Noughts and Crosses: language

Noughts and Crosses: language

Language and Dialogue in ‘Noughts and Crosses’

  • ‘Noughts and Crosses’ is dominated by dialogues rather than monologues, showcasing an emphasis on interpersonal communication and relationships.

  • The author, Malorie Blackman, uses modern, everyday language to make the characters relatable, ensure accessibility, and reflect the contemporary setting.

  • Notice the variation in the language style of different characters. For instance, Sephy’s language often tends to be more formal and eloquent, symbolic of her upper-class background.

  • Callum’s language usually is simpler and more direct, reflecting his background from a less privileged part of society. The contrast in their language styles highlights the social divide in their world.

Language and Emotional Undercurrents

  • The language is laden with strong emotional undercurrents, especially when dealing with heavy themes such as love, racism, and societal inequality. The intensity and passion in the words should be reflected in your performance.

  • Blackman also uses a wide range of rhetorical devices. Look out for metaphors, similes, and allusion – they’re used to emphasise the societal gap, the emotional turmoil of characters, and the challenging themes the play deals with.

Use of Pauses, Silence, and Stage Directions

  • Pay attention to use of pauses and silence. These non-verbal elements often act as dramatic tools to enhance tension and convey unsaid emotions or thoughts.

  • Stage directions in the play often provide key insights into the character’s emotional state and provide cues for conveying the appropriate intensity and tone.

Use of Humour and Sentence Length

  • Despite the serious themes, there is use of humour in the dialogue. This lightens the mood at times and works as a powerful dramatic tool, especially when juxtaposed against the more serious events in the play.

  • Blackman often uses short, terse sentences in emotional scenes to increase the dramatic impact and intensity. On the contrary, longer sentences can indicate more reflective and introspective moments.

Importance of Understanding and Interpreting Language

  • Remember, understanding and interpreting language is integral to producing a powerful and effective performance. So, consider pitch, pace, tone and emphasis when delivering lines.