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Stylistics of the English Language

Expressive means /stylistic means/ stylistic markers/ stylistic devices/ tropes/ figures of speech

What is a stylistic device?


A stylistic device (SD) is a conscious and intentional intensification of some structural or semantic
property of a language unit. The interplay or clash of the dictionary and contextual meanings of words
brings about the stylistic devices.
SDs always carry some additional information, either emotive or logical.
SDs must be regarded as a special code which has to be well known to the reader in order to be
deciphered easily.
Stylistic devices are designed to achieve a particular artistic effect.
There are phonetic, graphical, lexical and syntactical stylistic devices.

Phonetic stylistic devices


Separate sounds due to their acoustic properties may awake certain ideas, feelings, images, and
emotions.
Think of a gentle lapping and bubbling of water What do you feel listening to the screeching of
something against a window pane?
So, different sounds have different effect on us. The sounds of language also create different
responses in us and writers and poets use this in their works. By choosing words writers can evoke
strong emotional responses and reinforce the meaning they wish to convey.
The most common sound features are rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, assonance and onomatopoeia.

Rhyme
Rhyme /raim / is the repetition of identical or similar terminal sounds, chaining two or more lines of
a poem.
Rhyme has several functions:
it adds a musical quality to the poem;
it makes the poem easier to remember;
it affects the pace and tone of the poem.
There are several different types of rhyme:
1. True/perfect/full rhyme ()-identical sounds correspond exactly
Boat-float; might-right; kite-night; day-say; goes-flows
2. Incomplete/imperfect/half rhyme/slant rhyme ():
fresh-flesh; road-boat; loads-lads; honour-won her ().
3. Eye-rhyme (, ):
advice-compromise; have-grave; love-prove; flood-doom ( )
4. End rhymes () fall at the end of the lines. They mark the end of the line.
5. Internal rhymes () occur within the same line:
I bring fresh showers to the thirsting flowers
The internal rhyme has two functions: dissevering and consolidating, realized simultaneously.
According to the way the rhymes are arranged within the stanza, there are some certain models:
Couplets-aa()
Cross rhymes-abab()
Framing rhyme-abba()
Rhythm
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Rhythm /ri m / is a flow, movement, characterized by regular recurrence of elements or features.
Rhythm in language demands oppositions that alternate: long-short; high-low; stressed-unstressed,
narrow-broad, and other contrasting segments of speech. Harmony is not only a matter of similarity,
but also of dissimilarity, and in good poetry, irregularities of lines are among the most important
features of the poem.
Actually, the beauty of the poem is less dependent upon the regularities than the irregularities of the
poem.
Rhythm is flexible and it is perceived at the background of the metre.

Metre
Metre /mi:t / is any form of periodicity in verse. The kind of the metre is determined by the
number and the character of syllables of which it consists. The metre is the phenomenon characterized
by its strict regularity, consistency and exchangeability.

Metrical Terms and Scansion


The basic unit of metre is the foot, which consists of one stressed and one or more unstressed
syllables. The most common are:
Iamb (iambic) one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable
Trochee (trochaic) - one stressed syllable followed by one unstressed syllable
Anapest (anapestic)-two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable
Dactyl(dactylic) - one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables
Monosyllable (monosyllabic)- one stressed syllable
Spondee (spondaic) - two stressed syllables.
Analyzing metre is called scansion. Scanning a poem we count the number of syllables and identify
the position of the stress. Then we divide the line into feet and determine the metrical length of the
line:
monometre- one foot
dimetre- two feet
trimetre- three feet
tetrameter-four feet
pentametre-five feet
hexameter six feet
heptameter-seven feet
octametre-eight feet.
Then we give the metre a name, for example, iambic pentametre, trochaic dimetre. Iambic
pentametre is the metrical form that most closely resembles natural speech and it is the most widely
used metre in English poetry
The analysis of metre is meaningful only if it contributes to our understanding of a poem. The
rhythm may establish an atmosphere or create a tone, and deviations from the predominant metrical
pattern may highlight key elements.

End-stopped line
When a pause occurs at the end of a line we refer to it as an end-stopped line:
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
the woodland paths are dry.

Enjambement /Run-on-line
Enjambement /Run-on-line are the terms we use when the sense of the sentence extends into the
next line:
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And in the frosty season, when the sun
was set, and visible for many a mile
the cottage windows blazed through twilight gloom,..

Caesura
If a strong break occurs in the middle of the line it is referred as Caesura:
A thing of beauty is a joy forever
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness.
Enjambement /Run-on-line and Caesura give their own particular rhythm to poetry.
Rhymeless verse is called blank verse ( - in Russian) .It is mostly used by playwrights
(Shakespeare, e.g.)

