Style of language

In his short story “A Small, Good Thing”, Raymond Carver uses language characterized by a mix of formal and informal styles. The informal style can be recognized mainly in the dialogue, where contractions and informal expressions are used to convey a natural speaking style: “ ‘You know what I mean,’ he said. ‘Juice, something. I don't know. I don't know anything, Ann. Jesus, I'm not hungry, either.’ ” Here, we also notice that the distinction between the narration and the dialogue is marked through quotation marks. The formal style can be noticed in the narrator’s descriptions, where he does not use contractions:

They listened carefully. Although they were tired and in anguish, they listened to what the baker had to say. They nodded when the baker began to speak of loneliness, and of the sense of doubt and limitation that had come to him in his middle year...

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in