Language and style

Here we discuss both language and author's style of writing of the excerpt from the short story “I Can Be Someone” by Jayne Bauling.


The language used in the excerpt text from “I Can Be Someone” by Jayne Bauling reflects several things: the age of the characters, their social status and their ethnic background.

The characters talk like typical teenagers, using slang words and slight irony. Furthermore they mix regional dialect with English: “Stupid wannabe izikhothane. See them in civvies out of school and you’ll realise what no-swag fakes they are.” (p. 140, ll. 38-39)


Style of writing

The author has an informative and sympathetic style of writing. The plot is actually revealed from the very beginning through an introductory passage (p. 238, ll. 1-5), inciting readers through a rhetorical question: “How can he say ‘no’ to his landlord and still keep his home?” (p. 238, l. 5)

However, when the story actually begins, the author mainly presents information about the characters using direct speech and very few narrative passages rendering the thoughts of the protagonist.


Here are some specific stylistic devices the author uses in order to make the story more attractive:

  • Rhetorical questions
  • Irony and humour
  • Imagery
  • Similes
  • Ellipsis


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