Study Guide

The Ear, the Eye, the Arm Writing Style

By Nancy Farmer

Writing Style

Imaginative, Detailed

Nancy Farmer's style is very imaginative, and The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm is loaded with awesome details and powerful images. The novel's descriptive style allows us to fully imagine the settings, characters, and events, even if they are in a place (Zimbabwe) and time (2194) different from our own. Check out one of our first descriptions of the detectives:

Ear, his ears safely nestled in the ragged muffs, could listen to the outside world without pain. Eye was able to look around confidently: ninety-five percent of his eyesight was blocked out. Arm had to suffer the hate, greed and anger boiling around the suburb known as the Cow's Guts. Only an occasional whiff of kindness, like a pale flower wilting in an alley, softened his pain. (6.17)

It's clear that these aren't your ordinary cops. For one thing, they look different and each has a special ability. We're only really able to picture them so clearly in our minds because Farmer gives us a whole heap of details about them. And it's this attention to detail that also gives this novel its suspense. Farmer is sure to include tiny details here and there that give us hints about what's really going down—but she doesn't draw the curtain all the way back until she's ready to pack a punch plot-wise.

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