The structure of verse Stanza


Two or more verse lines make a stanza/a strophe, so a stanza is a verse segment composed of a
number of lines. The ballad stanza has four lines, only the second and the fourth lines rhyme. The
heroic couplet consists of two lines

Alliteration
Alliteration /lit `rei n / is the repetition of similar sounds (usually consonants) at the beginning of
successive words:

And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman

Alliteration in the English language is deeply rooted in the tradition of English folklore. In Old
English poetry alliteration was one of the basic principles of verse and its main characteristic.
Alliteration in Old English verse was used to consolidate the sense within the line and therefore is
sometimes called initial rhyme.
As a phonetic stylistic device alliteration aims at imparting a melodic effect to the utterance.
Therefore alliteration is generally regarded as a musical accompaniment of the authors idea,
supporting it with some emotional atmosphere which each reader interprets for himself. Certain
sounds, if repeated, may produce a special effect.
Thus the repetition of the sound /d / from Poes poem The Raven may give a feeling of fear,
anxiety, anguish or all this feelings together.
Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before.
The sound /m/ is used by some poets to produce a somnolent 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.
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We would rather be ruined than changed
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.
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Onomatopoeia
Onomatopoeia /onmtup?i:/ is a combination of speech sounds which aims at imitating sounds
produced in nature (wind, water, leaves, etc.),by animals, by people, and by things (machines or
tools ). There are two varieties of onomatopoeia: direct and indirect.
Direct onomatopoeia imitates natural sounds, as buzz, bang beep, vroom, clap, click, cuckoo,
rustle, giggle, mumble, whistle, crunch, splash, bubble, ping-pong, tick-tock, etc.
Animal sounds:
catmiaow, purr;
bird - chirp, tweet;
crow - caw,dog woof, grrr, bow-wow;
lion roar;
horse neigh;
mouse squeak;
pig oink;
wolf ow ow owooooo, howl;
human blab, blah-blah, murmur
Indirect onomatopoeia is a combination of sounds that echoes the sense of the utterance: And the
silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain where the repetition of the sound /s/ produces
the sound of the rustling of the curtains.
The sound /w/ may reproduce the sound of wind:
Whenever the moon and stars are set,
Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet
A man goes riding by.
Indirect onomatopoeia is sometimes used by repeating words which themselves are not
onomatopoetic, as in Poes poem The Bells:
Silver bellshow they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle

From the bells bells, bells, bells,


Bells, bells, bells-
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.
Another skilful example of onomatopoetic effect is shown in the poem How the water comes down
in Ladore by a romantic poet Robert Southey:
And nearing and clearing,
And falling and crawling and sprawling,
And gleaming and streaming and steaming and beaming,
And in this way the way the water comes down at Ladore.

. :
Graphons is unusual, non-standard spelling of words, showing authentic pronunciation, some
peculiarity in pronouncing words or phrases emphatically.
Thquire! Your thervant! Thith ith a bad pieth of buithnith (i.e. Squire! Your servant! This is a bad
piece of business.
Most graphons show features of territorial or social dialect of the speaker.
Is that my wife? I see it is, from your fyceWhat gyme as she been plying? You gotta tell me
(London cockney dialect)
As for American English, here is an example of the Missouri Negro dialect from The Adventures
of Tom Sawyer:
You know dat one-leigged nigger dat blongs to old Misto Brandish? Well he sot up a bank, en say
anybody dat put in a dollar would git fo dollars mo at en er de year
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Cacophony
Cacophony is a combination of harsh, unpleasant sounds:
Gloved hands twisting knobs
I wakened on my hot, hard bed

Euphony
Euphony is rather close to assonance because it is a combination of sounds that we hear as pleasant
and beautiful:
The lone and level sands stretch far away

Analysis

Analyzing a poem

The following steps will guide you in analyzing a poem:


1. Read the poem thoroughly: firstly silently, then read the poem aloud several times, listening to the
sounds of the words as you read them. Ask yourself what effect is created by the sounds of the poem.
2. Answer the following questions in your writing analysis:
Author: Who is the author of the poem?
Title: What is the poems title? Does the title suggest the poems subject or theme?
Genre: What type of poem is it? (lyric? narrative? dramatic? - what emotions are expressed? who is
the speaker? what is the plot? who are the characters? what is used, a dialogue or a monologue? what
is the setting?)
Form: is the poem divided into stanzas? how many lines are there in the poem? Is the poem written
in a traditional form? Is the poem written in free verse? What does the poems form contribute to its
meaning?
3. What is the theme of the poem? How is the theme revealed?
Devices of sound: metrical feet, rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, assonance, consonance, euphony,
cacophony, refrain.
Imagery: What images of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell are used in the poem to convey
sensations and emotions? What do these images describe (exact moments, setting, mood, feeling)?
What effect is created by these images?
Other elements: What is the overall mood of the poem? What devices create this mood?
Does the author tell you anything new about life or experience? Does he move or amuse you or make
you think?
Be honest about your reaction to the poem,
but make sure that you back up your views
with evidence from the poem itself.

Analyzing a short story / an excerpt


The following questions will help you to analyze a shot story or an excerpt:
1. Author: Who is the author of the story? What do you know about him?
2. Title: What is the storys title? Does the storys title suggest its theme?
3. Setting: Where and when does the story take place? What details does the writer use to create the
setting? Does the setting create a particular mood, or feeling? Is the setting a symbol for an importing
idea that the writer wants to convey?
4. Point of view: Is the story told from the first-person or the third-person point of view? Is the
narrator limited or omniscient? What effect does the point of view have on the way the reader
experiences the story?
5. Plot: What events take place in the story? Does the story have an introduction? When does the
climax occur? Does the story have a denouement? Does the writer use such special plot devices as
foreshadowing, flashbacks or a surprise ending? Is the story suspenseful?

