American story tellers and writers
Analysis "Making it all right" of King. The main styles of the works of Wilson. The short story "the Teacher" Anderson, their lexical characteristics. "Arrangement in black and white", written by D. Parker. "And âit to sing and dance" written by S. Hill.
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1. Making it all right
The excerpt under consideration comes from a short story by Frances King, a contemporary British novelist, poet and short story writer, whose career was closely connected with different positions with the British council in both Japan and England. He also worked as a theatre critic. However, he was famous for winning the W. Somerset Maugham Prize for his novel The Dividing Stream(1951) and also the Katherine Mansfield Short Story Prize. In 2000, he was awarded the Golden PEN Award by English PEN for "a Lifetime's Distinguished Service to Literature". style anderson lexical story
Francis King's short story Making it all right centres around Diane Lucas, a strong-willed woman who has the power of submitting weaker people to her will. Her name Diane is more than appropriate for such a woman hinting at the Roman goddess of hunting. This speaking name is used by the author to underline the predatory nature of this woman who has neither sympathy nor remorse. Her so called friend Iris Clark lost a husband and got herself seriously injured in a car accident and all Diane can think of is taking hold of Irise's house so her valuables would be “on show in their proper setting.” Diane considers this to be “making it all right” for Iris. Diane's other “friend” Mary Hurst, a submissive weak woman who is being used by Diane to reach her goals. Mary looks at Diane with amazement as she herself is absolutely incapable of doing anything extraordinary like Diane. Mary's husband Bob is a man whose personality is totally submitted by Diane in this small extract as all he can do in her presence is stare down at the silk Chinese carpet without saying a word.
The text is a third-person narrative with some insertions of direct speech conveys the idea that true friendship is incompatible with notions of greed and submission. We can see that Diane is somewhat subconsciously ashamed of her actions towards Iris in her choice of word “arranged” instead of “forced” to let go of the house and give it to her. This stylistic device is called a euphemism and serves the purpose of characterising Diane as someone who only pretends to be caring and nice calling people “dear” and “sweetie” but being in fact cold and selfish. Other stylistic devices used by the author are strong epithets in Diane' speech such as “marvellous”, “beastly western house” emphasizing Diane ability to use words in order to manipulate people. It is also worth mentioning that the only phraseological units Diane uses are to do with money or the cost of her possessions:” The gold alone is worth a fortune”, “that cost me a pretty penny”, “had bought off a restaurant in Kobe 'for a song, an absolute song”. The repetition in the last one only reinforces Diane's greed and concentration on material wealth.
The general tone of this passage is quite impartial the author does not obviously take any sides so the reader is left to make all the necessary conclusions by himself.
2. A bit off the map
This excerpt is taken from a short story written by Angus Wilson who was an English novelist and short story writer known for portraying characters struggling to find their place on England's post-war map.
From the point of view the presentation is the 1-st person narrative, where we can see who the person is by getting to know his thoughts. Thus, Kennie Martin is characterised indirectly through the lexical and syntactic phenomena the writer uses while rendering Kennie's stream of consciousness. We can guess that this guy is quite young as keeps repeating that he doesn't know what he wants. The deliberate use of the chiasmus “I can get most what I want but I don't know what I want” only reinforces the impression of Kennie as someone who is unsure and undetermined about what to do with his life. The repetition of negative sentences serves the same purpose: “I don't know my own strength”, “I haven't found myself yet”. Kennie thinks there's a great future for him as soon as he finds his way in life. He analyzes his strengths and comes to the conclusion that he could be a model, a writer or a painter. However, he doesn't work much as the jobs he can get “don't take you any place worth going or because like now I've got to be free until I find myself”.
The tone of this literary piece is highly informal as it is an interior dialogue of the character. The structure of most sentences is predominantly very simple and the sentences themselves are quite short e.g.: I've got an eye for colours. But I haven't found myself yet. This is aimed at making the character's interior speech really eloquent and attracting the reader's attention to the character's main point - he is still at loss about what to do with his life.
