The language of the short story “Hollywood” by Bobby Nayyar is generally simple and often ironic and humorous. However, the author occasionally uses Hindi or Japanese words to make the characters more credible: “samosas, tandori chicken, kim mar and sarg” (l. 14), “ladhla” (l. 13), “bescharum” (l. 160), “juku” (l. 103).

The author mixes different writing styles, as the story also includes a poetry line “Like a sycamore seed falling through the years as if in flight.” (l. 108), as well as the text of a postcard:

I hope you have been writing. I am still a sycamore seed.
 (ll. 189-192)

Another feature of the language is the mix between narrative and descriptive passages with dialogue, as well as parts which read like a confession, such as the opening lines (ll. 1-3). Also, note that the most important scenes of the short story are divided by blank spaces, so it is quite easy for the reader to understand when the setting changes or when other characters are introduced. For example, the cinema scene is followed by a short dialogue between Tarsem and Manny, but the two scenes are clearly separated by blank spaces so there is no confusion about them.

Finally, you should also pay attention to the more specific literary language devices (figures of speech) which make the story more compelling to the readership:

  • Imagery
  • Similes
  • Metaphors
  • Irony
  • Personification


When authors use descriptive passages in their works, they are usually meant to create imagery; to help readers construct mental images of what is happening, of the way the characters and the setting look, etc.



Similes – short comparisons and associations between different terms – help with the imagery, but also with creating humour in this particular short story.


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