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6. Characterization: Who is the main character or protagonist? Who are the other major and minor
characters? How does the writer reveal what each of the characters is like?
7. Theme: What is the theme (the message of the author), or central idea of the story? How is the
theme revealed? (A theme usually expresses some insight into the human experience. It may deal with
values, ideas, beliefs, or life in general.)
8. Figures of speech and devices of sound: Which of them can you find and how do they reveal
the authors ideas?
9. The tone (mood) of the text: What is the writers attitude to what he depicts? Is it serious,
humorous, ironic, sarcastic, mocking, indignant, matter-of-fact, etc.? How is the authors attitude
revealed in the authors commentaries or impersonally, through the characters actions and speech?

The structure of the text


Any narrative has a certain number of compositional elements: exposition, development of the
plot, climax and denouement.
Exposition is the introduction of the necessary details to the action, such as the time, the place of
the action (the setting) or the circumstances which will influence the action.
Plot development means the actions, thoughts or descriptions which lead the reader forward,
varying degrees of suspense (the episodes which build up the tension and postpone the completion of
the action).
Climax is the event of greatest interest and intensity; the most dramatic point of the action, crucial,
culminating point.
Denouement is the final stage of the plot where everything is made clear.

The forms of writing


The major forms of writing are: narration, description, commentary, dialogue/monologue,
interior monologue (represented speech). In modern literary texts all these forms overlap and run
together.
Narration is an account of events; things are shown as happening one after another.
Description tells how something looks. Here the author brings out the most essential qualities and
peculiarities of the objects.
Dialogue/monologue reproduces the speech of the characters.
Commentary represents the authors meditation, evaluation, comments of the thing he is writing
about.
Interior monologue (represented speech) is neither direct nor indirect speech. This form of
writing renders the characters thoughts which are not uttered. Everything is seen through the
characters inner speech. This form of writing is also called a stream of consciousness.

Methods of character-drawing
There are two methods of character-drawing: direct and indirect. A character is described directly
if we learn about him from descriptions of his appearance, behaviuor, etc.
The indirect method is used when we learn about the personage from other parts of the text: in
dialogue the character is described through his own words and the remarks of other personages; in
narrations - through his actions.
The protagonist is the most important character in a work. Other characters are called major and
minor characters.
Elements of character are: appearance, words and actions, background, personality, motivation,
relationships, conflict.
When you analyze a character, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Appearance: what do the aspects of the characters appearance reveal about his traits?
2. Words and actions : what kind of language does the hero use? what can we learn from his words?
3. Background: what past experience has the character got? how does the past effect the characters
thoughts and actions in the present?
4. Motivation: what makes the character act and speak as he does?

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5. Conflict: is the character involved in some conflict? is the conflict internal (within the characters
mind) or external (between the character and the other force)? how is the conflict resolved?
Remember! ALWAYS support your views and opinion with evidence by referring to points in the
text.

Special techniques of plot


1. Foreshadowing: this technique involves hinting at an event that will happen later in the
narrative. Foreshadowing is often very subtle, so the readers must be attentive for clues.
2. Flashback: is a section in the narrative that interrupts the chronological order of the events to
relate something that happened in the past. Flashback helps to explain the motivation of the heroes
and tells about their past experience.
3. Suspense: the tension that builds as the reader wonders how the central conflict will be resolved.
Writers create suspense by rising questions in the readers mind about what will happen next.
4. Surprise ending: an unexpected turn of events at the resolution.

Phrases to be used in the analysis of the text


The excerpt I am dealing with is taken from
The text under consideration is a fragment from
The text I am going to comment on is a story by
**************************************************************
The plot of the story is concerned with
The subject matter of the passage is
The story tells of
The story gives a deep insight into
The story shows the drama of
The story depicts
***************************************************************
The action takes place in
The scene is set in
The setting for the story is
The main characters are
The plot is very simple
****************************************************************
The story is told in the first/third person
This is a first/third person narration
The narrative is in the first/third person
It is a description/ an account of
The story opens with
This part of the text is written in the form of a description blended with dialogue
The description of the is not only the background of
The narration is interwoven / interlaced with the
This episode presents
This scene is dramatic/impressive/humorous

****************************************************************
The usage of colloquial English /archaic words/create (), humorous effect.
The choice of epithets reveals the authors attitude to the character.
The image of a cat crouching under the table suggests
This mood is conveyed by
This effect is created by
These details underline

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Texts

Poems to analyze
Bird Talk
Fairy Story
Think said the Robin.
I went into the wood one day
Think said the Jay,
And there I walked and lost my way
sitting in the garden,
talking one day.
When it was so dark I could not see
Think about people
A little creature came to me
the way they grow:
they dont have feathers
He said if I would sing a song
at all, you know.
The time would not be very long
They dont eat beetles,
they dont grow wings,
But first I must let him hold my hand tight
they dont like sitting
Or else the wood would give me a fright
on wires and things.
I sang a song, he let me go
Think! said the Robin.
But now I am home again there is nobody I
Think! said the Jay.
know.
Arent people funny
to be that way?
Stevie Smith
Aileen Fisher

