Nightjohn Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. How would you describe the dialect and language style established in Chapter 1?

Immediately from the novel’s opening, Sarny’s voice and character are apparent. The novel is written in slave vernacular, which affects grammar, spelling, and syntax. Therefore, some of the narrative may be difficult for readers to understand. But, the language helps create a vivid portrayal of a slave’s voice.

2. How is Sarny's character introduced to the reader in Chapter 1? What does Sarny say brought Nightjohn to her?

Sarny, a 12-year-old slave on the Waller plantation, opens the novel by saying that this story is almost as much about her as it is about Nightjohn. There have been rumors that Sarny brought Nightjohn to the plantation through witchcraft, but she knows it was God that brought him to her.

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