Style of writing in lines 76-88

Here we focus on the style of language in lines 76-88 in the short story “You are here” by Dana Miltins. This is the passage where the snakecatcher captures the snake, and the woman witnesses his gentle handling of the animal. The passage is relevant because it illustrates the shift in the woman’s attitude towards the snake and, thereby, her hopes of becoming pregnant soon. See if you can link your analysis of the language in these lines to your analysis of the short story as a whole.

The passage contains many descriptive adjectives, which help in creating a vivid image of the scene. There are many positive words, which suggest that the woman’s perspective on the snake is changing from negative to positive. As she sees it up close, she is impressed by its beauty and size. She also notices several details about it: “beautiful length of striped brown muscle” (l. 79), “the tiger stripes and the size of its head” (ll. 83-84), and “the smooth pale belly” (l. 86). 

Seen from the woman’s perspective, the snakecatcher’s way of capturing the snake is described much like a seduction. He is “fast and gentle” (ll. 77-78), he “strokes the belly (…) and says something to it (….), lifts the snake to cradle it in his arms” (ll. 80-82). The snake is described as receptive to his handling: “moving slowly through his arms and ha...

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