The Swallow

Swallow, swallow, swooping free,


If I can stop one Heart from breaking Do you not remember me?
I shall not live in vain I think last spring that it was you
If I can ease one Life the Aching Who tumbled down the sooty flue
Or cool one Pain With wobbly wings and gaping face,
Or help one fainting Robin A fledgling in the fireplace.
Unto his Nest again Remember how I nursed and fed you,
I shall not live in Vain. And then into the air I sped you?
Emily Dickinson How I wish that you would try
To take me with you as you fly.
Ogden Nash

The Brook
Pretty Halcyon Days
Grumbling, stumbling,
Fumbling all the day; How pleasant to sit on the beach,
Fluttering, stuttering,Muttering On the beach, on the sand, in the sun,
away; With ocean galore within reach,
Rustling, hustling, Bustling as it And nothing at all to be done!
flows No letters to answer,
That is how the brook talks, No bills to be burned,
Bubbling as it goes. No work to be shirked,
Alfred Tennyson No cash to be earned.

Snow-flakes Fairy Tale


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Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken, He built himself a house
Over the woodlands brown and bare, his foundations,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken, his stones,
Silent and soft and slow his walls,
Descends the snow. his roof overhead,
Even as our cloudy fancies take his chimney and smoke,
Suddenly shape in some divine expression, his view from the window.
Even as the troubled heart doth make He made himself a garden,
In the white countenance confession, his fence,
The troubled sky reveals his thyme,
The grief it feels. his earthworm,
This is the poem of the air, his evening dew.
Slowly in silent syllables recorded; He cut put his bit of sky above.
This is the secret of despair, And he wrapped the garden in the sky
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded and the house in the garden
Now whispered and revealed and packed the lot in a handkerchief and went off
To wood and field. lone as an arctic fox through the cold
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 1882) Unending rain into the world.
Miroslav Holub

No more pencils, no more books,


No more teachers ugly looks, Hurt No Living Thing
No more things that bring us sorrow Hurt no living thing;
Cos we wont be here tomorrow. Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Hurray, hurray, Nor moth with dusty wing,
Its the last day, Nor cricket chirping cheerily,
Tear up your books, burn your pens, Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
This is the day the term ends. Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,
Kick up tables, kick up chairs, Nor harmless worms that creep.
Throw out homework down the stairs.
Christina Rossetti

Afternoon in February
How Do You Know Its Spring?
The day is ending,
The night is descending; How do you know it is Spring?
The march is frozen, And how do you know it is Fall?
The river dead. Suppose your eyes were always shut
Through clouds like ashes And you couldnt see at all,
The red sun flashes Could you smell and hear the Spring?
On village windows And could you feel the Fall?
That glimmer red. Margaret Wise Brown
W. Blake

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October
The month is amber,
Wind on the Hill
Gold, and brown.
Blue ghosts of smoke No one can tell me,
Float through the town. Nobody knows,
Great Vs of geese Where the wind came from,
Honk overhead, Where the wind goes.
And maples turn Its flying from somewhere
A fiery red. As fast as it can,
Frost bites the lawn. I couldnt keep up with it,
The stars are slits Not if I ran.
In a black cats eye But if I stopped holding
Before she spits. The string of my kite,
At last, small witches, It would blow with the wind
Goblins, hags, For a day and a night.
And pirates armed And then when I found it,
With paper bags, Wherever it blew,
Their costumes hinged I should know that the wind
On safety pins, Had been going there too.
Go haunt a night A. Milne
Of pumpkin grins.
John Updike

The Fly

Where Go the Boats? Little Fly,


Thy summers play
Dark brown is the river, My thoughtless hand
Golden is the sand. Has brushed away.
It flows along for ever, Am not I
With trees on either hand. A fly like thee?
Green leaves a-floating, Or art not thou
Castles of the foam, A man like me?
Boats of mine a-boating For I dance,
Where will all come home? And drink, and sing,
On goes the river Till some blind hand
And out past the mill, Shall brush my wing.
Away down the valley, If thought is life
Away down the hill. And strength and breath,
Away down the river, And the want
A hundred miles or more, Of thought is death;
Other little children Then am I
Shall bring my boats ashore. A happy fly
R.L. Stevenson If I live
Or if I die.
W. Blake

If I shouldn't be alive FIRE AND ICE


When the Robins come,
Give the one in Red Cravat, Some say the world will end in fire,
A Memorial crumb. Some say in ice.
If I couldn't thank you, From what I've tasted of desire
Being fast asleep, I hold with those who favor fire.

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But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
You will know I'm trying
To say that for destruction ice
With my Granite lip!
Is also great
E. Dickinson
And would suffice.
R. Frost

