The Printable KISS Grammar Workbooks The Theodore Dreiser Page
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From The Lost Phoebe by Theodore Dreiser
Noun Absolutes Ex # 3
Analysis Key

1. More often, the moonlight [#1] or some sudden wind stirring [#1] {in the trees} or

reconnoitering animal [#1] arousing him [#1], he would sit up and think, or pursue

his quest (DO) {in the moonlight or the dark}, a strange, unnatural, half wild, half

savage-looking but utterly harmless creature [#2], calling [#3] {at lonely road crossings}

staring [#3] {at dark and shuttered houses}, and wondering [#3] where [#4], [where

Phoebe could really be]. |

2. They begged him to stay [#5] {to dinner}, intending [#6] to notify the authorities

later and see [#6] [DO what could be done (P) ]; | but [Adv. to the following "not" 

though he stayed to partake [#7] {of a little something}], he did not stay long, and

was off [#8] again {to another distant farmhouse}, his idea [#10] {of many things to do [#9]}

and his need {of Phoebe} impelling him [#10]. | So it went {for that day and the next 

and the next}, the circle [#11] {of his inquiry} ever widening [#11]. |

1. "Moonlight or ... wind stirring" and "animal arousing him" are cores of noun absolutes that function as adverbs (of cause) to "would sit up," "think," and "pursue." "Him" is the direct object of "arousing."
2. "Creature" is an appositive to "he."
3. "Calling," "staring" and "wondering" are gerundives to "creature."
4. This is another case that you will almost certainly not find in a grammar textbook. We can explain the first "where" as the direct object of "wondering" and the following clause as an appositive to the first "where." I would not argue with anyone who wanted to explain the clause itself as the direct object, and the repeated "where" as simply an emphatic appositive.
5. "Him" is simultaneously the indirect object of "begged" and the subject of the infinitive "to stay." The infinitive phrase is the direct object of "begged."
6. "Authorities" is the direct object of the infinitive "to notify." The infinitives "to notify" and "see" function as direct objects of "intending."
7. The infinitive "to partake" functions as an adverb (of purpose) to "stayed." Note that, alternatively, the infinitive can be explained as including the "of," thereby making "something" the direct object of the infinitive.
8. "Off" can be considered part of the finite verb because "was off" is idiomatic for "departed."
9. The infinitive "to do" functions as an adjective to "things."
10. The noun absolute "idea ... and ... need ... impelling him" functions as an adverb to "was off."
11. "Circle ... widening" is the core of a noun absolute that functions as an adverb to "went."