As for the stylistic phenomena the author deliberately does not make his character use a lot of epithets again to make the narrative sound more like an authentic interior dialogue and emphasize that Kennie is speaking about real matters rather that abstract ideas. However, when he does mention some abstract ideas the epithets such as “delicate balance”, “the important truth” are used. The only figurative simile Kennie uses in his monologue is that of success in person's life depending on an ideal balance of mind and body and a whimsical woman who wouldn't be with a man only because she dislikes his socks or belt.
Speaking about syntactic means it should be noted that multiple repletion of the pronoun I serves the purpose of enhancing the impression of Kennie as completely self-centered and self-absorbed young man, the anaphoric repetition of the predicative construction I know only increasing this impression: “I've read that too--cases and all. But I know all that anyway…I know it all, but I won't say whether I know it personally or not... I know all the prostitutes and the ponces and that
I shan't get stuck there, because I've something big in me that'll take me to the top when I find myself.”
3. The teacher
The Teacher is an extract from a short story written by Sherwood Anderson who was an American novelist and short story writer, known for his subjective and self-revealing works. He may be most remembered for his influential effect on the next generation of young writers, as he inspired William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and Thomas Wolfe.
This short story portrays different people living in the town of Winesberg, closely examining their thoughts and aspirations on the evening when it snowed heavily. One of them, George Willard who, having nothing to do, decided to go skating to the pond and let his mind wonder around the recent events in his life. A giant portion of this wondering was tied to his former school teacher whom he talked to the day before and who stirred something in his soul. He vaguely suspected that the woman was in love with him and this thought pleased and annoyed him at the same time.
From the point of view of presentation the text is a mixture of 3-d person narration and description, thus letting the reader to penetrate the deepest secrets of the characters while observing their everyday routine. There are some insertions of direct speech when George pretends to talk to Kate Swift, the teacher. This syntactic device makes rendering of George's confused state of mind more realistic as people generally make pretend dialogues being deeply troubled. The narration flashbacks to the recent past, the evening when Kate spoke to him so ardently only to show the reader the reason of George's confusion and embarrassement. The structure of the sentences changes according to what the author aims to show. When he describes the characters' outward actions the sentences are simple though burdened with homogenous enumeration of what the characters did thus creating the effect of immediate presence: “He began to have lustful thoughts and pulling down the shade of the window closed his eyes and turned his face to the wall. He took a pillow into his arms and embraced it…” However, when the writer describes George's thoughts the sentence structure is complicated by consequent subordinate clauses in order to evoke a feeling of complexity of the character's private life and emotional state: “…embraced it thinking first of the school teacher, who by her words had stirred something within him and later of Helen White, the slim daughter of the town banker, with whom he had been for a long time half in love”. The metaphor bitter cold used by the writer to describe the weather that day only intensifies the contrast between freezing cold of the outside and warm, “sweet” day-dreams of the two characters portrayed in the passage - George thinking lustfully about the meaningful women in his life and an old night watchman Hop Higgins - making plans of a business of his own - breeding ferrets for sale.
The general tone of the extract is casual and sympathetic towards small dreams of small people.
The piece under analysis comes from a short story Haircut by Ringgold Wilmer Lardner (1885 - 1933) who was an American sports columnist and short storywriter best known for his satirical takes on the sports world, marriage, and the theatre. His name is also associated with such works as Champion; You know me, Al and others.