Mirror
A PRAYER IN SPRING
I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
And give us not to think so far away
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
I am not cruel, only truthful
All simple in the springing of the year.
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
It is pink, with speckles'. I have looked at it so long
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
And make us happy in the happy bees,
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
And make us happy in the darting bird
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
And off a blossom in mid-air stands still.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
The which it is reserved for God above
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
woman
But which it only needs that we fulfill.
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.
Robert Frost
Sylvia Platn
Because I Could not Stop for Death I envy Seas, whereon He rides
I envy Spokes of Wheels
Because I could not stop for Death Of Chariots, that Him convey
He kindly stopped for me I envy Crooked Hills
The carriage held but just Ourselves
And Immortality. That gaze upon His journey
How easy All can see
We slowly drove What is forbidden utterly
He knew no haste As Heaven unto me!
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too, I envy Nests of Sparrows
For His Civility That dot His distant Eaves
The wealthy Fly, upon His Pane
We passed the School, where Children strove The happy happy Leaves
At Recess in the Ring
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain That just abroad His Window
We passed the Setting Sun Have Summer's leave to play
The Ear Rings of Pizarro
Or rather He passed Us Could not obtain for me
The Dews drew quivering and chill
For only Gossamer, my Gown I envy Light that wakes Him
My tippet only Tulle And Bells that boldly ring
To tell Him it is Noon, abroad
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We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground
The Roof was scarcely visible
The Cornice in the Ground
Myself be Noon to Him
Since then 'tis Centuries and yet EMILY DICKINSON
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity

EMILY DICKINSON
Metaphors
The way a crow I'm a riddle in nine syllables,
Shook down on me An elephant, a ponderous house,
The dust of snow A melon strolling on two tendrils
From a hemlock tree red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!

Has given my heart This loaf's big with its yeasty' rising.
A change of mood Money new-minted in this fat purse.
And saved some pert I'm a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
Of a day I had rued. I've eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there's no getting off.
Robert Frost
Sylvia Plath

Stories to analyze

Dolph Heyliger by Washington Irving


No sooner was Dolph received into the doctor's family, than he was put in possession of the lodging
of his predecessor. It was a garret-room of a steep-roofed Dutch house, where the rain had pattered on
the shingles, and the lightning gleamed, and the wind piped through the crannies in stormy weather;
and where whole troops of hungry rats, like Don Cossacks, galloped about, in defiance of traps and
ratsbane.
He was soon up to his ears in medical studies, being employed, morning, noon, and night, in rolling
pills, filtering tinctures, or pounding the pestle and mortar in one corner of the laboratory; while the
doctor would take his seat in another corner, when he had nothing else to do, or expected visitors, and
arrayed in his morning-gown and velvet cap, would pore over the contents of some folio volume. It is
true, that the regular thumping of Dolph's pestle, or, perhaps, the drowsy buzzing of the summer-flies,
would now and then lull the little man into a slumber; but then his spectacles were always wide awake,
and studiously regarding the book.
There was another personage in the house, however, to whom Dolph was obliged to pay allegiance.
Though a bachelor, and a man of such great dignity and importance, the doctor was, like many other
wise men, subject to petticoat government. He was completely under the sway of his housekeeper, a
spare, busy, fretting housewife, in a little, round, quilted German cap, with a huge bunch of keys
jingling at the girdle of an exceedingly long waist. Frau Use (or Frow Ilsy,* as it was pronounced) had
accompanied him in his various migrations from Germany to England, and from England to the
province; managing his establishment and himself too: ruling him, it is true, with a gentle hand, but
carrying a high hand with all the world beside.* How she had acquired such ascendancy I do not
pretend to say. People, it is true, did talkbut have not people been prone to talk ever since the world
began? Who can tell how women generally contrive to get the upper hand? A husband, it is true, may
now and then be master in his own house; but who ever knew a bachelor that was not managed by his
housekeeper?

14
Indeed, Frau Ilsy's power was not confined to the doctor's household. She was one of those prying
gossips who know every one's business better than they do themselves; and whose all-seeing eyes, all-
telling tongues, are terrors throughout a neighborhood.
Nothing of any moment transpired in the world of scandal of this little burgh, but it was known to
Frau Ilsy. She had her crew of cronies that were perpetually hurrying to her little parlor with some
precious bit of news; nay, she would sometimes discuss a whole volume of secret history, as she held
the street-door ajar, and gossiped with one of these garrulous cronies in the very teeth of a December
blast.
Between the doctor and the housekeeper it may easily be supposed that Dolph had a busy life of it.
As Frau Ilsy kept the keys, and literally ruled the roast, it was starvation to offend her, though he found
the study of her temper more perplexing even than that of medicine. When not busy in the laboratory,
she kept him running hither and thither on her errands; and on Sundays he was obliged to accompany
her to and from church, and carry her Bible. Many a time has the poor varlet stood shivering and
blowing his fingers, or holding his frostbitten nose, in the church-yard, while Ilsy and her cronies were
huddled together, wagging their heads, and tearing some unlucky character to pieces.
With all his advantages, however, Dolph made very slow progress in his art. This was no fault of the
doctor's certainly, for he took unwearied pains with the lad, keeping him close to the pestle and mortar,
or on the trot about town with phials and pill-boxes; and if he ever flagged in his industry, which he
was rather apt to do, the doctor would fly into a passion, and ask him if he ever expected to learn his
profession, unless he applied himself closer to the study. The fact is, he still retained the fondness for
sport and mischief that had marked his childhood; the habit, indeed, had strengthened with his years,
and gained force from being thwarted and constrained. He daily grew more and more untractable, and
lost favor in the eyes, both of the doctor and the housekeeper.
In the meantime the doctor went on, waxing wealthy and renowned. He was famous for his skill in
managing cases not laid down in the books. He had cured several old women and young girls of
witchcraft, a terrible complaint, and nearly as prevalent in the province in those days as hydrophobia
is at present. He had even restored one strapping country-girl to perfect health, who had gone so far as
to vomit crooked pins and needles; which is considered a desperate stage of the malady. It was
whispered, also, that he was possessed of the art of preparing love-powders; and many applications
had he in consequence from love-sick patients of both sexes. But all these cases formed the mysterious
part of his practice, in which, according to the cant phrase, "secrecy and honor might be depended on."
Dolph, therefore, was obliged to turn out of the study whenever.

