Language and style


The language in “Dad, Can I Come Home?” by Malorie Blackman is quite simple and straightforward. Except from a few terms related to an interplanetary war, the text is written in simple, Basic English. Terms such as “Tdir-ah” (p. 84, l. 9), “Zitunm” (p. 85, l. 11), “senso-blaster” (p. 85, l. 16), “capsule” (p. 88, l. 31) or “SAXICON ship” (p. 88, l. 32) are part of the terminology connected to Science Fiction. They represent imaginary places and objects. Still, they do not pose any difficulty in understanding the short story.

When it comes to the style of writing, the short story relies heavily on dialogue, as it depicts two telephone conversations. The sentences are quite short and fragmented, simulating the way in which a real-life telephone conversation would unfold.

To better convey the atmosphere of the story, the author employs several language and stylistic devices, which we will outline in what follows:


At the beginning of the story, we do not know that it was Eve who lost an arm and both legs in the war. It is only at the end that we realise the following sequence is a metaphor, as Eve lacks an arm: “”I’m fine, Dad.” Eve smiled again, stretching out a tentative arm to ...

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