I read Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon last year, and there was some comma usage I’ve been curious about ever since.
For instance, I’ve just opened up a couple pages of it and saw that he has this sentence:
They move slowly, but without resistance.
Now this is interesting to me, because I thought you use a comma before a coordinating conjunction to link two independent clauses. To me, it seems like the comma might be unnecessary. Maybe it’s supposed to be a nonessential phrase, but I would think there wouldn’t be a but there.
So I guess to ask that question as well, I've also seen him do something similar that would be like:
They move slowly, without resistance.
Would that now be an example of a nonessential phrase?
I’ve also seen him do things like—and I’m just throwing in words here as an example—this:
They move slowly, coldly, without resistance, toward Mittelwerk.
I got used to this pretty quickly, and I know that these aren’t the best examples, but I was pretty confused by some of his comma usages when I first started reading his stuff, and so I was wondering whether anyone here had any explanation for what he has done here.