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Style (Easy Novel Guide)


The author's style has to do with the author's choice of words, use of images and the mood in the story. It has to do with the author's feelings towards the subject. In some stories humor and irony are used. Other stories are emotional, cold or dramatic.

Extracts from novel

Extracts from the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone used in the analysis.

Extract 1

If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild – long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins. In his vast, muscular arms he was holding a bundle of blankets. (Description of Hagrid)

Extract 2

"S–s–sorry," sobbed Hagrid, taking out a large, spotted handkerchief and burying his face in it. "But I c-c-can’t stand it – Lily and James dead – an’ poor little Harry off ter live with Muggles – " (Hagrid talks about Harry’s dead parents and how he has to stay with the humans, the Muggles)

Extract 3

“Yes, yes, it’s all very sad, but get a grip on yourself, Hagrid, or we’ll be found," Professor McGonagall whispered, patting Hagrid gingerly on the arm as Dumbledore stepped over the low garden wall and walked to the front door. He laid Harry gently on the doorstep, took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry’s blankets, and then came back to the other two. For a full minute the three of them stood and looked at the little bundle; Hagrid’s shoulders shook, Professor McGonagall blinked furiously, and the twinkling light that usually shone from Dumbledore’s eyes seemed to have gone out.(From the delivery of the orphan Harry at the Dursleys’ doorstep)

Extract 4

“Look"– he murmured, holding out his arm to stop Malfoy. Something bright white was gleaming on the ground. They inched closer. It was the unicorn, all right, and it was dead. Harry had never seen anything so beautiful and sad. Its long, slender legs were stuck out at odd angles where it had fallen and its mane was spread pearly white on the dark leaves. Harry had taken one step toward it when a slithering sound made him freeze where he stood. A bush on the edge of the clearing quivered... Then, out of the shadows, a hooded figure came crawling across the ground like some stalking beast. Harry, Malfoy, and Fang stood transfixed. The cloaked figure reached the unicorn, lowered its head over the wound in the animal’s side, and began to drink its blood. (from the first time Harry meets Voldemort)

Some useful words
Behavior = atferd
Dolphins = delfiner/delfinar
Bundle = bylt
Blankets = laken, tepper/laken, teppe

Villains = skurker/skurkar
Unicorn = et fabeldyr, ofte en hest med ett horn/eit fabeldyr, oftast ein hest med eitt horn
Quivered = skalv
Wound = sår

Look at the extracts. Which extract do you find most dramatic? Which one is a bit humorous? Can you find an extract that is a bit ironic and one that seems emotional? Most readers would find Extract 4 most dramatic (the first meeting between Harry and Voldemort), Extract 1 humorous (the description of Hagrid) and Extract 2 a bit ironic (how uneducated, but nice Hagrid seems) and Extract 3 emotional (how Harry is left with the Dursleys). Why is that?

A good idea is to look at the language and the words that are used. How does that differ in the extracts above? Can you spot any differences?

Another way to analyze this is to look at the images used in the text. In Extract 1, we find a lot of comparisons; here is one: He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. Can you find others?

In Extract 3: -- the twinkling light that usually shone from Dumbledore’s eyes seemed to have gone out. A “twinkling light” is an image that tells us that Dumbledore usually is a humorous guy, but this time he is really sad. In Extract 4 we find a symbol; the unicorn. If you make a search entry for “unicorn”, words such as, “mythical”, “beautiful”, “hope", "purity" and "innocence” will pop up. So, killing a unicorn and drinking its blood, is really mean and bad.

  • To analyze the style you should look at the language, the words and the images that are used.