Narrative vs. dialogue

The language of the short story “Brokeback Mountain” by Annie Proulx is quite complex and detailed. The narrative passages are clearly different from the dialogue ones, establishing a border between narrator and characters. The narrator uses figurative, descriptive language, while the dialogue passages convey colloquial oral English, written in a way that captures the characters’ southern US accents: “The wind strikes the trailer like a load of dirt coming off a dump truck, eases, dies, leaves a temporary silence.”;

‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. It ain’t goin a be that way. We can’t. I’m stuck with what I got, caught in my own loop. Can’t get out of it. Jack, I don’t want a be like them guys you see around sometimes. And I don’t want a be dead.’ 

The choice of words is related to a rural setting and a cowboy lifestyle, reflecting the context of the events and the way the environment has shaped the characters.


Imagery is constantly used in the narrative passages, particularly in connection with the setting, which is meant to reflect the characters’ mood. Here are only two examples of t...

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