The Unicorn in the Garden by JAMES THURBER


Once upon a sunny morning a man who sat in a breakfast nook looked up from his scrambled eggs
to see a white unicorn with a gold horn quietly cropping the roses in the garden. The man went up to
the bedroom where his wife was still asleep and woke her. "There's a unicorn in the garden," he said.
"Eating roses." She opened one unfriendly eye and looked at him. "The unicorn is a mythical beast,"
she said, and turned her back on him. The man walked slowly downstairs and out into the garden. The
unicorn was still there; he was now browsing among the tulips. "Here, unicorn," said the man, and he
pulled up a lily and gave it to him. The unicorn ate it gravely. With a high heart, because there was a
unicorn in his garden, the man went upstairs and roused his wife again. "The unicorn," he said, "ate a
lily." His wife sat up in bed and looked at him, coldly. "You are a booby," she said, "and I am going to
have you put in the booby-hatch." The man, who had never liked the words "booby" and "booby-
hatch," and who liked them even less on a shining morning when there was a unicorn in the garden,
thought for a moment. "We'll see about that," he said. He walked over to the door. "He has a golden
horn in the middle of his forehead," he told her. Then he went back to the garden to watch the unicorn;
but the unicorn had gone away. The man sat down among the roses and went to sleep.
As soon as the husband had gone out of the house, the wife got up and dressed as fast as she could.
She was very excited and there was a gloat in her eye. She telephoned the police and she telephoned a
psychiatrist; she told them to hurry to her house and bring a strait-jacket. When the police and the
psychiatrist arrived they sat down in chairs and looked at her, with great interest. "My husband," she
said, "saw a unicorn this morning." The police looked at the psychiatrist and the psychiatrist looked at
the police. "He told me it ate a lily," she said. The psychiatrist looked at the police and the police
15
looked at the psychiatrist. "He told me it had a golden horn in the middle of its forehead," she said. At
a solemn signal from the psychiatrist, the police leaped from their chairs and seized the wife. They had
a hard time subduing her, for she put up a terrific struggle but they finally subdued her. Just as they got
her into the strait-jacket, the husband came back into the house.
"Did you tell your wife you saw a unicorn?" asked the police" Of course not," said the husband."
The unicorn is a mythical beast.' "That's all I wanted to know," said the psychiatrist. "Take her away.
I'm sorry, sir, but your wife is as crazy as a jay bird." Sc they took her away, cursing and screaming,
and shut her up in an institution. The husband lived happily ever after.

