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SAMPLES OF STYLISTIC ANALYSIS
Thquire!... Your thirvant! Thith ith a bad pieth of bithnith, thith ith.... (Ch. Dickens)
At the level of phonetic description, of interest is substitution of consonants, which is rendered in writing by intentional violation of spelling: the graphon "th" replaces the letter "s" in the personage's discourse. This stylistic device serves for speech characterization, it shows the character's lisp.
My daddy's coming tomorrow on a nairplane." (J. D Salinger) To create an impression of the little girl's speech, the author resorts to graphical stylistic means: the graphon " on a nairplane" stands for "on an airplane" . The contracted form "daddy's" is used to show the informal character of communication (reduction of vowels is typical of colloquial speech).
"His wife," I said... W-I-F-E. Homebody. Helpmate. Didn 't he tell you? (Myrer)
Emphatic stress is rendered in writing by capitalized and hyphenated spelling of the word "wife". The stylistic device of alliteration (repetition of the initial consonant) in short one-member sentences ("Homebody. Helpmate.") strengthens the emphatic effect.
How sweet it were,...
To lend our hearts and spirits wholly
To the music of mild-minded melancholy;
To muse and brood and live again in memory. (A. Tennyson)
The repetition of the sonorant "m" at the beginning of successive words aims at imparting a melodic effect and creating connotations of solemnity.
Whenever the moon and the stars are set,
Whenever the wind is high,
AII night long in the dark and wet
A man goes riding by. (R. S. Stevenson)
In the analysed passage, stylistically of interest is a case of indirect onomatopoeia: repeated "w" is used to reproduce the sound of wind. Unlike alliteration, indirect onomatopoeia demands some mention of what makes the sound (see the word "wind").
"They're certainly going to hold on to her," Nicole assured him briskly. "She did shoot the man. " (S. Fitzgerald)
At the level of stylistic morphology, we observe transposition of the auxiliary verb "did", which is used not in its primary function but for the purpose of emphasis.
"You're the bestest good one - she said - the most bestest good one in the world" (H.E. Bates)
The emphatic effect of the above given utterance is achieved by intentional violation of English grammar rules (the rules of forming degrees of comparison). The nonce-words thus formed ("bestest", "the most bestest") create humorous connotations.
What else do I remember? Let me see.
There comes out of the cloud our house, our house - not new to me, but quite familiar, in its earliest remembrance. On the ground floor is Peggoty's kitchen,opening into the back yard.... (Ch. Dickens)
The reproduced extract is the author's narrative. Charles Dickens depicts past events as if they were in the present. This stylistic device (the use of present tense forms with reference to past actions) is called "historical present" ("praesens historicum" in Latin). It imparts vividness to narration.
"It don't take no nerve to do somepin when there ain't nothing, he voucan da..." (J. Steinbeck)
The stylistic purpose of the writer is to portray the character by showing peculiarities of his idiolect. Double negation ("don't take no nerve, etc.), misuse of person-and-number forms ("it don't"), colloquial speech form ("ain't'), and the substandard pronunciation of fhe word -'something", rendered in writing by the graphon "somepin'", - all this shows the low educational and cultural level of the speaker.
"I'm terribly sorry I brought you along, Nickie ", said his father, his post-operative exhilaration gone. "It was an awful mess to put you through." (E. Hemingway).
Father's tenderness and care is stressed by the writer in the diminutive form of the boy's name. "Nickie", compared with "Nick", shows that besides the nominal meaning the derived word has aquired emotive meaning too. Also, the contracted form "I'm", substandard intensifier "terribly", and the word combination "an awful mess" participate the conveying the atmosphere of colloquial informality.
The little boy, too, we observed, had a famous appetite, and consumed schinken, and braten, and kartoffeln, and cranberry jam... with a gallantry that did honour to his nation. (W. Thackeray)
In the analysed extract, stylistically of interest is the use of barbarisms. The events take place in a small German town where a boy with a remarkable appetite is made the focus of attention. By introducing several German words into his narrative, the author gives an indirect description of the peculiarities of the German menu and the environment in general.
