Language

Style of writing

The language of the short story “Let’s Go to the Videotape” by Fiona Maazel is generally accessible, although certain sentences may be harder to understand due to their length and vocabulary: “The bike had been this year’s Christmas surprise because Gus was five and not so much depressed as departed from faith that the universe doled out her favors equitably”. The language can also appear fragmented as comments and explanations are sometimes inserted in the middle of a sentence: “the loss of Nick’s wife – Gus’s mom –  three years ago in a car accident”. This is done to draw attention to the line, bring clarifications, or strengthen the message of the text. Sometimes the fragmented impression also comes from the fact that we follow Nick's stream of consciousness.

The choice of words indicates a mainly informal style of writing. Certain informal expressions, such as “shied away” or “flipped through”, are used. Contractions such as “doesn’t”, “aren’t”, “that’s”, etc. are present throughout the text. They are used mainly in the dialogue, giving it authenticity and conveying a feeling of familiarity between the characters. However, the text also contains formal elements, such as complex words and phrases: “All these moments relished, extolled, and filed away in a vault of memories no one else would open”. The text also employs specialist terms such as “Subdural hematoma” to name the wife’s cause of death, and “sui generis” to name a concept of the creative arts meant to express uniqueness.

Descriptive language

Descriptive language is present throughout the text and is usually constructed in connection with the characters and the setting. The author makes use of vivid and descriptive language which appeals to human senses to add depth to the story. This is very common of fiction.

For example, language that refers to appearance, movement, and touch is used to describe the setting of the story and the atmosphere: “The studio was warm. Sweat dribbled down the host’s neck, which someone kept blotting with a paper towel”. This helps to suggest that Nick and Gus are in an uncomfortable situation. Similarly, the narrator also uses language that ...

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