Style of language

The language used by Shirley Jackson in the short story “After You, My Dear Alphonse” is simple and imitates a natural way of speaking. 

At one point, non-standard grammar is used when the narrator focuses on how Johnny talks. He does not respect grammatical rules, which makes his speech sound typically childish. Consequently, his mother corrects him: “ ‘Boyd don’t eat tomatoes, do you, Boyd?’ Johnny said ‘Doesn’t eat tomatoes, Johnny.’ ” (p. 2, ll. 11-12) 

Dialogue plays an important role in the story, as this is how Mrs. Wilson finds out about Boyd’s family and expresses her prejudices. The characters’ dialogue sounds natural. Moreover, the way Boyd responds shows a child-like sincerity: “ ‘I imagine you’re all very proud of her?’ ‘I guess so,’ Boyd said.” (p. 3, ll. 6-7). This also shows his confusi...

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