The language of the short story “Saturday Afternoon” by Erskine Caldwell is rather simple and easy to follow. The occasional use of colloquial words and wrong grammar structures adds to the local color of the events and poses no difficulties in the overall understanding of the text:

"You're damn right, Tom. You know that gingerbread nigger that used to work on the railroad a long time back? Him's the nigger we're going to git. And we're going to git him good and proper, the yellow-face coon. He said something to Fred Jackson's oldest gal...

The author combines narrative and descriptive passages with dialogue, making the story more appealing and dynamic. Also, the use of the third-person narrator combined with the perspective of one of the characters hooks readers’ attention.


Imagery refers to the overall sensory output the story conveys, to the way the author manages to create descriptive passages which help readers imagine what is happening, the setting or how the characters look like. For instance, the opening imagery paints a very detailed portrait of the way Tom sits and the setting of the butcher’s shop: “The meat block was the only comfortable place in the butcher shop where a man could stretch out and Tom just had to rest every once in a while. He could prop his foot on the edge of the block…”

The imagery at the beginning of the short story is also related to smell, not only to visuals: “Tom's butcher shop did not have a very pleasant smell. Strangers who went in to buy Tom's meat for the first time were always asking him what it was that had died between the walls.”

Another relevant example of ima...

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