1. My dad had a small insurance agency in Newport. He had moved there because his sister had married old Newport money and was a big wheel in the Preservation Society. At fifteen Im an orphan, and Vic moves in. From now on youll do as I tell you, he says. It impressed me. Vic had never really shown any muscle before. (N.T.)

The first person singular pronouns indicate that we deal either with the entrusted narrative or with the personages uttered monologue.

The communicative situation is highly informal. The vocabulary includes not only standard colloquial words and expressions such as dad, to show muscle (which is based on metonymy), the intensifying really, but also the substandard metaphor  a big wheel. The latter also indicates the lack of respect of the speaker towards his aunt, which is further sustained by his metonymical qualification of her husband (old Newport money).

The syntax, too, participates in conveying the atmosphere of colloquial informality  sentences are predominantly short. Structures are either simple or, even when consisting of two clauses, offer the least complicated cases of subordination.

The change of tenses registers changes in the chronology of narrated events. Especially conspicuous is the introduction of Present Indefinite (Simple) Tense, which creates the effect of immediacy and nearness of some particular moment, which, in its turn, signifies the importance of this event, thus foregrounding it, bringing it into the limelight  and making it the logical and emotional centre of the discourse.

2. He had heard everything the Boy said however  was waiting for the right moment to wrap up his silence, roll it into a weapon and hit Matty over the head with it. He did so now. (W.G1.)

In this short extract from W. Goldings Darkness Visible the appearance of a person who was an unnoticed witness to a conversation is described. The unexpectedness of his emergence is identified with the blow in the sustained metaphor which consists of three individual verb metaphors showing stages of an aggressive action.

The abrupt change of sentence length and structure contributes to the expressiveness of the passage.

3. And out of the quiet it came to Abramovici that the battle was over, it had left him alive; it had been a battle  a battle! You know where people go out and push little buttons and pull little triggers and figure out targets and aim with the intention to kill, to tear your guts, to blow out our brains, to put great ragged holes in the body youve been taking care of and feeding and washing all youi life, holes out of which your blood comes pouring, more blood than you ever could wash off, hold back, stop with all the bandages in the world! (St.H.)

Here we deal with the change of the type of narration: from the authors narrative, starting the paragraph, to represented inner speech of the character. The transition tells on the vocabulary which becomes more colloquial (cf. guts) and more emotional (cf. the hyperbole all the bandages in the world); on the syntax brimming with parallelisms; on tne punctuation passing on to the emphatic points of exclamation and dashes; on the morphology. Naive periphrases are used to describe the act of firing and its deadly effect Third person pronouns give way to the second person (you, your) embracing both communicants  the personage (author) and the reader, establishing close links between them, involving the reader into the feelings and sentiments of the character.

Very important is repetition. Besides syntactical repetition (parallelism) mentioned above, pay attention to the repetition of battle, because it is this word which on one hand, actually marks the shift from one type of narration to another (the first battle bringing in the authors voice, the last two  that of Abramovici). On the other hand, the repetition creates continuity and cohesion and allows the two voices merge, making the transition smooth and almost imperceptible.

4. This is Willie Stark, gents. From up home at Mason City. Me and Willie was in school together. Yeah, and Willie, he was a bookworm, and he was teachers pet. Wuznt you, Willie? And Alex nudged the teachers pet in the ribs. (R.W.)

Alexs little speech gives a fair characteristic of the speaker. The substandard gents, colloquial me, irregularities of grammar (me and Willie was), pronunciation (graphon wuznt), syntax (Willie, he was), abundance of set phrases (he was a bookworm, he was a teachers pet, from up home)  all this shows the low educational and cultural level of the speaker.

It is very important that such a man introduces the beginning politician to his future voters and followers. In this way R. P. Warren stresses the gap between the aspiring and ambitious, but very common and run-of-the-mill young man starting on his political career, and the false and ruthless experienced politician in the end of this road.

Note the authors ironic attitude towards the young Stark which is seen from the periphrastic nomination of the protagonist (teachers pet) in the authors final remark.

5. From that day on, thundering trains loomed in his dreams  hurtling, sleek, black monsters whose stack pipes belched gobs of serpentine smoke, whose seething fireboxes coughed out clouds of pink sparks, whose pushing pistons sprayed jets of hissing steam  panting trains that roared yammeringly over farflung, gleaming rails only to come to limp and convulsive halts  long, fearful trains that were hauled brutally forward by red-eyed locomotives that you loved watching as they (and you trembling) crashed past (and you longing to run but finding your feet strangely glued to the ground). (Wr.)

This paragraph from Richard Wright is a description into which the characters voice is gradually introduced first through the second person pronoun you, later also graphically and syntactically  through the so-called embedded sentences, which explicitly describe the personages emotions.

The paragraph is dominated by the sustained metaphor trains = monsters. Each clause of this long (the length of this one sentence, constituting a whole paragraph, is over 90 words) structure contains its own verb-metaphors belched, coughed out, sprayed, etc., metaphorical epithets contributing to the image of the monster -thundering, hurtling, seething, pushing, hissing, etc. Their participial form also helps to convey the effect of dynamic motion. The latter is inseparable from the deafening noise, and besides roared, thundering, hissing, there is onomatopoeic yammeringly.

The paragraph abounds in epithets  single (e.g. serpentine smoke), pairs (e.g. farflung, gleaming rails), strings (hurtling, sleek, black monsters), expressed not only by the traditional adjectives and participles but also by qualitative adverbs (brutally, yammeringly). Many epithets, as it was mentioned before, are metaphorical, included into the formation of the sustained metaphor. The latter, besides the developed central image of the monstrous train, consists of at least two minor ones  red-eyed locomotives, limp and convulsive halts.

The syntax of the sentence-paragraph shows several groups of parallel constructions, reinforced by various types of repetitions (morphological- of the -ing-suffix, caused by the use of eleven participles; anaphoric -of whose; thematic  of the word train). All the parallelisms and repetitions create a definitely perceived rhythm of the passage which adds to the general effect of dynamic motion.

Taken together, the abundance of verbs and verbals denoting fast and noisy action, having a negative connotation, of onomatopoeic words, of repetitions  all of these phonetic, morphological, lexical and syntactical means create a threatening and formidable image, which both frightens and fascinates the protagonist.

: 2015-08-27; : 544. ; !


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