I pictured that handsome stripling in the factory, working hard. This made her horny. (Days at the Factory)

Why is there a comma? I think this structure is "picture object doing something" but this comma divides this sentence, making this "working" look like part of a present participle construction.


Your interpretation is correct: working hard is an object complement.

The comma is the author's way of indicating the flow of thought: first the narrator imagines the boy in the factory, and then 'supplements' this fantasy with the additional detail that he is working hard.

  • But it could also be interpreted that this comma is just a marker to make it clear that working hard modifies the stripling, because in the factory is between the two. Just for clarity.?
    – user2492
    Jul 25 '14 at 14:03
  • @username901345 No: it would require a quite exceptional context for working hard to modify anything else. Jul 25 '14 at 14:14
  • I would say this is a bit odd to me, because you picture someone doing something, like this it should flow like that. This doing should not be an appendage or extra info to this man.
    – user2492
    Jul 26 '14 at 10:23
  • @username901345 It's a developing fantasy--the author builds the 'picture' in steps. You might think of it as analogous to a movie script: first you see the boy's face in closeup, with the factory setting in the background, then it pulls out to show the boy in a medium shot and you become aware that he is working hard. Jul 26 '14 at 14:17

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