Perspectives

Literary period

Published in 1974, the short story “The Custom” by Charlie Patsauq is part of the literary movement we call Minimalism, a literary movement popular in the 1960s and early 1970s. The literary style focuses on the surface elements of a story, uses brief language, and relies on context and symbols to convey the deeper meanings of the story.

Minimalist works are recognised through minimal use of words. The language is simple yet full of interpretative possibility, conveying complex emotional situations. We notice the minimalist style in “The Custom”, as it does not give readers a traditional description of the characters or a clear indication of the story’s message. The characters are constructed mostly through context and dialogue, and the readers are left to interpret these details to better understand the characters and the action. In terms of narrative techniques, “The Custom” uses symbolism and concise dialogue which conveys complex situations and emotions.  ...

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