Style of language

The language used by Jhumpa Lahiri in the short story “The Third and Final Continent” is neutral. Throughout the story, the narrator’s tone is objective and detached, which results in a straightforward narrative. A formal style is introduced only during the interactions between the narrator and Mrs. Croft. When they talk, the narrator always addresses her with the formal “Madam” to suggest his respect: “ ‘I broke my hip!’ Mrs. Croft announced, as if no time had passed. ‘Oh dear, Madam.’ ‘I fell off the bench!’ ‘I am so sorry, Madam.’ ” (p. 16, ll. 18-21).

The sentences are either short or middle-length, while the choice of words highlights the main character’s background. For example, the narrator often mentions eating “egg curry” (p. 1, l. 10), which is an Indian dish. He also mentions “Tagore” (p. 6, l. 17), a Bengali poet. The mention of the “sari” (p. 13, l. 2) and the description of Mala’s appearanc...

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