Style of writing

The language used in the short story “Amnesty” by Nadine Gordimer mainly illustrates the narrator’s simplicity and ignorance when it comes to her fiancé’s involvement in the anti-apartheid movement. 

The narrator’s tone is straightforward and matter-of-fact and reflects the idea that she a simple woman. In an example that contains irony, the narrator associates the concept of an island in the sea with the feces of cattle floating in a puddle:

We all knew about the Island. Our leaders had been there so long. But I have never seen the sea except to colour it in blue at school, and I couldn’t imagine a piece of earth surrounded by it. I could only think of a cake of dung, dropped by the cattle, floating in a pool of rainwater (p. 26, ll. 17-21)

The narrator’s syntax is also basic, as she uses simple sentences such as “He was sent t...

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