How would the story be different if the diction the author used were more complex?
The short, monosyllabic words and diction in “Some Sweet Talk, Small Talk, From Will
Parr to the World”, by Thomas Fox Averill, evoke mood and characterize in a way that, without
them, the story would be very different. At the very beginning of the story, Will describes his
wife. “She was the first one in my life to let me speak. With few words or a lot, she let me talk.
And she talked back. She knows words. She knows them with the tips of her hands. She types.”
(Averill, 116). When Averill writes “the tips of her hands”, it is clear that he avoids saying
“fingers” or “fingertips” because he tries to use monosyllabic words. It seems to almost dance
around the intended meaning, which in turn creates a disconnected, distant feeling. Moreover,
the short, choppy sentences are slightly jarring, which creates a mood of anxiety or unease.
Through the use of polysyllabic words, the author could create longer sentences and more
accurate words, which would help avoid this disconnected, uneasy mood. Will goes on to
describe how he and Sue met. “I met her at work, her work, my dad’s place, when she would
stay late. I would come in to use the phone when the day was through. I was in sales, tin, at the
first of this new job.” (Averill, 116). Instead of something like “the beginning of this new job”,...