Style of writing

The language used in the short story “Say You” by Sara Collins is simple, descriptive, and sometimes even explicit. We see early examples of explicit language when it is mentioned that “the home-grown boys who fingered the buttons on our jeans” (ll. 2-3) or when we get a description of “crappy gifts of beads and nails in the hope that it would be enough to get them nailed” (l. 19).

Most of the story is conveyed using the first-person narrator’s perspective: “We envied her all of this that much goes without saying – and Jewel Remedios lived for nothing if not to be envied.” (ll. 10-11).

However, there are also a few instance of dialogue, which make the story more dynamic and let the characters speak for themselves.

Often the narration uses fragmentation, helping introduce additional points and draw attention to aspects about the characters or the plot: “Jewel’s two best friends, Maxine and Sherry – the Stepsisters – reported to the rest of us, gleefully, that…” (l. 37).

Choice of words and imagery

The story includes various descriptive words that create imagery in relation to the way the characters look. Some examples are:  “penny-coloured hair” (l. 9), “dark eyebrows” (l. 9), “disciplined giggles” (l. 33), “a tall, quiet boy” (l. 36), “hard face” (l. 36), “close-cropped hair” (l. 73), “a large, black woman” (l. 92), “gap-toothed smile” (l. 116), “A short, curvy woman” (l. 134), etc.

A few other descriptive words convey setting elements: “swollen shark coloured rafts” (l. 12), “corrugated shoreline” (l. 13), “crappy gifts of beads and nails” (l. 19), “low wall” (l. 32), etc.

Setting-related imagery is also created through longer descriptive paragraphs, such as:

It was mid-August, the height of hurricane season, the mangroves were swollen with rain, th...

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