The President of No Man's Land

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Smilla
Words 1062
Pages 5
Engelsk A, 2. Delprøve fra 22. november 2013

The President of No Man’s Land

Ali Smith’s short story “The Go-Between” from 2009, taken from a collection of short stories celebrating the 60th anniversary of the UN’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, deals with the difficulties of managing an abstract concept of human rights in real life and the effects on the human beings involved in the execution of this Declaration .

The text is presented by a first person narrator, which very cleverly engages the reader to be a part of the story telling and leaves him with a sense of an autobiographical experience. While this is not the case, the tone is primarily self-sarcastic, which e.g. manifests itself in the generous use of the term ‘Professor’, when referring to the main character in different circumstances. (p. 4, ll. 86+102+106). The language is all together dominated by an ironic metaphorical undercurrent, using linguistic instruments to compose the themes and intention of this text. Smith uses open questions to emphasize the interaction with the reader (p.2 ll. 1+11+27). She underlines the ironic importance of a statement by including exclamation marks (p. 4, ll. 87-88), which effects the text in such a way that it almost becomes oral to the reader. The style of writing is informal and light, almost like a story being told from one friend to another. Smith manages to keep the atmosphere light and semi casual although the themes touched upon are sometimes dark and grave.

In prolongation to this, the first person narrator, which is also the main character, becomes alive and reveals his qualities of self-sarcasm and irony, alongside a bright intellect, having a microbiology degree and the ability to speak several languages. (p. 3, ll. 31-33). The main character, a 33 year old Cameroonian man, left his home with nothing else than a…...

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