Three Men in a Boat To say nothing of the dog by Jerome K. Jerome


I remember a friend of mine buying a couple of cheeses at Liverpool. Splendid cheeses they were,
ripe and mellow, and with a two hundred horse-power scent about them that might have been
warranted to carry three miles, and knock a man over at two-hundred yards. I was in Liverpool at the
time, and my friend said that if I didn't mind he would get me to take them back with me to London, as
he should not be coming up for a day or two himself, and he did not think the cheeses ought to be kept
much longer.
"Oh, with pleasure, dear boy," I replied, "with pleasure."
I called for the cheeses, and took them away in a cab. It was a ramshackle affair, dragged along by a
knock-kneed, broken-winded somnambulist, which his owner, in a moment of enthusiasm, during
conversation, referred to as a horse. I put the cheeses on the top, and we started off at a shamble that
would have done credit to the swiftest steam-roller ever built, and all went merry as a funeral bell, until
we turned the corner. There, the wind carried a whiff from the cheeses full on to our steed. It woke him
up, and, with a snort of terror, he dashed off at three miles an hour. The wind still blew in his direction,
and before we reached the end of the street he was laying himself at the rate of nearly four miles an
hour, leaving the cripples and stout old ladies simply, nowhere.
It took two porters as well as the driver to hold him in at the station; and I do not think they would
have done it, even then, had not one of the men had the presence of mind to put a handkerchief over
his nose, and to light a bit of brown paper.
I took my ticket, and marched proudly up the platform, with my cheeses, the people falling back
respectfully on either side. The train was crowded, and I had to get into a carriage where there were
already seven other people. One crusty old gentleman objected, but I got in, notwithstanding; and,
putting my cheeses upon the rack, squeezed down with a pleasant smile, and said it was a warm day. A
few moments passed, and then the old gentleman began to fidget.
"Very close in here," he said.
"Quiet oppressive," said the man next him.
And then they both began sniffing, and, at the third sniff, they caught it right on the chest and rose
up without another word and went out. And then a stout lady got up, and said it was disgraceful that a
respectable married woman should be harried about in this way, and gathered up a bag and eight
parcels and went. The remaining four passengers sat on for a while, until a solemn-looking man in the
corner who, from his dress and general appearance, seemed to belong to the undertaker class, said it
put him in mind of a dead baby; and the other three passengers tried to get out of the door at the same
time, and hurt themselves.
I smiled at the black gentleman, and said I thought we were going to have the carriage to ourselves;
and he laughed pleasantly, and said that some people made such a fuss over a little thing. But even he
grew strangely depressed after we had started, and so, when we reached Crewe, I asked him to come
and have a drink. He accepted, and we forced our way into the buffet, where we yelled, and stamped,
and waved our umbrellas for a quarter of an hour; and then a young lady came and asked us if we
wanted anything.
"What's yours?" I said, turning to my friend.
"I'll have half-a-crown's worth of brandy, neat, if you please, miss," he responded.
And he went off quietly after he had drunk it and got into another carriage, which I thought mean.
From Crewe I had the compartment to myself, though the train was crowded. As we drew up at the
different stations, the people, seeing my empty carriage, would rush for it. "Here yare, Maria; come
along, plenty of room." "All right, Tom; we'll get in here," they would shout. And they would run
16
along, carrying heavy bags and fight round the door to get in first. And one would open the door and
mount the steps, and stagger back into the arms of the man behind him; and they would all come and
have a sniff, and then droop off and squeeze into other carriages, or pay the difference and go first
From Euston, I took the cheeses down to my friend's house. When his wife came into the room she
smelt round for an instant. Then she said:
"What is it? Tell me the worst."
I said:
"It's cheeses. Tom bought them in Liverpool, and asked me to bring them up with me."
And I added that I hoped she understood that it had nothing m do with me; and she said that she was
sure of that, but that she would speak to Tom about it when he came back.
My friend was detained in Liverpool longer than he expected and, three days later, as he hadn't
returned home, his wife called on me. She said:
"What did Tom say about those cheeses?"
I replied that he had directed they were to be kept in a moist place, and that nobody was to touch
them.
She said:
"Nobody's likely to touch them. Had he smelt them?"
I thought he had, and added that he seemed greatly attached to them.
"You think he would be upset," she queried, "if I gave a man a sovereign to take them away and
bury them?"
I answered that I thought he would never smile again.
An idea struck her. She said:
"Do you mind keeping them for him? Let me send them round to you."
"Madam," I replied, "for myself I like the smell of cheese, and the journey the other day with them
from Liverpool I shall ever look back upon as a happy ending to a pleasant holiday. But, in this world,
we must consider others. The lady under whose roof I have the honour of residing is a widow, and, for
all I know, possibly an orphan too. She has a strong, I may say an eloquent, objection to being what
she terms 'put upon.' The presence of your husband's cheeses in her house she would, I instinctively
feel, regard as a 'put upon;' and it shall never be said that I put upon the widow and the orphan."
"Very well, then," said my friend's wife, rising, "all I have to say is, that I shall take the children and
go to an hotel until those cheeses are eaten. I decline to live any longer in the same house with them."
She kept her word, leaving the place in charge of the charwoman, who, when asked if she could
stand the smell, replied, "What smell?" and who, when taken close to the cheeses and told to sniff hard,
said she could detect a faint odour of melons. It was argued from this that little injury could result to
the woman from the atmosphere, and she was left. The hotel bill came to fifteen guineas; and my
friend, after reckoning everything up, found that the cheeses had cost him eight-and-sixpence a pound.
He said he dearly loved a bit of cheese, but it was beyond his means; so he determined to get rid of
them. He threw them into the canal; but had to fish them out again, as the bargemen complained. They
said it made them feel quite faint. And, after that, he took them one dark night and left them in the
parish mortuary. But the coroner discovered them, and made a fearful fuss.
He said it was a plot to deprive him of his living by waking up the corpses.
My friend got rid of them, at last, by taking them down to a sea-side town, and burying them on the
beach. It gained the place quite a reputation. Visitors said they had never noticed before how strong the
air was, and weak-chested and consumptive people used to throng there for years afterwards.

