Style and Technique

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Last Updated on May 11, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 161

Though O’Flaherty wrote this story in English, it almost reads like a translation from his native Gaelic. The style is simple and straightforward, using few metaphors or other literary devices, and the brief paragraphs serve mainly as connecting points between the long portions of dialogue.

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In fact, it is the dialogue that is the true strength of this story, for it is full of Irish phrases and sayings (“God between us and all harm!” or “God spare your health, Colm”) that are both true-to-life and lively. This is a technique that O’Flaherty adopts again and again in his writing: simple (almost childish) prose that is strongly counterpointed by lively Irish peasant dialogue. Without the dialogue, this story (and many of his other works) would fall flat, for its theme is so universal and its prose so anonymous that it might have taken place anywhere. With the dialogue, however, the setting could be nowhere other than the west of Ireland.

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Themes