Style of writing

The language of the short story “The Custom” by Charlie Patsauq is generally straightforward and easy to understand.

The tone of the story is generally formal – this is conveyed, for example, by the lack of contractions in both the dialogue and the narration. The more formal tone is suitable for the dramatic atmosphere conveyed in the story.

We also encounter indirect discourse in the story, for example when the narrator reports the old man’s thoughts, combining narration with his inner dialogue: “the old man knew what they were thinking about, abandon or take him?” (p. 217, ll. 9-10) This shows that the narrator has access to the old man’s thoughts, and also that the old man is aware of the difficult dilemma that his sons are confronted with.

Fragmented sentences are also used to emphasise certain ideas: “Just an old man, another mouth to feed. Useless weight when he sat on the sled as the dogs pulled.” (p. 217, ll. 2-3)


In “The Custom”, the author repeats certain ideas in a slightly different form for emphasis and to connect different parts of the ...

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