The extract is 1-st person narration from the point of view of a barber who is talking about people and their habits in his salon. The setting of the story is a provincial town inhabited by low-class, poorly educated people, the barber's clients. The reader cannot help noticing that the speech of the narrator as well as that of his clients is full of double negatives and the contraction ain't that is characteristic of the people of practically no education who speak some local dialect of English: “No, I ain't had nothin' to drink. ...nobody could think of nothin' ” Ring Lardner uses this lexico-gramatical device to show that not only the speech of his charecters is far from perfection but their morality as well. On the other hand, such pleonastic usage of negatives could be regarded as author's innuendo not to trust his words, not to be fooled by the barber's sympathetic tone as he was talking about Jim Kendall. The barber speaks of Jim Kendal as of a “kind of rough, but a good fella at heart”. In fact the things that Jim does are cruel and horrible. Moreover, he is a heavy drinker:
"No, I ain't had nothin' to drink, but that ain't sayin' I wouldn't like somethin'. I wouldn't even mind if it was wood alcohol."
The inability to see that his client Jim is a real bully characterizes the barber as both morally blind and indulging to distasteful ugly pranksters. Thus, the central idea if this really dark and sad story is how ugly at heart people can be if you let them and how far their cruelty can go.
The tone of this passage is informal, conversational and casual as if the barber is talking to someone in that town, someone like him. This is emphasised by the heavy use of the vernacular or slang idioms in common use at this period in history. Sometimes the narrator even sounds conspirational as if sharing some kind of secret. The narrative flow is rather complex - the narrator mind flashbacks and comes back to present several times when speaking of Jim who, as we found out in the very beginning of the passage, got killed in that town.
Despite the narrator's seemingly approving attitude to Jim the readers can make their own judgment about him. The barber uses metaphoric idiom popular in American English in the 1920-1930s: “He was certainly a card”. The metaphoric meaning is that of a good card that helps to win the card game. However, under the circumstances it sounds profoundly ironic as it was said just after telling how Jim got fired from his job for not doing much at it.
5. “Arrangement in Black and White” Dorothy Parker
The text extract under analysis comes from the story “Arrangement in Black and White” written by Dorothy Parker, an American short-story writer and poet, one of the greatest humorists of her generation. Dorothy Parker had strong, liberal political opinions, which were reflected in her writings, and her short story “Arrangement in Black and White” is not an exception. The story raises the problem of racial discrimination of black people in America in the first half of the twentieth century.
The exposition of the story is the very first sentence where we get to know the protagonist - “the woman with pink velvet poppies twined around the assisted gold of her hair” who “traversed the crowded room at an interesting gait combining a skip with a sidle, and clutched the lean arm of her host.” In this very sentence the setting is established, we find ourselves in a crowded room, all the rest fact concerning the setting we gather while reading the whole story. Thus we get to know that a party is organized in honour of a black musician, Walter Williams, and many representatives from the highest class are invited. Then the moments of complications start immediately when the woman asks the host to introduce her to the black musician. The rest of the story follows in a form of a dialogue where the woman tells about her husband who refused to go to the party as he feels it is not right to socialize with the black as equals. The woman's attitude is a bit more complicated but in fact might be worse as at least the husband isn't hypocritical.
From the conversation, the audience can deduce that though this woman admires Walter Williams's musical talent, she is unable to let go of the racist sentiment against his African American heritage. The author adds a flavor of sophisticated cynicism as she makes this point clear by making the main characters ironically make frequent references concerning how "untroubled" she is about the color of his skin.
To reproduce the affective, and not very intellectual manner of speaking of the main character, to make the reader pay attention to her hypocrisy and egocentrism the author uses numerous repetitions, ellipses and colloquialisms, such as
· I think you're simply marvelous, giving this perfectly marvelous party for him
· All he says is, he says …The only thing he says, he says
· I'm just terrible to him. Aren't I terrible?" "Oh, no, no, no," said her host. "No, no." "I am," she said. "I know I am.
· I just can't understand people being narrow-minded. I get so furious when people are narrow-minded;
· Oh, when he sings! When he sings those spirituals!
· He does, really, to this day.
Colloquialisms: he's heaps broader-minded; old nigger mammy; an awful lot of credit.
6. À âit of singing and dancing
The text extract under analysis comes from the short story À ÂIT OF SINGING AND DANCING written by Susan Hill. The author is known as a British short story writer, novelist, playwright and critic. Her novels include The Woman in Black, The Mist in the Mirror and I'm the King of the Castle for which she received the Somerset Maugham Award in 1971. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to literature.
