The language of Angelica Gibbs’ short story “The Test” is generally simple and straightforward, making it easy to follow and understand.
The story relies on the dialogue between the characters but also on the descriptive passages introduced by the narrator. The informal language used in the dialogue gives the story authenticity but also helps with characterization.
Imagery plays an important part in the story and is constructed in connection with the setting, the events, and the characters. For example, the narrator helps the readers imagine the streets that Marian drives through: “Marian drove the car slowly through the shady suburban streets. It was one of the first hot days of June, and when they reached the boulevard they found it crowded with cars headed for the beaches.”;
Furthermore, imagery is used by the author to portray Marian: she has a “soft, unaccented voice” and “dark, competent hands”. This also contributes to her inner characterization, as readers can imagine her to be a hard worker.
The author also employs imagery to help readers understand the relationship between Marian and Mrs. Ericson and convey their state of mind: “They looked at each other and smiled with affection.”; “They smiled at each other again, rather weakly.”
The inspector’s character is also created through imagery: he is dressed in uniform, “very brisk and military”, a “genial, middle-aged man who grinned broadly.”. When he finds out that Marian is not Southern, the inspector “feigned astonishment.”, and he laughs so hard at her having a college degree that he has to wipe his eyes.