The Late Twentieth Century: 1960-2000 - Short Fiction

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Identify three examples of sensory language in Ahdaf Soueif's "Sandpiper".

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Sensory language is any language that paints a vivid picture through engaging as many senses of the reader as possible in order that they might be able to not just see the scene that is being described, but also, smell, taste, hear and feel it too. Examples of sensory langauge from this excellent short story that was first published in 1994 might therefore be as follows:

Balancing, the toes of one bare foot on the hot stone, looking for the next clear space to set the other foot down.

Note how this example presents the heat of the stone that has warmed up in the sun as well as the visual description of the path the speaker is describing.

Sensory language is used in this quote to describe the sea:

Each wave coming in is different. It separates itself from the vast, moving blue, rises and surges forward with a low growl, lightening as it approaches to a pale green, then turns over to display the white frill that slides like a thousand snakes down upon itself, breaks and skitters up the sandbank.

Note how this quote makes reference to the sound of the incoming wave as well as the very visual description of how it comes in then retreats.

Lastly, consider how the sand is described in this quote:

I used to sit in the curve and dig my fingers into the grainy, compact sand and feel it grow wetter as my fingers went deeper and deeper till the next rippling, frothing rush of white came and smudged the edged of the little burrow I had made. Its walls collapsed and I removed my hand, covered in wet clay, soon to revert to dry grains that I would easily brush away.

The sensory language uses the senses of touch and sight to describe the feel of the sand and how the speaker experiences it as she digs her hands into it.

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