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Much of the story is told in the present tense, as though it is happening at the moment. The past tense is introduced only as a means of filling in the present narration. Such an emphasis on the present might be explained in a number of ways: (a) The use of the present tense makes the story especially vivid. (b) The symbolic value of the story is enhanced by being narrated in the present, as though troubles like those of Jones' are constant and continuous, not elements of the past. (c) In relationship to the story’s end (“they enter the shining rooms”), the present tense connects the events to the future; in other words, because Jones’s strength is established as a present characteristic, it suggests that this same strength will be his defense against future onslaughts.
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