. 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 husbands response. He answers sharply which leads us to think that Mr Jordan is trying not to bring up the exam... The boys 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 mothers eyes and the scowl on his fathers 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 Its 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 Dickies questions, Because it just did, thats 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 Dickies 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 consequence of this use of language...
The reassuring language of Mr Jordan Now, its 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 isnt.
This line and the ones which follow, Its just to make sure you answer the questions truthfully. make us wonder about the seemingly insignificant comments that have been said previously, namely about Dickies intelligence, as it gives us an idea that this may have something to do with the un usualness of the exam... When Dickies mother composed her face into a misty smile, this language gives us the idea that she is only putting the smile on for Dickies benefit, which furthers the concept that the exam is not like others, and Dickies 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 fathers 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 Jordans 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 tu nicked 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 attendants 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 boys 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-dialed computing machine and so this builds up the readers expectations even further, and the language used such as Ill leave you alone now is not normal for an exam either. All of this coupled with the reactions of the computer to Dickies 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 Jordans 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 Jordans reactions, The woman cried out which shows that the Governments 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 Dickies 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 Dickies questions incorrectly deliberately.