The extract describes the feelings of guilt and confusion of the main character Esme Fanshow after her mother's death. The basic theme is the influence of the attitude of a despotic mother to her caring but infantile daughter after the death of the former. The central idea of the whole story is that excessive parental control and tyranny ruin people's lives.
From the point of view of presentation the text is a mixture of narration and description, the 3rd person narrative with some insertions of direct speech and flashbacks to the past.
The plot is simple. It centres around Esme's memories about her mother and simultaneously around her new life after the mother's death. Bedridden Mrs. Fenshou was a very domineering and moody woman who had never been interested in her daughter's needs and wishes and took her devotion for granted. After her mother's death Esme felt free at last without any obligations and duties. It is unusual for her to be able to take decisions independently She could choose herself, what to eat, when to go to bed, what television program to watch, how to spend the money she inherited from her mother. But at the same time emptiness, uncertainty and guilt settled in her soul.
The setting of the events is realistic. The narrative flow is frame-like. The sentence structure is (predominantly) composite; it is aimed at evoking the sense of being a witness of confused moral feelings of the main character. The tone of the piece of literature is sympathetic, dramatic and even bitter.
The direct characterization of the person-image Esme Fenshou is achieved with a number of stylistic devices, for example, impersonation `She walked very close to the water, where there was a rim of hard, flat sand, easier on her feet than the loose shelves of shingle'. The shelves of shingles are the personification of Esme's life before her mother's death, and the sand after that death.
7. The Force of Circumstance, by William Somerset Maugham
The excerpt under consideration comes from the story The Force of Circumstance written by William Somerset Maugham, a prominent British playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest paid author during the 1930s. Maugham's masterpieces are generally agreed to be Of Human Bondage, The Moon and Sixpence, Cakes and Ale, The Razor's Edge and others.
The extract describes the first acquaintance, the relationships, the further quick marriage of Doris, an English woman and Guy, a man from Sembulu and an episode of one evening of their family life in their house in a British colony.
The basic theme is the relationships of a husband and a wife on the background of an exotic country when everything seems to be ideal and even sickly-sweet and only in the end of the episode there is a sort of suspense when the reader starts suspecting that not everything is so perfect.
This episode is only the beginning so it's difficult to determine the central idea of the whole story, it might be the possibility of harmonious marriage between two seemingly absolutely different people and without passionate love in the outset.
*From the point of view of presentation the text is the 3rd person narrative and * a mixture of narration and description with some insertions of direct speech; lyrical retardation and flashbacks to the past.
The plot is simple. It centres around sweet Doris's memories about the acquaintance with her future husband and how she unexpectedly decided to accept his proposal. Doris is waiting for her husband and when he comes at last she enjoys even distant sounds of him clattering down the steps to the bathhouse “He was a noisy fellow and even with bare feet he could not be quiet”. Guy is 29 years old, and works for British colonial service; he is described as a funny, fat and happy man who makes people laugh and Doris seems to adore everything in him. They appear to be very happy.
*The setting of the events is exotic. Some beautiful metaphors in the beginning emphasize the beauty of a hot Asian country. “the morning lost its freshness”, “Under the breathless sun of midday it ( the river) had the white pallor of death”. They are followed by a poetic passage with the mixture of epithets and comparisons. „The colours of the day were ashy and wan. They were but the various tones of the heat. (It was like an Eastern melody, in the minor key, which exacerbates the nerves by its ambiguous monotony; and the ear awaits impatiently a resolution, but waits in vain.) The cicadas sang their grating song with a frenzied energy: it was as continual and monotonous as the rustling of a brook over the stones; but on a sudden it was drowned by the loud singing of a bird, mellifluous and rich; and for an instant, with a catch at her heart, she thought of the English blackbird.
