Style and Technique
The artist proceeds as a painter by addressing first and above all the visual sense. The design of the map from which he creates his city is shown in precise visual detail. Such visual detail applies to aspects of the city, its people and transport. Because the proportions are out of shape, what one sees is grotesque. Schulz makes rich use of adjectives that refer to decay and disintegration. The most widely used color epithet is “gray”: a gray day, gray-glassed display windows, that gray, impersonal crowd, those dirty gray squares. The author pays special attention to his language (the use of adjectives is only one element), and by means of certain pronouns tries to create the effect of an oppressive atmosphere, of the hopeless treadmill of life, of delusion and irreality. His paratactic syntax carries the effect of a certain monotony, appropriate to the setting of unrelieved grayness, of life beyond redemption. The story is very short (eight pages in the original Polish), yet its power rests on its concentrated linguistic texture, the incongruity of its pictures, and the unique and hypnotic imaginative flight of its creator.