"Fostered she was with milk of Irish breast, Her sire an earl; her dame of princess blood." (A. S.) The solemn, high-flown connotations of the utterance are due to the use of lexical archaisms, such as "to foster" ("nourish", "bring up"), "sire" ("father"), and "dame" ("mother"). The partial inversion at the beginning of the sentence and two metonymies ("breast" and blood") add to the stylistic effect.
Then they came in. Two of them, a man with long fair moustaches and a silent dark man... Definitely, the moustache and I had nothing in common (D. Lessing)
At the level of stylistic semasiology, of interest is a case of genuine metonymy. A feature of a man which catches the eye - his moustache - stands for the man himself. The metonymy here implies that the speaker knows nothing of the man in question; obviously, it is the first time those two have met.
At the top of the steps... amber light flooded out upon the darkness (S. Fitzgerald).
The metaphors "amber" and "flooded out" are used by the author to create a colourful picture of the night and the dark hall, part of which is illuminated by a ray of light coming from the room upstairs. The metaphoric epithet "amber" substitutes the non-figurative "yellow" (similarity of colour). The figurative verb "flood out" stands for the traditional "illuminate"; this transfer is based on the funcational similarity of water flooding the earth and a ray lighting dark space.
"Never mind", said the stranger, cutting the address very short, "said enough - no more; smart chap that cabman - handled his fives well; but if I'd been your friend in the green jemmy - damn me - punch his head-, God I would -pig'd whisper - pieman too, - no gammon."
This coherent speech was interrupted by the entrance of the Rochester coachman, to announce that... (Ch. Dickens)
The word "coherent", which describes Mr. Jingle’s speech, is inconsistent with the actual utterance and therefore becomes self-contradictory. Here, irony as a trope (the use of a word in the sense opposite to its primary dictionary meaning) contributes to the general ironic colouring of the author's narration.
In the parlors he was unctuously received by the pastor and a committee of three, wearing morning clothes and a manner of Christian intellectuality. (S. Lewis)
In the passage under analysis the author brings into play effective zeugma ("wearing morning clothes and a manner of Christian intellectuality") to convey the ironic attitude of the protagonist to the situation and the members of the religious committee. The affected insincere atmosphere of the reception is further sustained by the high-flown epithet "unctuously", which adds to the stylistic effect.
"I'm eating my heart out"
"It's evidently a diet that agrees with you. You are growing fat on it." (W.S. Maugham)
The semantic and stylistic effect of pun here is due to simultaneous realization in close context of the phraseological and non-phraseological meanings of the phrase "to eat one's heart out". The first speaker uses it figuratively, while the second one intentionally interprets it as a free word combination, thus creating ironic connotations.
Into a singularly restricted and indifferent environment Ida Zobel was born. (Th. Dreiser)
The narration begins with partial inversion, promoting the adverbial modifier of place into the most conspicuous position, thus adding relevance and importance to the indication of the place of action.
It is not possible to describe coherently what happened next: but I, for one, am not ashamed to confess that, though the fair blue sky was above me, and the green spring woods beneath me, and the kindest friends around me, yet I became terribly frightened, more frightened that I ever wish to become again, frightened in a way I never have known either before or after. (E.M. Foster).
The syntax of this sentence paragraph shows several groups of parallel constructions, combined with epiphora ("above me", "beneath me", "around me"), polysyndeton ("and... and..."), and anaphora ("frightened... frightened..."). These stylistic devices used in convergence create a definitely perceived rhythm, which helps to render the atmosphere of overwhelming inexplicable horror dominating the passage. The stylistic effect is reinforced by the masterful use of climax creating gradual intensification of meaning:
" What - a daughter of his grow up like this! Be permitted to join in this prancing route of perdition! Never!" (Th. Dreiser)
The represented inner speech of the character culminates in a number of exclamatory one-member sentences, which emphasize the speaker's emotions. The sentences are placed in inverted commas, but we perceive that the author's presentation of the man's words does not occur simultaneously with their utterance, and the pronoun "his" used instead of "mine" indicates the fact.