8. The Curtain Blown by the Breeze (by Muriel Spark)
The extract under analysis comes from the book The Curtain Blown by the Breeze written by Muriel Spark. Dame Muriel Spark was an award-winning Scottish novelist. She spent several years in Central Africa, returning to Britain during World War II. Until 1957 she published only poetry and criticism, including studies of Mary Shelley and the Bronte sisters. Her fiction uses satire and wit to present serious themes, often questions about good and evil. Memento Mori (1959) is her most widely praised novel; the best-known is The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961; film, 1969). Her later novels, often more sinister in tone, include The Abbess of Crewe (1974), A Far Cry from Kensington (1988), and Reality and Dreams (1996).
The extract concerns the life of the British in one of African colonies. The basic theme is the coexistence of local inhabitants and colonists as well as the relationships inside the British community, everyday life and leisure of the representatives of different professions, their attempts to get used to living in unusual environment.
The central idea is that the person (in this episode - a woman) must survive in any circumstances, should develop herself and try not to obey sometimes absurd rules of severe reality and be herself. From the point of view of presentation the text is the 3rd person narrative and is a mixture of narration and description with some insertions of direct speech; lyrical and critical digression and some flashbacks to the past.
The plot is simple. It centres around the image and fate of the main character Mrs Van der Merwe
When her husband is imprisoned for the murder described in the opening paragraph and some time passes after that, Mrs Van der Merwe discovers she can live her life as she wants, not just a life of a smallholder's wife in a colony, can express herself in the society of local British “elite”. The setting of the events is exotic. The story of Mrs. Van der Merwe's transformation is told from the point of view of an unnamed English nurse, who moved to The Colony (South Africa) to work in a tropical disease clinic. This nurse also vividly describes health problems of native Africans, unbearable African climate and the daily routine of the British.
The narrative flow is of the part of the extract is frame-like, because we see the same passage “where the tall grass was dangerous from snakes and the floors dangerous from scorpions. The white people seized on the slightest word, Nature took the lightest footfall, with fanatical seriousness” in the beginning and in the end of the description of South Africa. The tone of the piece of literature is melancholic and bitter. To stimulate imagination and to increase the immediacy and freshness of the impression the author makes use of metaphors such as “she became a tall lighthouse sending out kindly beams which some took for welcome instead of warnings against the rocks” (prolonged metaphor), “to slice up the boredom” (simple metaphor) “Nature took the lightest footfall, with fanatical seriousness”. “…when the dust made everything real”(personification). We can find some epithets such as “she lost the lanky, sullen look of a smallholder's wife”, “travel-film colours”.
As for syntactic stylistics there are several repetitions:
The remainder comprised the chemist, the clergyman, the veterinary surgeon, the police and their families; at the house of the chemist, the clergyman, the vet, or at the police quarters; the company of the vet, the chemist and the clergyman…. Three times almost the same words to emphasize the narrowness of the circle of social contacts; there is a sentence with inversion “Into this society came Sonia Van der Merwe” to emphasize the same. “the tall grass was dangerous from snakes and the floors dangerous from scorpions” - this repetition emphasizes that almost everything is dangerous there.
There are some ellipses and one-member sentences: “Heaps of servants. Cheap drinks. Birds, beasts, flowers”; “Towns, life. Civilization, shops. Much cooler--you see, it's high up there in the north. The races.” ;“Everything is greener, there's a huge valley. Shooting”. to list agitatedly the desirable pleasures somewhere far away.
9. The little affair in paris
The extract under consideration comes from the book story “The little affair in Paris” written by Lawrence George Durrell . Lawrence George Durrell (27 February 1912 - 7 November 1990) was an expatriate British novelist, poet, dramatist, and travel writer, though he resisted affiliation with Britain and preferred to be considered cosmopolitan. He is the elder brother of famous animal writer Gerald Durrel.l His most famous work is the tetralogy The Alexandria Quartet
The extract is the beginning of a detective or a spy story. The basic theme is the trip of the main character (Antrobus, an English diplomat) to Paris with a strange errand he promised to carry out.
