Language

Style of language

The short story “A Meeting in the Dark” by Ngugi wa Thiong’o is written in a formal style. The narration does not use slang or contractions, although the sentences are mostly short and simple. The vocabulary contains a mix of common words, and more advanced words, such as “portended”, “captivate”, “exuberance”. Since the story is mainly told from John’s perspective, this mix of vocabulary and style illustrates John’s duality and the various influences at work inside his mind. The formal, advanced vocabulary highlights his education. On the other hand, the frequent slip into simple, short sentences betrays his indecision. For instance: “He lay on the grass; he did not want to think. (…) He could not possibly face his father. Or his mother (…) He was no better than Wamuhu. Then why don’t you marry her? He did not know”.

Frequently throughout the narrative, we follow John’s inner voice, as he is frequently jumping from one thought to another: 

He met young men and women lining the streets (…) Would he have gladly chan...

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