Mary Roach Writing Styles in Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Mary Roach
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Perspective

Stiff is written in both the first and third person, as well as both the past and present tense. When writing in the first person, Roach appears as a character. When writing this way, Roach uses the present tense almost exclusively. This lends the text both intimacy and immediacy. In these sections, the author is very "present" and the text reads as a traditional narrative, with the author telling the story of where she went, what she saw there, and to whom she spoke.

When speaking of historical matters, the author shifts to third person and employs the past tense. The tone becomes less intimate and more objective. Here the author is concerned firstly with communicating information. When facts are thin or incomplete, or when something particularly distasteful arises, Roach does not hesitate to add opinion and commentary. When this happens, the contrast is stark and often humorous...

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This section contains 777 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers Study Guide
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