that happens in his panic, in his speed to get his words down. He is in such a hurry he no longer wants to slow down to observe the niceties of grammar -- it's the basic message that's important.
     

    aiyu

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thanks a lot Copyright!
    So, 'straggled up and down' can show how hurriedly he was writing down.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Yes, it can show that, meaning that his lines weren't straight, as they might be if he weren't in such a panic.

    straggle: to go, come, or spread in a rambling or irregular way; stray
     
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