The central idea is that diplomatic missions can be dangerous.
From the point of view of presentation the text is the 1stperson narrative, rather a narration than a description with some insertions of direct speech; and a kind of foreshadowing. “All the omens were against me”.
The plot is intriguing and centers on the trip of Antrobus to Paris, when everything goes wrong from the very beginning and his meeting with the “object” of his errand O'Toole “a delinquent nephew” of his acquaintance Polk-Mowbray. O'Toole is studying medicine in Paris and is in trouble according to his uncle's words. When Antrobus agrees to find O'Toole and bring this “wandering brain” (metaphor) who is “quite baroque” (epithet) to his senses, he has no idea how dangerous it could be. Antrobus comes to Paris “during one of those long national holidays which can sometimes last a week. Nothing was open. No duty car. Even the Mission was locked up with everyone away”. He happens to be almost moneyless and remembers about his errand hoping to find a new friend in O'Toole, or at least a person who can help him with money and lodging for a while; but instead he is attacked by a crazy man with a knife, who is sure Antrobus is a person his uncle has sent to spy on him. Only Antrobus's diplomatic skills save his life at that moment.
The tone of the piece of literature is ironical, sometimes self- ironic and sometimes sneering. It be-comes obvious owing to metaphors “O'Toole swam into my mind's eye”. “nobody but a swine would say yes” “you'll be staying a day or so to cadge a free meal and rub noses with MacSalmon's Mission” “The empty shell of the Embassy” “but places of cultural repair like the Louvre--places where I might be exposed to an unmanning dose of unwanted culture.” “I retrieved my bowler and cleared what was left of my throat”. A lot of pejorative, ironic and frightening epithets are used, for example: “it was fearfully sinister”; “Fixing me with somewhat watery eyes he said in a dumb pleading tone”; “I tried to adopt an ingratiating, a fragrant manner”; “manumitted mooncalf”…
To arouse disgust the author compares O'Toole with Dylan Thomas - a famous poet and a drunkard. The Slogan of Dylan Thomas was ” you must penetrate into the hard core of what you describe”. - O'Toole looked like Dylan Thomas after a week on the tiles. Muffler and pork pie hat and all. He looked the hard core of Something.
10. I'm a fool
The following extract under analysis comes from "I'm a Fool", a short story by American writer Sherwood Anderson which was published in Anderson's short-story collection Horses and Men. William Faulkner was known to much appraise of this short story. It is narrated in the first person point of view and the setting is Ohio, where Sherwood Anderson was born.
The plot is centered on a young guy who works as a swipe for race horses. His sister Mildred is a little upset and ashamed of that as she thinks it could be an obstacle for her to obtain the job of a teacher she had been dreaming of for a long time.
The narrative flow is rather complex as from the very beginning the story flashbacks to the past to the moment when the narrator realized that a “big lumbering fellow of nineteen couldn't just hang around the house and I had got too big to mow people's lawns and sell newspapers”.
On the syntactic level the writer makes use of such stylistic phenomena as homogenous enumeration (of tree types ) and polysyndeton of the conjunction and:
“Gee whizz, Gosh amighty, the nice hickorynut and beechnut and oaks and other kinds of trees along the roads, all brown and red, and the good smells, and Burt singing a song that was called Deep River, and the country girls at the windows of houses and everything”.
This is done in order to create the illusion of real horseback riding thus overwhelming the reader with both visual, audio and smell stimuli leaving him (the reader) little room to breathe.
The sentence structure is predominantly complex with long sentences a lot like stream of consciousness making the story sometimes hard to follow.
The characters are characterized rather indirectly through what they say and how they say it though there is no direct speech in its proper sense.
The general tone of the piece is very casual and informal which is manifested through the use of colloquialisms such as “Gee whizz”, “peachy time” derogatory slang words “nigger”, low-class double negatives: “Such fellows don't know nothing at all. They've never had no opportunity”.
