Language

Style of writing

The language used by Robert Swindells in the novel Stone Cold mirrors the different backgrounds of the two main characters. 

Firstly, Link’s account is given in an interview-like fashion, as if Link is addressing somebody directly: “Hang about and I’ll tell you the story of my fascinating life” (0%). The pronoun “you” draws readers closer to Link’s story. This makes readers empathize with Link and his situation, and invites them to reconsider their opinions about the homeless: “Oh, by the way, if you’re wondering why I wasn’t attending job interviews all this time, I can enlighten you” (Daily Routine Orders 10, 60%).

As Link is a teenager, he uses slang and informal language typical for his age, like “dosh”, “boozer”, “punter”, “feller”, and “posh”. After he moves to London, Link’s language transforms and he learns to adapt to the new city by using street language. For example, he uses words and expressions like “green”, “doss down”, “piss off”, “grub”, “tapping”, “coppers”, and “the fuzz”, which he uses when he communicates with Ginger or other homeless people. 

Shelter’s account is given military-style, in the form of daily routine orders, which are orders related to military matters, other than operations in the field. His language mirrors his military background, as he frequently uses military terms and expressions like “It is 19.00 hours” (Daily Routine Orders 4, 0%), “recruiting”, “soldiers”, “marching”, and “Regroup. Devise fresh tactics” (Daily Routine Orders 12, 14%).

Shelter also uses informal terms and expressions which, in his case, mainly serve to highlight his prejudice and hatred. For example, when he talks about “the teds, the rockers, the Mammy’s boys” (Daily Routine Orders 3, 0%), he expresses his distaste for men he considers inferior to soldiers. He also uses expressions like “winos and crims and down-and-outs” (Daily Routine Orders 3, 20%) to express his hatred for the homeless, which he sees as useless members of society. 

Then, the novel relies on short sentences to create suspense, like in the following example: “So, you lie listening. You bet you do. Footsteps. Voices. Breathing, even. Doesn’t help you sleep” (Daily Routine Orders 8, 50%). Here, the short sentences highlight the tension that the homeless live in, as they are constantly in danger. In the following example, the short sentences reinforce the idea that ...

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