In this essay, T.G. will analyze and examine how Nelson DeMille utilizes purposeful and well- directionalized syntax to fulfill the creation of suspense and interest within his novel The Charm School.
Nelson DeMille spent three years at Hofstra University, and then joined the Army and attended Officer Candidate School. Being that he was a First Lieutenant in the United States Army, DeMille had seen much action in Vietnam. He then returned to the States and earned his degree in Political Science and History. Upon earning his degrees, DeMille started writing and his first major novel, By the Rivers of Babylon, was published in 1978. Many of his works, such as The Charm School, circle war themes and foreign affairs.
Nelson DeMille architects each sentence with such purposeful precision that we are obliged to lend discussion to his exquisite demonstration of syntax in this essay. DeMille had revealed the techniques he uses to keep the reader intrigued via interview with Talk City Network. “Well, I use the cliffhanger technique. I try to end every chapter with an air of suspense. I try to leave the reader wanting to turn the page. I try to use short sentences, short paragraphs and short chapters to keep the reader's interest” (Nelson DeMille, recorded by Talk City Network). The Charm School is the embodiment of such tactics that are employed by DeMille.
Although there is a surplus of dialogue within the novel, DeMille includes a third person narrative. Within this third person omniscient narration, DeMille explores syntax that binds the reader to the story. Rather than overindulging oneself with lengthy, run on paragraphs, DeMille provides paragraphs that allow for the reader to better enjoy and appreciate the literature. “Gregory Fisher listened to the short, distant ringing signals, very unlike the ones he was used to at home. He cleared his throat several times and said ‘hello’ twice to try his voice. The blood was pounding in his ears. He kept his eyes on the corridor. The phone continued to ring” (DeMille 32). The passage provided is the last paragraph of chapter three of the novel. The passage presents an example of both DeMille’s prime and illustrious use of paragraph length as well as cliffhanger. The character mentioned, Gregory Fisher, is an American tourist that is being hunted by the KGB. DeMille creates a realistic, hostile situation within the story that is heightened with his articulate use of syntax.
Yet another example of DeMille’s adroit writing can be found within the final paragraph of chapter thirty-one. “They walked down the long corridor, and another guard opened the door to the room where Hollis had written the appeal of his death sentence, the room with the bloodstained table and the straw bales against the wall. The execution room. Lisa hesitated, but the guard shoved her aside” (DeMille 403). Once again, DeMille perfectly executes the use of relatively short sentences, short paragraphs, and cliffhangers all for the purpose of maintaining the reader’s attention and interest. Russian agents are displaying no mercy towards their captive Americans, and the Americans’ relationship with death is growing. DeMille throws a nefarious scene at the reader and then immediately cuts it short. This use of syntax allows the reader to, again, stay appealed and captivated.
The importance and value of syntax in The Charm School is too great to not note and recognize. DeMille mastered the craft of employing syntax to stir emotion, capture interest, and ultimately create a story that bombards its audience with excitement and rapture. (T.G. 2016)