Study Guide

Crispin: Cross of Lead Writing Style

By Avi

Writing Style

Linear, Clear but Poetic

Like a road between small villages, the plot moves along in a straight line in Crispin: The Cross of Lead, meaning we don't need to worry about flashbacks or tangents. And for the most part, we don't have to pick through a lot of flashy figurative language to figure out what the author means, either, though the language used by the characters is lovely and lyrical at the same time. For example, check out this scene where Bear teaches Crispin to play the recorder:

He began by instructing me about the pipe's holes—the stops, he called them—and the way to shape my mouth around the blowing end, how to shift my fingers, how to make different sounds.

Reluctantly, I took up the recorder, and with fingers like soft clay, tried to play. What came out were sorry, shallow squeaks. "You see," I said, "I can't do it." I offered him back his pipe. (26.1-2)

This passage gets straight to the point, but it does so in an elegant way. There's no confusion about what's happening, but phrases like "fingers like soft clay" add a poetic element to the mix, too.

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