Style of language

The language used by Paul Laurence Dunbar in the short story “The Lynching of Jube Benson” is formal, yet easy to understand. Complex words and expressions, like “in lieu of”, “impecunious”, and “ensue” reflect the formal style of the 1900s. 

The main purpose of the language is, however, to illustrate the differences between white and black people. In this light, the choice of words illustrates Dr. Melville’s ingrained racism. For example, he calls Jube Benson a “nigger” and a “negro”, which are now offensive words used to insult black people (but which were quite often used at the time the story takes place), and “a monster”. By using these offensive terms, Dr. Melville unconsciously creates distance between himself and Jube Benson. 

Then, the choice of words illustrates Dr. Melville’s dual nature. During his friendship with Jube Benson, he describe...

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