The language of the short story “The Waste Land” by Alan Paton is unpretentious, easy to understand and many times symbolic. Since the story is written using the perspective of one of the characters, the language is also designed to reflect the man’s way of thinking, his background, and his feelings: “Death was near him, and for a moment he was filled with the injustice of life, that could end thus for one who had always been hard-working and law-abiding.” 

The choice of words mirrors the plot of the story and its setting, with many of the words being related to fear, death, anger and violence.

Remember that literary texts are usually constructed using intentional figures of speech, designed to create imagery and enhance the narrative qualities of the text. Here are some important figures of speech employed by Alan Paton.


In this short story, imagery is created through the depiction of the setting and the way the characters act. Descriptive words help us imagine them and the...

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