Style of language

In the story “The Boogeyman” by Stephen King, the third-person narrator uses a formal language. There are no slang words or abbreviations, and the vocabulary is fairly advanced, for instance: “non-commitally” (p. 2, l. 31), or “sardonic brilliance” (p. 4, l. 11). This style of language used in this context suggests a high education and a scientific detachment consistent with a narrator who has access to Dr Harper’s thoughts.

The style of language used by Lester in his first-person account of the events is informal, using contractions and a lot of slang words. The language is also heavily descriptive, but with a high degree of emotional involvement. For instance:

Some back-country fuckhead with a stethoscope and a black bag full of Junior Mints and a sheepskin from some cow college. Crib death, he called it! You ever hear such a pile of yellow manure? The kid was three years old! (p. 4, ll. 13-15)

There is another purpose served by the highly descriptive language, which is to create an emotional response in the readers. The vivid descriptions of the dead children, as well as of that of the boogeyman, and the monster from the comic book from Lester’s childhood are all meant to provoke fear. The description of the physical environment, especially in the case of the new house ...

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