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Author Study: Terry Pratchett Curated by Ryuichi Yanagi '18


Pratchett uses a variety of different devices to convey his meanings within his writing.

His style differs greatly from other authors: his extensive usage of footnotes within the text and his conversational diction when narrating are both a testament of such. Out of his forty-one stories in the Discworld series, only a mere handful do not have footnotes; even some of his short stories of only a couple thousand words contain footnotes. Pratchett uses these to elaborate on backstories within the story and to further set up his universe of Discworld for readers who wish to know more, yet is not required to understand the plot of the novel itself. His wording is such that the novels are entertaining to read while still exploring concepts of the world. Pratchett's humor is also extensive with an extremely British feel:

“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” 

Pratchett also uses satire extensively in his books. For example, in Good Omens, which he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman, the apocalyptic horseman famine is characterized as a businessman that runs a fast food company, showing the reality of unhealthy eating and how it starves people of nutrients. In other novels, such as Wyrd Sisters, Pratchett uses the common known story of Macbeth from Shakespeare to set his scene in Discworld and invoke further feelings within their readers by allowing them to draw parallels between the two. This also has the additional effect of letting younger readers or other readers less inclined to read Shakespeare a good chance to experience to plot explored in Shakespeare while retaining the entertainment factor of his style. 

“The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it's as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.”