The Printable KISS Grammar Workbooks The Theodore Dreiser Page
(Code and Color Key)

From The Lost Phoebe, by Theodore Dreiser
A Study in Ellipsis # 3
Analysis Key

1.  {In whichever direction} [Adj. to "direction" it went], [Adv. to "was" in "was not 

so far gone" even though, [Adv. to "took" as *it* was not infrequently the case (PN),]

it took him (DO) back {along the path} [Adj. to "path" he had already come], or

{across fields},] he was not so far gone (PA) [#5] {in his mind} but [#1] [Adv. to "so" 

that he gave himself (IO) ample time (DO) to search [#2] [Adv. to "gave" before

he called again]]. |
 

2.  He made a great business (DO) {of making his coffee [#3]} {in the morning} and

{*of* frying himself a little *bit [#4]} {of* bacon} {at night}; | but his appetite was

gone (PA) [#5]. |
 

3. His mind was {on his wife}, however, | and [Adv. to "wandered" since she was

not here, or did not appear], it wandered vaguely away {to a family} {by the name}

{of Murray}, miles [#6] away {in another direction}. |
 

4. The process [Adj. to "process" {by which} a character assumes the significance

(DO) {of being peculiar [#7]}], *and [Adj. to "process" {by which}* his antics *

assume the significance (DO) {of being*  weird, yet harmless, [#7]}] {in such a 

community} is often involute (PA) and pathetic (PA). |


Notes
1. Grammarians will have a variety of explanations for this "but," and I find the sentence itself ambiguous.  In context, the sentence probably means that his mind was not so far gone that he did not give himself ample time. The "not" is not in the subordinate clause, and thus we could look at the "but" as functioning as an adverb that negates the clause, in effect putting the meaning of "not" into the "he did not give." We could look at the "but" as a preposition, thereby making everything that follows it a subordinate clause that functions as the object of the preposition. But this view suggests that "but" means "except," and thus suggests that his giving himself time may be an example of his being so far gone in his mind. I would probably use this sentence as an example of how even famous writers can write weak sentences. Wouldn't this sentence be clearer without the "but" and with a "not"? -- "...he was not so far gone in his mind that he did not give himself ample time...."
2. Some people will see the infinitive "to search" as an adjective to "time," and others will see it as an adverb to "ample." Since "ample" modifies "time," either explanation should be acceptable.
3. "Coffee" is the direct object of the gerund "making." The gerund phrase functions as the object of "of."
4. Most people would not interpret this as "a little bacon," as opposed to a big bacon. Thus the "bit" is implicit here. "Bit" then functions as the direct object of the gerund "frying," and "himself" functions as its indirect object.
5. Alternatively, "gone" can be explained as part of the finite verb.
6. We could explain "miles" as a noun used as an adverb to "wandered," but most readers would probably connect it to "family" or "Murray." To make this connection, we can assume an ellipsed subordinate clause -- "to a family by the name of Murray *which was* miles away ..." This makes "miles" a noun used as an adverb to the ellipsed "was."
7. "Peculiar" is a predicate adjective after the gerund "being." The phrase functions as the object of the preposition. "Weird" and "harmless" are predicate adjective after the ellipsed "being."
8.