Annotated Paragraph

The little man handed round the Martinis
. We stood there and sipped them, the boy with the long freckled face and the pointed nose, bare-bodied except for a pair of faded brown bathing shorts; the English girl, a large-boned, fair-haired girl wearing a pale blue bathing suit, who watched the boy over the top of her glass all the time
; the little man with the colorless eyes standing there in his immaculate white suit drinking his Martini and looking at the girl in her pale blue bathing dress. I didn’t know
what to make of it all. The man seemed serious about the bet and he seemed serious about the business of cutting off the finger
. But hell, what if the boy lost? Then we’d have to rush him to the hospital in the Cadillac Cadillace that he hadn’t won. That would be a fine thing. Now wouldn’t that be a really find thing? It would be a damn silly unnecessary thing so far as I could see.


One could say that something is the same no matter how it is said but it is easy to overlook the creativity people use in order to grasp an audience’s attention.  For example, Roald Dahl uses a clever method of mystery and curiousness in order to intrigue his readers into divulging into his story. These tricks, as one may call them, can cause any ordinary story turn into one of great excitement and motivation all because of organizational and processed writing. In “Man From The South”, Dahl diction gives his audience a feeling of mystery and causes a wider interest in his reading. By creating a scenario where a bet of a man’s finger is being cut off against an old man’s Cadillac, he gains curiousity in that why would someone do such a thing. The need of someone’s finger seems like an odd trait to have so people would read on to find out why.

In this paragraph, Dahl shows us one of his effective word play patterns by creating a sense of mystery that has been relevant throughout the entire story. Immediately, the author uses a Martini as the choice of drink rather than saying they drank alcohol. Martini’s are a well known drink to most people therefore it is something they too can try to relate too. After showing the readers that the people have acquired their beverage, Dahl then goes on to create a way of showing other people’s thoughts through the expressions that each one has on their face. For example, Dahl shows that the girl is obviously intrigued in the young American sailor while the old man who organized the bet, has interest in the girl. The protagonist, an innocent witness, is very confused as there is a random bet with people he has never met before.

After creating an emotional view, Dahl then continues with the main plot by having the protagonist think about the results of the bet. He uses irony as to say the man will have to be dropped off in the same Cadillac he is trying to win. After recalling the bet he finishes the paragraph strongly in trying to prove the ridiculousness of the bet and what people would go through in order to win something. He uses the phrase “damn silly unnecessary” which sounds like a run-on but these words actually form a childish thought when someone reads it. This diction shows the stupidity of the bet and while it may seem like a little kid may say this, someone immature may also take part in such a bet.

The story of Roald Dahl’s “Man From The South” is based on placeing a scenario between an old man and a young American Sailor. By using correct diction, Dahl is able to suck his readers into a story by creating interest and mysteriousness. Some of his words chosen obviously show he knows what he’s writing. He has written many notable novels that are well known such as “James and The Giant Peach” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. Both of these stories also include odd scenarios but the reason it is well loved is because of the creativity that Dahl makes into writing his works.

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