Style of language

The language used by Helen Dunmore in the short story “My Polish Teacher’s Tie” is simple and easy to follow. When it comes to the choice of words, the author uses vocabulary related to school practices: “teacher exchange” (p. 100, l. 20), “OFSTED” (p. 102, l. 41). Readers can picture Carla’s job in the cafeteria with the help of words such as “tea and buns” (p. 100, l. 2), “serving-hatch” (p. 103, l. 25), “counter-flap” (p. 105, ll. 6-7). 

Dialogue plays an important role in the story, as it highlights the characters’ attitudes. When Carla talks to the headmaster, for instance, his reaction shows that he is prejudiced and that he does not understand why a catering assistant would want to correspond with a Polish teacher: “’Oh. Ah, yes. Of course.’ He paused, looking at me as if it might be a trick question. ‘Is it for yourself?’ ” (p. 101, ll. 7-8). When Carla imagines her reply to V...

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