Language

Style of writing

The language used by Henry Slesar in his story “Examination Day” is generally easy to follow and understand.

The narration is mixed with dialogue, and the distinction between the two is marked with quotation marks. The dialogue is generally followed by the narrator’s observations, which give readers insight into the characters’ state of mind: “ ‘Well, Dickie,’ he said, with a manly frown, ‘you’ve got an appointment today.’ ” ; “ ‘Good luck, son,’ his father said, without looking at him.” 

The narrator uses medium and long sentences to provide readers with details and connect ideas. Short sentences, which are usually found in the dialogue, emphasise certain ideas and build tension in the story: “ ‘Forget about it,’ he said. ‘He’ll do all right.’ ; “ ‘It’s nothing. It tastes like peppermint.’ ” Here, the short sentences convey Mr Jordan’s wish to avoid the topic of the test and, later, his intention of reassuring Dickie by making him feel that the truth serum he will be given is nothing to worry about.

Several adjectives are used in connection with the Jordans’ home and, later, with the Government Educational Building. The Jordans live in a “little apartment” with a “tiny wall-kitchen”, where a “warm and sweet”  cake is being prepared for Dickie’s birthday. Meanwhile, the government building has a “great pillared lobby”, Dickie and his father enter a “cold and official” room, etc. These adjectives create contrast between the imposing government building and the Jordans’ modest, but comfortable home. This contrast can also give readers the sense that, in the society that the ...

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