Language overview

Siri Hustvedt’s essay “Living With Strangers” is a well-written, eloquent text. This is clearly an experienced writer who is familiar with non-fiction as well as fiction and has been exploring the topics of human behavior and the human psyche for years.

Her sentences are complete and fairly long . One example is this:

At the end of that bench sat a man with five or six plastic bags, and although he was perhaps twenty yards away, I did sense that he might be someone to avoid because even at that distance he gave off an aura of silent hostility. (ll. 39-41).

This sentence spans almost three lines in the text and is relatively complex. But because the writer generally writes very clear sentences, it is fairly easy to follow along.

Her choice of words and tone is neither formal nor informal. As regards the words she uses, most of them are easily understood. However, she is eloquent and sometimes uses more unusual words such as “As regards the tone Hustvedt uses, it is generally calm, thoughtful, and personal. At times even humorous, like her concluding example of the homeless man who asked her out for dinner (ll. 112-121). Hustvedt bases her essay on her personal, or subjectiv...

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