The language of the short story “Greyhound Tragedy” by Richard Brautigan is simple and minimalist, making the text easy to follow and understand. The choice of words is related to movies, small-town life, and marriage, reflecting aspects of 1930s society in the US.
The language is often ironical and satirical, suggesting that the story is meant to criticize the aspects that it conveys (frivolity, status-pride, Hollywood culture): “A few times she even got dizzy and had to sit down. It never dawned on her that she could have called on the telephone.” ; “Her mother's memory had never been able to last until twelve. It usually pooped out around 11:30, but she was a good cook if the recipes were simple.”
The whole text is conveyed in the narrative mode (with no dialogue), in the past tense, as the events have already happened.
Imagery is used from time to time, in connection with the characters and setting, and it helps convey the protagonist’s perspective: “…the way home through the warm, gentle Oregon night, wanting to die every time her feet touched the ground. There was no wind and all the shadows were comforting.” ; “The man who sold the tickets looked as if he could have sold anything. He could just as well be selling washing machines or lawn furniture as tickets to other places. She was red-faced and nervous.”
Similes, metaphors, repetitions, and symbols contribute to conveying the story’s meanings in creative ways.
A series of similes are used to descri...