Style refers to the to a specific author's methods of using tone, word choice, sentence structure, and voice in the text. Some writers have a very succinct, straight-forward style. Their sentences are simple, to the point, and not wordy. Other writers have a more verbose style. They use an abundance of words and get lost in the description of things. A writer's style of writing can affect our reaction as readers of the text.
The style of writing can also vary depending on the purpose of the writing. A science report should be succinct, straight-forward and focused on the text. A story about your favorite summer vacation is improved if you use a more descriptive style of writing.
Examples of Texts with Varying Styles of Writing
William Faulkner has a very descriptive style of writing, and it is easy to get lost in the beauty of the language as he describes minor details-like the dirt and trees outside this door in The Sound and the Fury:
The earth immediately about the door was bare. It had a patina, as though from the soles of bare feet in generations, like old silver or the walls of Mexican houses which have been plastered by hand. Beside the house, shading it in the summer, stood three mulberry trees, the fledged leaves that would later be broad and placid as the palms of hands streaming flatly undulant upon the driving air.
In contrast to Faulkner, Earnest Hemingway does not focus on minor, descriptive details. Rather, his writing style is more straight-forward, as is this passage from A Farewell to Arms:
A doctor came in followed by a nurse. He held something in his two hands that looked like a freshly skinned rabbit and hurried across the corridor with it and in through another door. I went down to the door he had gone into and found them in the room doing things to a new-born child. The doctor held him up for me to see. He held him by the heels and slapped him.
The following excerpt from Mark Twain's The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn demonstrates a narrative style, but it is also marked by colloquial word choice and the speaking style of a young boy in the American South:
Pretty soon it darkened up and begun to thunder and lighten; so the birds was right about it. Directly it began to rain, and it rained like all fury, too, and I never seen the wind blow so. It was one of these regular summer storms. It would get so dark that it looked all blue-black outside, and lovely, and the rain would thrash along by so thick that the trees off a little ways looked dim and spider-webby; and here would come a blast of wind that would bend the trees down and turn up the pale underside of the leaves...
Literary Terms Examples