NGCW-Chapter 8


All exercises are taken from Alice LaPlante’s  The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing (NGCW).

Hills like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway

1. Point out places where word choice, syntax, and gestures help us understand how something is said.

“I don’t care about me.”
“Well, I care about you.”
“Oh, yes. But I don’t care about me. And I’ll do it and then everything will be fine.”
“I don’t want you to do it if you feel that way.”
The girl stood up and talked to the end of the station…

2. Point out places where the adage “dialogue is what characters do to one another” rings true.

“It tastes like licorice,” the girl said and put the glass down.
“That’s the way with everything.”
“Yes,” said the girl. “Everything tastes like licorice. Especially all the things you’ve waited so long for, like absinthe.”
“Oh cut it out.”
“You started it,” the girl said. “I was being amused. I was having a fine time.”
“Well, let’s try and have a fine time.”
“All right. I was trying. I said the mountains looked like white elephants. Wasn’t that bright?”
“That was bright.”

3. Point out places where the dialogue is deliberately non-grammatical in order to make it sound spontaneous and reveal emotion.

“Would you do something for me now?”
“I’d do anything for you.”
“Would you please please please please please please please stop talking?”

Inside the Bunker by John Sack

1. How does dialogue add to the essay? Would the essay have the same impact if there were no dialogue in it? Why or why not?

The dialogue illustrates the narrative of the story adding to the story considerably. The essay would not be the same without it and will likely be less believable as a result.

2. How does the author make the dialogue sound spontaneous? What techniques does he use?

By interspersing the dialogue and the narrative, the author makes the spoken words sound spontaneous and not forced.

3. How is the dialogue used to characterize the various speakers, as well as move the essay forward?

The dialogue illustrates the opinions of various speakers, directly from them. Instead of paraphrasing, the words and opinions are more realistic than they would be in narrative form.

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