Notes On Examination Day

– Use Of Language Essay, Research Paper


When we understand that

Mrs Jordan is ?anxious? we know that something about the exam is different, and

this is further shown by the language Slesar uses to describe the husband?s

response.? He answers ?sharply? which

leads us to think that Mr Jordan is trying not to bring up the exam. ·

The boy?s description of

?alert eyed? and ?quick, nervous manner? implies that he is intelligent.? The reader thinks nothing of this, until we

realise that he is not meant to be clever, and so this constructs the story

well and keeps the reader guessing. ·

The language used to

describe the parents, ?moistness of his mother?s eyes? and ?the scowl on his

father?s face? is not what the reader usually associates with birthdays, and so

we get a hint hat this exam has a lot to be worried about. ·

Slesar makes Mrs Jordan

very vague with the language used ?It?s nothing to worry about? and so she is

reluctant to speak about the exam and we get a further development of this idea

because usually when someone says that it is nothing to worry about, it is

because the person is trying to reassure the candidate. ·

Mr Jordan is very vague

with all of his answers to Dickie?s questions, ?Because it just did, that?s

all?, and ?Five thousand miles?.? This

is another example of clever use of language because we do not know until the

very end of the story the reason why he is doing this.? We are led to believe that it is because he

is engrossed in the newspaper, but we later find out that it is actually

because he is trying to make Dickie as un-educated as possible, so as to fail

the test. ·

With Dickie?s quest for

knowledge, ?puckered his brow? we understand that he is a keen and intelligent

boy.? It is again, only at the end that

we realise the consequences of this use of language. ·

The reassuring language

of Mr Jordan ?Now, it?s nothing to worry about? lulls the reader into a false

sense of security as it is meant to do to Dickie.? This however, changes dramatically when he says ?They give you

this stuff to drink?. ?This is the first

hint we get that something about the test is not routine.? This clever use of language and the words

used beforehand give us a surprise because we expect the test to be normal, and

suddenly it isn?t.? This line and the

ones which follow, ?It?s just to make sure you answer the questions

truthfully.? make us wonder about the seemingly insignificant comments that

have been said previously, namely about Dickie?s intelligence, as it gives us

an idea that this may have something to do with the unusualness of the exam. ·

When Dickie?s mother

?composed her face into a misty smile?, this language gives us the idea that

she is only putting the smile on for Dickie?s benefit, which furthers the

concept that the exam is not like others, and Dickie?s parents know far more

about it than they are letting on to him.?

This becomes evident later on. ·

When the room is

described ?As cold and official as a courtroom,? it is presumed by the reader

that it not a friendly place to be, and so the candidate is not considered as

important, and they are not at all worried about putting them at their

ease.? The reason for this is evident

later.? However, the main reason for

Slesar using this language is to create a tense and hostile atmosphere so that

the reader feels as though they are there and going through whatever Dickie

goes through. ·

When the movements of

other boys in the room are described as ?leave his father?s side reluctantly?

then it is clear to the reader that the fear felt by both Dickie and his

parents is not unique to them and other boys feel the same too.? This implies that the exam is indeed

something extraordinary and not just the Jordan?s paranoia.? This helps build up the atmosphere in the

waiting room.? Another phrase that helps

to do this is ?A concealed loudspeaker crackled? because it makes the regime

look all the more officious and something to get upset or curious about. ·

When the attendant is

?grey tunicked? then this language furthers the impression of the hostile

environment and so the build up to the test becomes all the more immense.? When the attendant?s voice is described as

?softly? then this is again, trying to lull Dickie into a false sense of

security.? This gives the reader that

there is definitely an aspect of the exam to get worried about. ·

When we learn that

Dickie has a classification number, ?… is 600-115.? the atmosphere gets

tenser as the exam becomes more officious, and instead of names, mere numbers

are used.? This suggests that the boys

are not treated as human beings, but simply as statistics which pass through

the hands of the attendants every day.?

This makes is impersonal and all the fears about the exam that Dickie,

his parents and other families went through seems justified. ·

The exam becomes far

from normal when Dickie ?downed it [the drink]? and the attendant ?flashed a

tiny light into the boy?s eyes.?? This

makes the reader excited because they do not know what is going to happen next,

as the procedures are like nothing we have ever heard about before.? It is the language which has built up the

atmosphere and emotions which causes it to have this effect on us. ·

?We have not usually heard of an exam

involving a ?multi-dialled computing machine? and so this builds up the

readers? expectations even further, and the language used such as ?I?ll leave

you alone now? is not normal for an exam either.? All of this coupled with the reactions of the computer to

Dickie?s voice, ?a mechanism whirred? makes the expectations of the reader very

high.? However, the language is very

clever, because although we are told that Dickie is clever, we do not join this

with Mr Jordan?s negative reactions, the atmosphere and procedures until right

at the very end, and Slesar keeps the reader guessing until the very end, which

makes a good story. ·

The emotions of Mr and

Mrs Jordan ?Not speaking, not even speculating? show us that the outcome of the

exam is very important to them both and also to Dickie.? This still leaves the reader guessing

because we have absolutely no idea what the outcome will be. ·

The language used up

until the very end is very descriptive.?

?Clipped; a brisk official voice? and ?the voice droned on? makes the

reader aware that the Government are not perturbed by the outcome of the test.? However, this contrasts very well with Mrs

Jordan?s reactions, ?The woman cried out? which shows that the Government?s

news is devastating.? However, true to a

good story, we are still totally unaware of the outcome. · The final phrase, ?We regret to inform you…? shows

impending disaster, and this type of language is what keeps the reader on the

edge of their seat.? When the Jordans

are asked what they want done with Dickie?s body, we understand that he has

been killed because ?his intelligence quotient has exceeded the Government

regulation?.? This has to be one of the

most unexpected endings possible on a story and so this really surprises the

reader, and the language makes the story an excellent read.? It should also be noted the way in which the

language has tied in all the ideas of the story, and we are not left with a

shadow of doubt about anything, such as why Mr Jordan answered Dickie?s

questions incorrectly deliberately.


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