1. What is implied in the separation of the author's stylistics from the reader's? How do the processes of encoding and decoding differ?
2. Comment on the factors that may prevent the reader from adequately decoding the author's imagery and message?
3. Speak on the origin and importance of the notion foregrounding
for stylistic analysis.
4. There is a convergence of expressive means in the passage below. Try to identify separate devices that contribute to the poetic description of a beautiful young girl: types of repetition, metaphor, sustained metaphor, catachresis, aUiteration,
, inversion, coupling, semantic field:
On her face was that tender look of sleep, which a nodding flower has when it is full out. Like a mysterious early flower, she was full out, like a snowdrop which spreads its three white wings in a flight into the waking sleep of its brief blossoming. The waking sleep of her full-opened virginity, entranced like a snowdrop in the sunshine, was upon her. (Lawrence)
The basic principle in the next passage (that describes how only one of the two relatives became the sole heir to the old man's money) is that of contrast and the method of convergence ensures the ample interpretation of the author's intention. Explain the intention and find the devices that deliver it.
From the start Philbrick was the apple of the old chap's eye, while he couldn't stick Miss Grade at any price.
Philbrick could spout Shakespeare and Hamletand things by the yard before Grade could read "The cat sat on the mat". When he was eight he had a sonnet printed in the local paper. After that Grade wasn't in it anywhere. She lived with the servants like Cinderella. (Waugh)
5. How is the effect of defeated expectancy achieved in the examples below? What are the specific devices employed in each case?
Celestine finally turned on the bench and put her hand over Dot's. - Honey, she said, would it kill you to say 'yes'?
- Yes, said Dot. (Erdrich)
St. Valentine's Day, I remembered, anniversary for lovers and massacre. (Shaw)
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- It's little stinkers like you, he said, who turn decent masters savage. - Do you think that's so very complimentary?
- I think it's one of the most complimentary things I ever heard said about a master, said Beste-Chetwynde. (Waugh)
I think that, if anything, sports are rather worse than concerts, said Mr. Prendergast. They at least happen indoors. (Waugh)
...the Indian burial mound this town is named for contain the things that each Indian used in their lives. People have found stone grinders, hunting arrows and jewelry of colored bones. So I think it's no use. Even buried, our things survive. (Erdrich)
- Would this be of any use? Asked Philbrick, producing an enormous service revolver. Only take care, it's loaded.
- The very thing, said the Doctor. Only fire into the ground, mind. We must do everything we can to avoid an accident. Do you always carry that about with you?
- Only when I'm wearing my diamonds, said Philbrick. (Waugh)
When we visited Athens, we saw the Apocalypse. (Maleska)
Texans, quite apart from being tall and lean, turned out to be short and stout, hospitable, stingy to a degree, generous to a fault, even-tempered, cantankerous, doleful, and happy as the day is long. (Atkinson)
6. Explain how the principle of coupling can be used in analyzing the following passages. What types of coupling can you identify here?
Feeding animals while men and women starve, he said bitterly. It was a topic; a topic dry, scentless and colourless as a pressed flower; a topic on which in the school debating society one had despaired of finding anything new to say. (Waugh)
You asked me what I had going this time. What I have going is wine. With the way the world's drinking these days, being in wine is like having a license to steal. (Shaw)
7. In many cases coupling relies a lot on semantic fields analysis. Show how these principles interact in the following passage.
The truth is that motor-cars offer a very happy illustration of the metaphysical distinction between 'being' and 'becoming'. Some cars, mere vehicles, with no purpose above bare locomotion, mechanical drudges... have definite 'being' just as much as their occupants. They are bought all screwed up and numbered and painted,
and there they stay through various declensions of ownership, brightened now and then with a lick of paint... but still maintaining their essential identity to the scrap heap.
Not so the realcars, that become masters of men; those vital creations of metal who exist solely for their own propulsion through space, for whom their drivers are as important as the stenographer to a stockbroker. These are in perpetual flux; a vortex of combining and disintegrating units, like the confluence of traffic where many roads meet. (Waugh)
8. Workings in groups of two or three try to define the themes of the following text with a description of a thunderstorm. Let each group arrange the vocabulary of the passage into semantically related fields, for example: storm sounds, shapes, colors, supernatural forces, etc.
We... looked out the mucking hole to where a tower of lightning stood. It was a broad round shaft like a great radiant auger, boring into cloud and mud at once. Burning. Transparent. And inside this cylinder of white-purple light swam shoals of creatures we could never have imagined. Shapes filmy and iridescent and veined like dragonfly wings erranded between the earth and heavens. They were moving to a music we couldn't hear, the thunder blotting it out for us. Or maybe the cannonade of thunder was music for them, but measure that we couldn't understand.
We didn't know what they were.
They were storm angels. Or maybe they were natural creatures whose natural element was storm, as the sea is natural to the squid and shark. We couldn't make out their whole shapes. Were they mermaids or tigers? Were they clothed in shining linen or in flashing armor? We saw what we thought we saw, whatever they were, whatever they were in process of becoming.
This tower of energies went away then, and there was another thrust of lightning just outside the wall. It was a less impressive display, just an ordinary lightning stroke, but it lifted the three of us thrashing in midair for a long moment, then dropped us breathless and sightless on the damp ground. (Chappell)
9. Comment on the type of deviation in the following semi-marked structures.
Did you ever see a dream walking? (Cheever)
Man in the day or wind at night
Laid the crops low, broke the grape's joy. (Thomas)
I think cards are divine, particularly the kings. Such naughtyold faces! (Waugh)
The Maker's white coat and black visage had disappeared from the street doorway. Reinhart got a premonition of doom when he saw the color combination with which they had been replaced: policeman's midnight blue and Slavic-red face, but the pace helped keep his upper lip stiff. (Berger)
Ask Pamela; she's so brave and manly. (Waugh)
II was Granny whom she came to detest with all her soul... her Yvette really hated, with that pure, sheer hatred which is almost a joy. (Lawrence)
...everyone who spoke, it seemed, was but biding his time to shout the old village street refrain which had haunted him all his life, "Nigger! - Nigger! - White Nigger!" (Dunbar-Nelson)
To hear him speak French, if you didn't try to understand what he was saying, was as good as attending "Phedre": he seemed a cloud that had divorced a textbook of geometry to marry Guillaume Apollinaire... (Jar-rell)
10. Read the story by Paul Jennings and try to apply some of the principles of decoding to find out the real meaning and the implications of what the author encoded. Comment on the author's use of such devices as sustained metaphor, allegory, allusions, irony and phonographical means. Can you find instances of semi-marked structures, defeated expectancy, convergence and other means of foregrounding. Speak about the theme and the message of this story.
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