Being narrow, sober, workaday Germans, they were annoyed by the groups of restless, seeking, eager and, as Zobel saw it, rather scandalous men and women who paraded the neighbourgood streets ... without a single thought apparently other than pleasure. And these young scramps and their girl-friends who sped about in automobiles. The loose indifferent parents. What was to become of such a nation? (Th. Dreiser)
The subjectivity of Zobel`s evaluation is stressed by two parentheses ("as Zobel saw it" and "apparently"). They lessen the finality and disapprobation of otherwise negative qualifications of the alien (American) world. The structurally incomplete (elliptical) sentences and the rhetorical question at the end of the passage indicate the shift of narration from the author's discourse to the personage's represented speech.
Stylistic Devices of Different Levels Used in Convergence
Her mother, a severe, prim German woman, died when she was only three, leaving her to the care of her father and his sister... (Th. Drieser)
In the analysed sentence, two nonfigurative epithets ("severe" and "prim") appear in detached apposition. This provides them with additional emphasis, produced by independent stress and intonation.
Although nearly perfect, Mr. Murchinson had one little eccentricity, which he kept extremely private. It was a mere nothing, a thought, a whim; it seems almost unfair to mention it. The fact is he felt that nothing in the world could be nicer than to set fire to a house and watch it blaze.
What is the harm in that? Who has not had a similar bright vision at some time or another? There is no doubt about it, it would be nice, very nice indeed, absolutely delightful. But most of us are well broken in and we dismiss the idea as impracticable. Mr. Murchinson found that it took root in his mind and blossomed there like a sultry flower. (John Collier. "Incident on a Lake')
The extract is on the whole highly ironical. Ridiculing the "little eccentricity" of Mr. Murchinson, the author brings into play a number of various stylistic devices: the detached ironical epithet "nearly perfect" is followed by effective climax of meotical nature, which is combined with asyndeton ("a mere nothing, a though, a whim... unfair to mention"). The striking discrepancy between the monstrous idea and the way it is perceived by the character is realized through anti-climax ("... nothing in the world could be nicer than set fire to a house...") and further reinforced by two rhetorical questions ("What is the harm...? Who has not had a similar vision...?"). To crown it all, we had another case of climax ("nice, very nice indeed, absolutely delightful").
To stress the personage's obsession, the author resorts to metaphor and simile, which are used in convergence: "... it took root in his mind and blossomed there like a sultry flower".
"Ever do any writing?" he asked.
"Only letters," answered Anna, startled from her marking. It was obvious that Mr. Forster was disposed to talk, and Anna put down her own marking pencil. "Why? Do you?" she asked.
Mr. Foster waved a pudgy hand deprecatingly at the exercise book before him.
" Oh! I'm always at it. Had a go at a pretty well everything in the writing line."
"Have you had anything published?" asked Anna with proper awe. She was glad to see that Mr. Foster looked gratified and guessed, rightly, that he had.
"One or two little things," he admitted with a very fair show of insouciance.
"How lovely!" said Anna enthusiastically. ("Fresh from the Country ")
The passage represents an informal dialogue between a young school teacher and her colleague. The personage's discourse is interspersed with instances of the author's narration, which is marked by the use of bookish words (" deprecatingly", "gratified", " awe", "insouciance", etc.) and well-organized lengthy sentences, such as the following one, complicated by detachment: "She was glad to see that Mr. Foster looked gratified and guessed, rightly, that he had." The dialogue, on the contrary, abounds in short, one-member and elliptical, sentences ("Ever do any writing?" "How lovely!"). The vocabulary, too, participates in conveying the atmosphere of colloquial informality. Alongside with standard colloquial "had a go", it includes interjections ("Oh!"), contracted forms ("I'm"), the colloquial intensifier "pretty", and a word of highly generalized meaning ("little things").
A case of understatement ("One or two little things") in the end of the passage is used to render the affected modesty of the speaker, which is becomes clear from the subsequent author's remark.
A Sample of Complex Stylistic Analysis
J. Galsworthy. The Broken Boot (E.M. Zeltin et. Al. English Graduation Course, 1972, pp.88-89: finishing with the words ".. .walked side by side.")
