“From 1964 to 1966 I successfully impersonated an airline pilot for Pan Am Airlines, and flew over two million miles for free. During that time I was also the Chief Resident Pediatrician at a Georgia hospital, the Assistant Attorney General for the state of Louisiana, and a Professor of American History at a prestigious University in France. By the time I was caught and sentenced to prison, I had cashed over six million dollars in fraudulent checks in 26 foreign countries and all fifty states, and I did it all before my 18th birthday.”
There are two immediate things that stick out in one of the first lines to the movie “Catch Me If You Can”. The use of diction and subtle words in these two sentences really speak out to the cocky and proud character. He “successfully impersonated”, “also”, “prestigious”, “By the time”, and “did it all before…” These words specifically speak volumes of just how, not only smart, this kid must have been, but just how much of a smart mouth he must have been as well. This character committed all these crimes but through his diction, there seems to be no guilty or sense for repenting for what he has done. Likewise, he is naming all these high position occupations that one would be impressed with and he easily impersonated people of those jobs. What escalates the overall impressive mood that he is trying to set is the use of numbers and listing. In doing this, the reader is provided job, after job, another after impressive job. The use of numbers also such as two million and twenty-six does the same in making his achievements all the more impressive and jaw dropping.
In the two sentences, the structure seems very fluid. Although there aren’t any run on sentences, it feels as though it continues without a break in the reading. This is all one fast paced train of thought. The quote is looking back into the past. He gives a beginning time period of when all these events happened, what he was doing at that time, and the outcome and results of it all. He does this fluid continuity through the use of transition dependent phrases at the beginning of the sentences to flow right into everything, eliminating any choppiness in the writing from one thought to the next.
You’ve pointed out some great stuff here, Enzo. I like your point about the numbers and the long list of titles adding a cockiness and prestige. I think I see your point, too, about the flowing sentences, but it’s important for a close reading to root that down in particular quotes and examples. In your first post, too, it would be worth breaking down the effect of each word–“diction and subtle words” is a little too vague to capture all of the evidence you give. What, precisely, is interesting about each word? What is it about “also” that you picked up on? Or “by the time”? It seems like they are interesting in different ways, so help guide your reader through the specifics.
As a side note, periods and commas go inside quotation marks when they aren’t followed by a citation–and be sure to proofread! You’ve got a few typos.