The young student Gervase Phinn meets, Joseph Richard Barclay intrigues Phinn as he calls Joseph his companion which shows Phinns interest in Joseph and his respect towards him as if he was a grown up. We are also impressed by the fact Joseph introduces himself like a grown up by shaking Phinns hand. The fact that Joseph speaks in an old fashioned manner and uses sophisticated words like “Perished” and “skirmished” is unusual for an eleven year old which gives us the impression that he is not ordinary like the rest of his classmates.
Joseph’s language is inappropriate for a boy of his age he not only speaks in an outdated and mature way but his language is more like a teachers way of speaking as he says he has to “collect the register” like a teacher does. Also he uses old phrases like “hale and hearty” and “ship-shape” which shows he is organised ,speaks oddly and he his behind his times, and the fact that he is the only child that does not speak the dale dialect indicates his uniqueness and his inferiority over the other children.
Additionally the repetition of the word old-fashioned shows Phinns curiosity in Joseph and emphasises how different Joseph is compared to the other children and how he is dressed as a 1950s school boy and stands out from the rest. The way he dresses reflects the manner of speech and his behaviour which are also behind the times as is the way he dresses.
The greyness of josephs clothes is portrays his character which is sombre and conservative unlike a boy of his age also we don’t normally associate grey clothes with a child due to the darkness of the colour and because we normally think of bright clothes for children. Joseph is a serious child and when Phinn says that Josephs “quite the expert” as a joke Joseph takes it literally and “nodded seriously” which makes us wonder if he has any sense of humour. Unlike the other children Joseph stays in at break time tidying up the library which we don’t expect for a boy of his age which adds to his peculiarity.
Moreover he wrote an account of the schools history which is atypical for a boy of his age to be intrigued in such a thing while the rest of the children of his age are more playful and would not do such a thing just for the fun of it. “Miss precious precocious pupil” is very adult like for his age, Phinns usage of alliteration here and the triple plosive is rhythmical and nearly a rhyme which emphasises his unique intelligence as a child and strong impact Joseph has on Phinn.