Samples of stylistic analysis

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 I'm an orphan, and Vic moves in. "From now on you'll 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 personage's 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. Golding's 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 Aims with the intention to kill, to tear your guts, to blow out у our brains, to put great ragged holes in the body you've 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 author's 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 author's 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 teacher's pet. Wuzn't you, Willie?" And Alex nudged the teacher's pet in the ribs. (R.W.)

Alex's little speech gives a fair characteristic of the speaker. The substandard "gents", colloquial "me", irregularities of grammar ("me and Willie was"), pronunciation (graphon "wuzn't"), syntax ("Willie, he was"), abundance of set phrases ("he was a bookworm", "he was a teacher's 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 author's ironic attitude towards the young Stark which is seen from the periphrastic nomination of the protagonist ("teacher's pet") in the author's 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 character's 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 personage's 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.


It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of ANNABEL LEE

And this maiden she lived with no other thought

Than to love and to be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea:

But we loved with the love that was more than love -


With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven

Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,

In this kingdom by the sea,

A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling

My beautiful ANNABEL LEE;

So that her highborn kinsmen came

And bore her away from me,

To shut her up in a sepulchre

In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,

Went envying her and me –

Yes! - that was the reason

(as all men know in this kingdom by the sea)

That the wind came out of the cloud by night,

Chilling and killing my ANNABEL LEE.

And our love it was stronger by far than love

Of those who were older than we –

Of many far wiser than we –

And neither the angels in heaven above,

Nor the demons down under the sea,

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams

Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE,

And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes

Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE

And, so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,

In her sepulchre there by the sea –

In her tomb by the sounding sea.

(Edgar Poe)

This poem is written by Edgar Allan Poe - a figure of extreme views in Romantic tradition of American literature who proclaimed that the prime task of poetry was creating beauty and that melancholy was "the most legitimate of all poetical tones." He continually emphasised the concepts of estrangement, disappearance, silence and all that which suggested non-being. Poe is noted for his musical language and extravagant imagery which made him a worthy rival of the European romantic poets.

Annabel Lee is the last poem written by E.A.Poe. it mourns the loss of a beautiful beloved which is a recurrent theme in Poe's writings. The poem is believed by many critics to be an idealisation of Poe's wife, Virginia Clemm, who died in 1847.

Annabel Lee which states the timelessness of love has a sorrowful melancholy tone reminding of a melody. Entering the domain of music, the poet breaks free from factuality everyday logic and creates a quite palpable image of reality which is devoid of time dimension. The atmosphere is maintained not only through the introduction of such supernatural beings as angels in heaven, seraphs and demons under the sea but chiefly through the phonic and rhythmical peculiarities of Annabel Lee.

The very title of the poem is perceived as a magic word. The highly melodious feminine name invented by Poe seems almost radiant due to its phonic structure which contains mainly vowels and sonorous sounds. The meaningless sound combination Annabel Lee which forms the key repetition of the poem, permeating the text becomes a catchall notion. The words connected with it through alliteration and assonance (love, love, angel beautiful beams, dreams and others) build up associations and turn into semantic "mirror reflections" of the girl's name.

In addition to this alliteration-assonance axis, the text is saturated with phonic interplay of less conspicuous words (The stars never rise but I see the blight eyes; sepulchre there by the sea; the tomb by the side of the sea; not half so happy in heaven etc.) which together with the alteration of four and three stress lines in six stances of the poem, rhymes, end and internal (chilling and killing: Can ever dissever. For the moon never beams without bringing my dreams etc.) repetition of words and lines make the poem sound as an incantation, recreate the melodious voice of the eternal sea which washed the shores of the kingdom, the measured movement of its advancing and withdrawing waves.

7. Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight, is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgement and disposition of business; for expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one: but the general counsels, and the plots marshalling of affairs come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies, is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgements wholly by their rules is a humour of a scholar; they perfect nature and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants' that needs pruning for study: and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contend studies, simple men admire them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute, not to believe and take for granted, not to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested, that is some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them others; but that would be only in the less important arguments and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are, like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man; and therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not.

