To contract or not contract

What makes a writer decide not to use contractions? Especially in a story written in first person, they seem like a natural choice to make it sound more like a person speaking.

In Borne, the narrator doesn’t contract. Saying ‘could not’ and ‘can not’ and ‘did not’ etc, isn’t exactly distracting, but I notice it now and then and think ‘why is she talking like that?’ Though, it’s only in the narration, not in the dialogue…

Why not to use contractions? Other than the tired, eye-rolly reason of trying to signify that the character is alien or robot.

There must be a reason. I noticed that Octavia E. Butler didn’t use contractions much in her novels either, though they were in 3rd person so I didn’t think much about it, just a stylistic choice. But when it’s a person supposedly talking to you, in the first person, it seems a bit strange.

I wonder what it means either way, and how/why an author would make that choice…


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