In Cry, the Beloved Country, what are some key things that contribute to Paton's style in this novel?
I'm having a lot of trouble understanding style, and I don't really know what to look for when trying to figure out the author's style.
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When we think about the style of a given author and how we can talk about it, you might like to think about the kind of vocabulary he uses and the way he writes. Is the level of vocabulary complex? Is it simple? Does it use lots of poetic devices? These are the kind of questions that will help get you started on an analysis of an author's style.
One of the aspects of style that becomes very clear about this amazing novel is that Paton is deliberately choosing to write in an incredibly simple style. He uses very little sophisticated vocabulary and his work is easy to understand. At points, especially in the first chapter and when we have the "repeat" of this chapter later on in the novel but from Jarvis's farm's perspective, the style becomes almost lyrical as Paton forces us to see the beauty of the land and what is happening to it:
The grass is rich and matted, you cannot see the soil. It holds the rain and the mist, and they seep into the ground, feeding the streams in every kloof. It is well-tended, and not too many cattle feed upon it; not too many fires burn it, laying bare the soil. Stand unshod upon it, for the ground is holy, being even as it came from the Creator. Keep it, guard it, care for it, for it keeps men, guards men, cares for men. Destroy it and man is destroyed.
This simple style then makes the message of Paton's work more direct and hard-hitting, and perhaps reflects the action of the novel though the perspective of its two central protagonists - Kumalo and Jarvis Senior, who, both in their own way, have a very straightforward way of looking at the world and are baffled by the situation in the city.
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