The passage under analysis is taken from John Galsworthy's story "The Broken Boot". It is about an actor whose name is Gilbert Caister. For six months he had been without a job and a proper meal. He ran into a man whom he had come to know in a convalescent camp, a man who thought a lot of him as an actor and was tremendously happy to see him again.
To convey Caister's state of mind on the noon when he "emerged" from his lodgings, the author brings into play an abundance of expressive stylistic means and means of speech characterization.
Caister was humiliated by having been out of job, by having to wear old clothes and being hungry. He did not want to acknowledge his poverty and fought the humiliation by assuming an ironic attitude towards himself and things happening to him. The irony is conveyed by lexical means: the epithet "faint" and the bookish word "regard" (instead of "look at"). The stylistic effect is increased by the verb "long for" used in the context inappropriate with its high-flown connotations. Cf. Fixing his monocle, he stopped before a fishmonger's and with a faint smile on his face, regarded a lobster.... One could long for a lobster without paying....
The metaphoric epithet "ghost" and the euphemistic metonymy "elegance" add to the stylistic effect: Yet he received the ghost of aesthetic pleasure from the reflected elegance of a man long fed only twice a day.... The epithet "the ghost of .. .pleasure" forms a specific structure characterized by reversed syntactic-semantic connections (inverted epithet). "Elegance" replaces "gauntiness" because Caister does not like to think of himself as "gaunt".
Irony is accentuated by a mixture of styles (formal, intentionally well-bred vs highly colloquial) in the following: "/ shall be delighted." But within him something did not drawl: "By God, you are going to have a feed, my boy!"
To show Caister's attitude to his own distress and worry over his worn-out clothes, the author makes use of numerous stylistic devices: mixture of styles (cf. the use of colloquial "fancy himself and bookish "refitted" in close context); the vulger intensifier "damned"; the anaphoric repetition of "very" and "on", combined with parallelism: The sunlight of this damned town was very strong, very hard on sems and button-holes, on knees and elbows! Together with the actual tweeds, in which he could so easily fancy himself refitted...."
The list of devices employed in the second paragraph is by no means exhaustive. Find and interpret the meaning and function of the following.
of a man long fed... of an eyeglasses well rimmed... of a velour hat salved...;
under it was his new phenomenon... ;
Was it an asset or the beginning of the end?
that shadowy face;
atrophy, nerve, tissue;
When Caister ran into Bryce-Green, it was the latter's face that attracted his attention. This idea is emphasized by the use of metonymy. ...he had passed a face he knew. A chain of post-positive attributes with the metaphoric epithet "cherubic" gives a vivid and colourful description of Bryce-Green's appearance: Turning, he saw it also turn on a short and dapper figure - a face rosy, bright, round, with an air of cherubic knowledge, as of a getter-up of amateur theatricals." This description sets Bryce-Green at once in an opposition to Caister, as a prosperous well-fed, well-clothed man to a poor and nearly starving one. This idea is reinforced by the use of antithesis: And - elegantly threadbare, roundabout and dapper - the two walked side by side. It is a complex stylistic device, in which the first opposed part is constituted by another figure of speech, an oxymoron ("elegantly threadbare"). The antithesis is made prominent by detachment, which is marked in writing by paired dashes.
To conclude, one may say that within a mere page of the story Galsworthy displays an abundance of though and feeling, proving himself once again a brilliant stylist. The extract is a wonderful example of the author's consistency in the realization of his creative scheme - to achive and sustain ironic effect.
The text begins with the author's discourse which constitutes the first paragraph of the story. The second paragraph is the author's discourse intersperced with instances of Caister's represented speech. At the end of the chosen extract, there is a fragment of the conversation between Caister and Bryce-Green (the personages' discourse).
The author's discourse is marked by lengthy sentences of complex structure, such as the following: The actor, Gilbert Caister, who had been “out” for six months emerged from his east-coast seaside lodging about noon in the day, after the opening of the "Shooting the Rapids", on tour, in which he was allying Dr. Dominic in the last act. The bookish type of speech is also signalled by general bookish words: emerge, remake, jauntiness, regarded; fitted, aesthetic, elegance, phenomenon, reclined, conspicuous.