Histories make man wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle, natural philosophy, deep, moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend: "About studia in mores"; nay, there is no stand or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies: like as diseases of the body may have appropriate exercises; bowling is good for the stone and reins, shooting for the lungs and breast, gentle walking for the stomach, riding for the head and the like; so if a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again, if his wit not apt to distinguish or find difference, let him study the schoolmen; for they are "Cymini sectores". If he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call up one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers' cases: so every defect of the mind may have a special receipt (Francis Bacon. Of Studies)

Francis Bacon's (1561-1626) treatise Of Studies follows the publicist functional style. It aims to cause the reader to accept the author's point of view not merely through logical argumentation but through emotional appeal as well.

The language of the essay shows us most brilliant and versatile personality of Francis Bacon, the lord keeper, the lord chancellor, the philosopher, and the writer. First, that catches the eye, is a sophisticated semantic pattern of the text structure, that speaks volumes about the author's aesthetic views. It begins with the title of the treatise Of Studies, that introduces its subject-matter in a remarkably short and concise way, suggesting a further business-like exposition of the ideas and foregrounding the logical aspect of the text, thus revealing the chief linguistic feature of the essay -brevity of expression. But its role in the actual unfolding of the text, based upon the play of similarities and dissimilarities, upon the unstable balance between the parts and the whole, is unique. The title Of Studies, like a stone thrown into the water and thus provoking an infinitely running wave, conjures up a dominant centripetal semantic structure.

The very first line of the treatise is the development of the thematic centre contained in the title Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Brevity cf expression, very often in essays, becomes here epigrammatic to make it easier to grasp the message and to impress the reader from the start. In fact, it Is the major idea conveyed by the author given in an explicit form to rouse the readers immediately and to keep them in suspense.

The same epigrammatic technique being made more prominent by partial and complete parallel arrangement, lingers throughout the whole of the text providing the development of the key idea - To spend too much time in studies, is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation: to make judgements wholly by their rules is a humour of a scholar; or Read not to contradict and confute, not to believe and take for granted, not to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider', or Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested', or Histories make man wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle, natural philosophy, deep, moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend. All of them have become aphorisms already. The final one was intensified by a Latin quotation to colour the passage with a touch of authority.

Bacon places his witticisms into a deliberately intricate syntactical pattern, like gems in an icon, with the purpose to dazzle, to amaze the reader. Though the text of the treatise lacks careful paragraphing to ensure more prominent logical argumentation, its semantic unfolding is clear cut due to above mentioned aphoristic expressions of brilliant intellectual expression and form. They provide further semantic structuration according to the same principle of "an infinitely running wave", being in their turn thematic centres for the smaller semantic units: the part is still, intended to serve the whole.

Each conventionally outlined semantic fragment of the treatise is nothing but an extension of the major idea of the text forming a smaller centripetal homogeneous structure with its own thematic pattern subservient to the whole, for instance, Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them others; but that would be only in the less important arguments and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are, like common distilled waters, flashy things.

Parallelism, complete or partial, emphasises the similarity and equates the significance of the segments making practically each sentence epigrammatic.

In the choice of vocabulary Bacon is matter-of-fact and somewhat monotonous, for his major purpose is to instruct the common, not to please the sophisticated. He resorts to language units of neutral and literary layers of the English vocabulary to be understood by a wide reading public, e.g. to marshal affairs, to judge of particulars, to teach one's own use, to take for granted etc. But sometimes he adds strings of Latin quotations to provide a learned background to the narrative, e.g. About studia in mores; Cymini sectores. Some particularly archaic forms of words and structures reflect the peculiarities of the 17th century written form of language, e.g. Reading maketh a full man; doth not

The desire of the author to convince the reader results in the use of similies for natural abilities are like natural plants, they need pruning for studies; distilled books like common distilled waters, flashy things, and metaphors some books are to be tasted; others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested are more traditional ones, as genuine vivid expressive means may divert the attention away from the main point.

The most typical SD of the essay is repetition, which makes it more rhythmical, combines homogeneous elements of thought into one whole, causes a member of a string of facts to stand out conspicuously.

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