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Kantor uses a combination of narration and direct quotations. The narration is in a colloquial register, but still follows the grammatical conventions of standard edited American English. The segments of dialogue approximate a Southern dialect, and include many nonstandard features.
The narrative is written in the third person, using the past tense, with an omniscient narrator with access to the thoughts of all the people in the courtroom. These thoughts are narrated using free indirect discourse. The dialogue is also in past tense, but in first person.
An usual feature of the grammatical pattern of the dialogue is the use of dashes to indicate syntactic breaks or pauses between short phrases that are semantically related but do not actually cohere syntactically. Because they are often self-interruptions, this is technically referred to as the figure of anacolouthon.
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