In addition to that, the author uses such stylistic phenomenon as speaking name - e.g/ the name of one of the horses is Bucephalus, who is known to be the horse of Alexander the Great. This name creates an interesting, though rather ironic intertextual allusion implying that the owner of this Bucephalus is also some kind of 20-th century hero.
Another simile involving famous names is that of Jack Johnson, who was a famous American boxer, and it is used to describe Burt, a “big nigger with a lazy sprawling body and soft, kind eyes, and when it came to a fight he could hit like Jack Johnson”.
In order to arouse the reader's compassion and sympathy rhetorical question is used:
“What's the use of talking about it?”
11. Letting down the side
The extract to be analyzed is taken from a short story by David Garnett who was a British writer and publisher best known for his novel Lady into Fox, an allegorical fantasy, and was awarded the 1922 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction.
The extract concerns the early events in the story where Mary meets her first husband Nelson and goes to live with him to New Guinea.
The central idea that marriages are certainly not made in heaven finds its particularization through the conflict of two main characters of this passage - Mary and her husband-to-be. In this mixture of a 3-d person narration and description the two characters are opposed from the first lines even on the level of words and stylistic devices choice. When Mary is described, the author makes use of exquisite epithets (“when she looked at you with her large dark eyes they spoke of the night: of the night hours in the Rectory garden, of night-scented stocks, the starry heavens above and the whirring yet soothing rattle of the nightjars in the glades of the New Forest close at hand”) and a flattering comparison with a beautiful moth (Yes, Mary was like a large dark moth, and you might suspect that if she lifted her wings to fly she would uncover brilliant red or purple underwings in dazzling contrast to the ashy ambiguously patterned pair which she exhibited when at rest.). In such a way Mary seems to be something out of this world, a heavenly creature far from the routine of everyday life. On the other hand, her brother Simon is described most commonly without any metaphors or similes. The absence of these stylistic devices in contrast to poetic description of Mary creates here the effect that both Simon and his classmate Nelson were more than ordinary and plain people. They had certain dimensions, certain color of eyes and an ordinary occupation:
”Her brother Simon was a big man, very dark and strong and silent, with the same big eyes as his sister. He went to Oxford, studied engineering and played rugger.”
The plot is quite simple: Mary is too shy and weak-willed to resist anything so she agrees to marry Nelson just because ha had already asked her father's blessing and she “found it impossible to refuse him outright and her indefinite murmurs were interpreted as assent”. In this citation the metaphor of a moth takes a different dimension - the reader sees Mary as not just some subtle beautiful creature but also as something helpless, easy to be “taken possession of, not physically but morally”.
The setting of events is realistic and is already perceived as historical portraying the epoch of the first half of the 20-th century when it was still quite rare for a woman in England to do anything other than being a wife.
The sentence structure is mostly composite and complex thus giving the piece really slow, novel-ish pace. It should also be mentioned that on the syntactic level some untraditional sentence members arrangement is used by the author: “But she did tell him later that she had been surprised by the contrast between Nelson's attitude to foreigners and that of her father” This inversion intensifies the surprise of the reader and the author himself that Mary was able to express herself at all generally being an almost speechless and lifeless moth.
12. Now we know
The following piece under analysis is taken from a short story Now We Know written by John Henry O'Hara (1905 - 1970) who was an American writer. He earned a reputation first for short stories and became a best-selling novelist by the age of thirty with Appointment in Samarra and BUtterfield 8.
The plot of the story is quite simple and centres on Mary, a receptionist, and a bus driver Herbert who noticed Mary because she always was the very first passenger on his bus early in the morning. Herbert played a joke on Mary in order to attract her attention. Mary got angry because in her opinion Herbert got a little too far in his teasing. In such a way they became friends and fell in love with each other.
The span of time the extract covers is not long, about several years during which Mary keeps the same job and rides there in the same buses. The story is set in a small town and is quite realistic.
