Style of language
In the story “The Guilt”, Rayda Jacobs uses neutral language, with a focus on the issues that highlight the social differences between Lilian and William.
When it comes to the choice of words, William calls Lilian “madam”, which shows a humble and respectful attitude towards Lilian as a white woman: “Yes, madam, but it’s five rand. I can clean madam’s garden” (p. 127, l. 15). The woman selling plants also addresses Lilian using this word: “Madam won’t regret it, madam will see. I’ll even give madam a special price, twelve rand.” (p. 126, ll. 30-31). The use of the word “madam” suggests that white people still have a social advantage over black South Africans, even post-apartheid.
When Lilian feels that she is in danger, the author uses one-word sentences that hint at her fear: “Racing. Frantic” (p. 128, l. 15). The one-word sentences also suggest Lilian’s shock of suddenly feeli...