Writing Techniques in On the Beach

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Two of Shute's narrative strengths are dialogue and technical description.

Indeed, one of the elements that makes Shute so readable is dialogue that does not sound forced, and description that is specific yet unobtrusive. The description of the naval procedures surrounding the Scorpion and the Australian Naval office, for example, are clear yet substantial; there is a feeling after having read it of having been in the presence of an urbane yet friendly narrator. Urbanity is also a hallmark of the dialogue. In the novel, society is, for a time, continuing in its familiar tracks; the way we learn this is through the dialogue, through people telling each other their plans, relating how their day has gone, or, conversely, discussing the unthinkable in calm, matter-of-fact tones. At the very end, the feeling may be one of sentiment or sadness, but is never dramatic or maudlin; when John Osborne...

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This section contains 188 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the On the Beach Study Guide
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On the Beach from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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