The structure of sentences in this example of a 3-d person narration is predominantly composite with consecutive events rendered chronologically. This makes the narration flow very easy to follow and creates the impression of being an invisible witness of this love story.
The main characters are characterized both by their actions and by lexical stylistic means such as epithets which are quite numerous in this extract:
“Ordinarily he was a rather sad-eyed Jew with what Mary called a little muzzy that made him look somewhat like an ugly Ronald Colman. He had a beautiful smile, with that lingering sadness in it”
The tone of the passage is casual and sympathetic. The sympathy of the author towards his characters becomes obvious through the choice of words he uses: (“It wasn't that Mary was a lazy girl. But she liked a good time… ”) and detailed and meticulous description of their behaviour in front of each other:
“She tapped lightly on the glass door, and instead of touching the pneumatic door-opener, he looked down at his fingernails and pretended to polish them on his trousers and held up his hands as though he were seriously contemplating the effect of the polishing. Mary tapped again, but this time Herbert looked at his watch, frowned, then put the bus in gear and raced the engine, but he didn't release the clutch. Mary banged harder on the door, and now, pretending to notice her for the first time, Herbert slipped the bus out of gear and pulled the door-opener”.
To increase the immediacy and freshness of the impression of being a witness of these events and enhance the dynamics of what was happening the author uses such syntactic stylistic device as anaphora, starting each sentence with either she or Herbert thus creating certain rhythm of two characters taking turns in interaction with each other:
“She wanted to get inside and crown him, but he sat there laughing and wouldn't open the door…. She sat down on the wooden bench at the bus stop and resumed the appearance of reading her paper. Herbert opened the door, but Mary did not take her eyes off the paper. Herbert began to worry; not only was she really angry and obviously determined not to ride with him but he was a minute over his starting time”.
13. The snows of kilimanjaro
The snows of Kilimanjaro is a short story written by Ernest Miller Hemingway (1899-1961) who was an American author and journalist. His short and lapidary style had a strong influence on the later generation of writers. Hemingway published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works. Additional works, including three novels, four short story collections, and three non-fiction works, were published posthumously. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.
The story is set somewhere in Africa where a writer and his girlfriend got stuck after the man developed an infection in his wounded leg. The extract represents a conversation of the writer with the woman about their desperate situation. The man is sure that he is going to die soon as he got gangrene in his leg and the woman is trying to lift his spirits somehow.
From the point of view of presentation the text is a 3-d person narrative and it is a mixture of description and narration. The information about the carcass of a leopard found on the top of the mount Kilimanjaro sets solemn and philosophical tone for the whole story. There is indirect allusion that dying writer could himself be regarded as that leopard as the place where people find their death says a lot about people themselves.
The setting of the events is quite realistic though a little exotic - the reader sees the writer lying I his cot under a mimosa tree ad there are vultures in distance awaiting his death to feed on him.
The sentence structure is very simple and the sentences in the conversation are mostly short which is generally characteristic of Hemingway's telegraphic-style prose:
“ You're not going to die. - Don't be silly. I'm dying now. Ask those bastards”.
On the syntactical level the author makes use of repetition (mesodiplosis, to be exact) as means to achieve certain emphasis:
“We quarrel and that makes the time pass. - I don't quarrel. I never want to quarrel. Let's not quarrel any more.”
The fact that the woman uses this word with three different negatives in successive sentences really intensifies her determination.
The tone of the storey is melancholic with hidden dramatic notes. The dying man's speech is rendered more eloquent with the help of such syntactic stylistic device as rhetorical questions:
"Can't you let a man die as comfortably as he can without calling him names? What's the use of slanging me?"
Another syntactic device Hemingway makes use of is anaphora:
." So now it was all over, he thought. So now he would never have a chance to finish it. So this was the way it ended in a bickering over a drink”
This repetition creates strong cumulative effect and underlines the man's dramatic mood and his sad final thoughts.
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