The use of words pertaining to the theatrical world creates a professional background: opening, on tour, act, production, amateur, theatricals, etc. Titles of plays, such as "Educating Simon", "Gotta-Campus ", etc., add to the stylistic effect.
Caister's represented speech is a peculiar blend of bookish and colloquial elements. On the one hand, there are no contracted forms in it, some sentences are rather lengthy and there are instances of bookish words; on the other hand, it contains elliptical sentences (Ages since he had eaten a lobster! Rather distinguished, perhaps...) and the vulgar intensifier damned.
Colloquial elements abound in the personages discourse -Caister and Bryce-Green's dialogue. Among them we find contracted forms (aren't, haven't); interjections (By George, Jove, By God); colloquial words (What sport we had..., here "sport" stands for the neutral "fun"; .. .you are going to have a feed, my boy! "feed" replaces "meals"); elliptical sentences (Haven't seen you... Doing anything with yourself?). All these elements serve to render the unofficial character of communication.
TRAINING TEST I
1. Choose the right answer to define the stylistic device in an underlined word:
I went back to the novel I had been reading, a Simenon.
a) metaphor c) personification
b) antonomasia d) metonymy
2. The stylistic device which is defined as “a figure of speech based on such an arrangement of parts of the utterance which secures a gradual increase in semantic significance or emotional tension” is:
a) inversion c) climax
b) enantiosemy d) euphemism
3. Give the definition of a functional style and single out the main functional styles according to Prof. Galperin’s classification.
4. Name the particular stylistic device, which is defined as “a figure of speech based on the use of the similar syntactic pattern in two or more sentences or syntagms”.
5. Define the particular type of euphemisms in the following phrases:
a) a woman of certain type c) children with specialneeds
b) a mighty reaper d) a sanitary engineer
e) Native Americans
6. Define the structural type of epithets in the following:
a) golden shoulders с) a devil of a woman
b) deep dark-blue crazy crying eyes d) unbreakfasted morning
e) a please-don't-touch-me-or-I-shall-cry look
7. Oxymoron is:
a) a trope which is based on the use of an evaluative word in the
b) a trope based on the transfer of meaning;
c) a figure of speech based on the play upon words similar in spelling
d) a figure of speech and a trope based on the combination of words with
8. Adduce illustrative examples of:
a) grammatic inversion
b) emphatic inversion
c) stylistic inversion
9. Enumerate the main types of detachment and adduce illustrative examples of each type.
10. What are the main structural and semantic differences between the metaphor and simile? Adduce examples to illustrate your viewpoint.
TRAINING TEST II
1. Choose the right answer to define the stylistic device in an underlined word: Не took little satisfaction in telling each Mary something.
a) personification c) antonomasia
b) simile d) oxymoron
2. A stylistic device “based on the deliberate exaggeration of a quality or quantity essential to an object or phenomenon” is:
a) metaphor c) pun
b) zeugma d) hyperbole
3. Give definitions of a trope and a figure of speech and adduce illustrative examples.
4. Name the stylistic device which is defined as: “a figure of speech based on the repetition of the syntactical pattern with the reversed word order”. Give illustrative examples of each type of repetition.
5. Define the particular kind of metonymy in the following:
a) from the cradle to the grave
b) hands wanted
с) I don't like either Jack London or O'Henry.
d) She wears only tweed and cashmere.
e) I prefer gold to silver with my evening dress.
6. Define the particular semantic type of metaphor in the following:
a. the branch of the bank
b. Ploughing is surgery.
с Life is full of dangerous corners if you drive at a high speed.
7. Detachment is:
a) a trope based on the use of a common noun instead of a
b) a stylistic device based on the play upon words;
c) a figure of speech based on the inverted word order in the
d) a figure of speech based on the separation of the secondary
8. Adduce illustrative examples of the main types of climax and define them.
9. Enumerate the main stylistic types of syntactic connection between the parts of the utterance and adduce illustrative examples.
10. State the difference between hyperbole and meiosis. Adduce illustrative examples.
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