Style of language
The language of the short story “The Lazy River” by Zadie Smith is generally easy to follow and understand. However, the language can appear fragmented. Comments and explanations are sometimes inserted in the middle of a sentence: “(…) belt out her famous torch songs—full-throated, already drunk—content in the knowledge that later, much later, when all of this is over, these same beloved verses will be sung at our funerals”. This is done to draw attention to the line, bring clarifications, or strengthen the message of the text. It also helps suggest the narrators’ worries and her refusal to confront them:
One day they will open a paper or a Web page and read for themselves about the year—2050 or so, according to the prophets—when the time will run out. A year when they will be no older than we are now. Not everything goes round and round. Some things go up and—.
Repetition is also frequently used within the story: “Round and round we go. All life is in here, flowing. Flowing!” It is used for emphasis and to enrich the descriptive language, as well as suggesting the repetitive nature of the guests’ lives.
The choice of words indicates an informal style of writing. Certain informal expressions, such as “going with the flow” or “we are all on board”, are used. Contractions such as “wasn’t,” “it’s,” “don’t”, etc. are present throughout the text.
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.
For example, the hotel pool is described as follows: “The Lazy River is a circle, it is wet, it has an artificial current”. Here, the narrator combines descriptions of appearance, touch, and movement to provide the reader with a vivid description of the main physical se...