The language that Joanne Harris uses in her short story “A Place in the Sun” is generally simple and straightforward, making it easy to follow and understand.
The story relies entirely on the protagonist’s description of herself and the society she lives in. The informal language used in the dialogue gives the story authenticity but also helps with characterisation. For example, the protagonist uses informal terms such as “lipo” (l. 40) or “tummy tuck” (l. 41), which shows that she is familiar with plastic surgery.
Imagery and similes
The use of imagery plays an important part in the narrator’s characterisation. It shows that the narrator focuses on physical details, emphasising her superficial approach to life. For example, people who gain access to Platinum beach, the most exclusive of all, are flawless: a Platinum girl “never gets a blister, never a blemish (…) is sleek, groomed, plucked, airbrushed” (ll. 115-116), and the boys are “bronzed, buffed, lying on their Louis Vuitton towels” (l. 105).
At the same time, imagery serves to create an image of the society the narrator lives in. For example, imagery is used to portray other members of society. For example, the protagonist compares her friends to goddesses: “lounging on the beach like young goddesses” (l. 124). This emphasises their beauty but also the fact that the protagonist aims to look like them, and that she dreams about being treated like a goddess once she reaches what is believed to be an ideal state of beauty.
Also, we learn that the high beauty standards upheld by Platinum Sands™ do not only apply to people but also to the beach itself: “Weeds, stones and beach-life are painstakingly screened, examined and, if necessary, removed.” (ll. ...