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Word Count: 897
In Literature by Robert DiYanni style is described as the way a writer chooses words and arranges them Style is the verbal identity of a writer as unmistakable as his or her face or voice John Updike in two short stories AP and Lifeguard can be seen experimenting somewhat with some different styles The uses of language in these stories largely determine the impression the reader derives about the main character Both of these short stories are written in a first person point of view the narrators are the main characters The similarities generally end here however While AP is a narrative in the traditional sense in which the main character narrates a sequence of events after the fact Lifeguard is more of a meditation by the narrator on his view of his world The narrator a theological student for most of the year uses many abstractions and intellectualisms in his rhetoric This language immediately distances the reader from the lifeguard who comes off as particularly arrogant The second paragraph of the story in which he describes his studies is a good example of his tone For nine months of the year I pace my pale hands and burning eyes through immense pages of Biblical text barnacled with fudging commentary through multivolumed apologetics couched in a falsely friendly Victorian voice and bound in subtly abrasive boards of finely ridged prefaded redI sway appalled on the ladder of minus signs by which theologians would surmount the void I tiptoe like a burglar into the house of naturalism to steal the silver The diverting productions of literary flirtswhether they regard Christianity as a pastel forest designed for a fairyland romp or a deliciously miasmic pit from which chiaroscuro can be mined with mechanical buckets strikethe note of the rich young man who on the coast of Judea refused in dismay to sell all that he had Between the excess of metaphors and obscure analogies
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