Stalking (excerpt) by Joyce Carol Oates


Ten or twelve older kids are hanging around the drugstore entrance. One of them is sitting on top of
a mailbox, rocking it back and forth. Gretchen pushes past them they are kidding around, trying to
block people and inside the store her eye darts rapidly up and down the aisles, looking for the
Invisible Adversary.
Hiding here? Hiding?
She strolls along, cunning and patient. At the cosmetics counter a girl is showing an older woman
some liquid make-up. She smears a small oval onto the back of the woman's hand, rubs it in gently.
"That's Peach Pride," the girl says. She has shimmering blond hair and eyes that are penciled to show a
17
permanent exclamatory interest. She does not notice Gretchen, who lets one hand drift idly over a
display of marked-down lipsticks, each for only $ 1.59.
Gretchen slips the tube of lipstick into her pocket. Neatly. Nimbly. Ignoring the Invisible Adversary,
who is shaking a finger at her, she drifts over to the newstand, looks at the magazine covers without
reading them, and edges over to another display. Packages in a cardboard barrel, out in the aisle. Big
bargains. Gretchen doesn't even glance in the barrel to see what is being offered ... she just slips one
of the packages in her pocket. No trouble.
She leaves by the other door, the side exit. A small smile tugs at-her mouth. She notices the
Adversary going into a Franklin Joseph store.
Gretchen enters the store, sniffs in the perfumery, overheated smell, sees nothing that interests her
on the counters or at the dress racks, and so walks right to the back of the store, to the Ladies Room.
No one inside. She takes the tube of lipstick out of her pocket, opens it, examines the lipstick. It has a
tart, sweet smell. A very light pink: Spring Blossom. Gretchen goes to the mirror and smears the
lipstick onto it, at first lightly, then coarsely; part of the lipstick breaks and falls into a hair-littered
sink. Gretchen goes into one of the toilet stalls and tosses the tube into the toilet bowl. She takes
handfuls of toilet paper and crumbles them into a ball and throws them into the toilet. Remembering
the package from the drugstore, she takes it out of her pocket just toothpaste. She throws it,
cardboard package and all, into the toilet bowl, then, her mind glimmering with an idea, she goes to the
apparatus that holds the towel a single cloth towel on a roll and tugs at it until it comes loose, then
pulls it out hand over hand, patiently, until the entire towel is out. She scoops it up and carries it to the
toilet. She pushes it in and flushes the toilet.
The stuff doesnt go down, so the tries again. This time it goes part-way down before it gets stuck.
Gretchen leaves the rest room and strolls unhurried through the store. The Adversary is waiting for
her outside peeking through the window wagging a finger at her. Don't you wag no finger at me,
she thinks, with a small tight smile. Outside, she follows him at a distance. Loud music is blaring
around her head. It is rock music, piped out onto the colored squares and rectangles of the Mall, blown
everywhere by the November wind, but Gretchen hardly hears it.
Some boys are fooling around in .front of the record store. One of them bumps into Gretchen and
they all laugh as she is pushed against a trash can. "Watch it, babe!" the boy sings out. Her leg hurts.
Gretchen doesn't look at them but, with a cold, swift anger, her face averted, she knocks the trash can
over onto the sidewalk. Junk falls out. The can rolls. Some women shoppers scurry to get out of the
way and the boys laugh
Gretchen walks away without looking back.
Gretchen selects several dresses and a salesgirl shows her to a dressing room.
"Need any help?" the girl asks. She has long swinging hair and a high-shouldered, indifferent,
bright manner.
Alone, Gretchen takes off her jacket. She is wearing a navy blue sweater. She zips one of the
dresses open and it falls off the flimsy plastic hanger before she can catch it. She steps on it, smearing
mud onto the white wool. The hell with it. She lets it lie there and holds up another dress, gazing at
herself in the mirror.
She has untidy, curly hair that looks like a wig set loosely on her head. Light brown curls spill out
everywhere, bouncy, a little frizzy, a cascade, a tumbling of curls. Her eyes are deep set, her eyebrows
heavy and dark. S he has a stern," staring look, like an adult man. Her nose is perfectly formed, neat
and noble. Her upper lip is long,-as if it were stretched to close with difficulty over the front teeth. She
wears no make-up, her lips are "perfectly colorless, pale, a little chapped, and they are usually held
tight, pursed tightly shut. She has a firm, rounded chin. Her facial structure is strong, pensive, its
features stern and symmetrical as a statue's, blank, neutral, withdrawn. Her face is attractive. But there
is a blunt, neutral, sexless stillness to it, as if she were detached from it and somewhere else,
uninterested.
She holds the dress up to her body, smoothes it down over her breasts, staring.
After a moment she hangs the dress up again, and runs down the zipper so roughly that it breaks.
The other dress she doesn't bother with. She leaves the dressing room, putting on her jacket.
At the front of the store the salesgirl glances at her ... Didn't fit?"
"No," says Gretchen.
18
MANY MOONS By James Thurber
Once upon a time, in a kingdom by the sea, there lived a little princess named Lenore. She was ten
years old, going on eleven. One day Lenore fell ill of a surfeit of raspberry tarts and took to her bed.
The Royal Physician came to see her and took her temperature and felt her pulse and made her stick
out her tongue. The Royal Physician was worried. He sent for the King, Lenore's father, and the King
came to see her.
"I will get you anything your heart desires," the King said. "Is there anything your heart desires?"
"Yes," said the Princess. "I want the moon. If I can have the moon, I will be well again."
Now, the king had a great many wise men who always got for him anything he wanted, so he told
his daughter that she could have the moon. Then he went to the throne room and pulled a bell cord,
three long pulls and a short pull, and presently the Lord High Chamberlain came into the room.
The Lord High Chamberlain was a large, fat man who wore thick glasses which made his eyes seem
twice as big as they really were. This made the Lord High Chamberlain seem twice as wise as he really
was.
"I want you to get the moon," said the King. "The Princess Lenore wants the moon. If she can have
the moon, she will get well again."
"The moon?" exclaimed the Lord High Chamberlain, his eyes widening. This made him look four
times as wise as he really was.
"Yes, the moon," said the King. "M-o-o-n, moon. Get it tonight, tomorrow at the latest."
The Lord High Chamberlain wiped his forehead with a handkerchief and then blew his nose loudly.
"I have got a great many things for you in my time, your Majesty," he said. "It just happens that I have
with me a list of things I have got for you in my time." He pulled out a long scroll of parchment out of
his pocket. "Let me see, now." He glanced at the list, frowning. "I have got ivory, apes, and peacocks,
rubies, opals, and emeralds, black orchids, pink elephants, and blue poodles, gold bugs, scarabs, and
flies in amber, hummingbirds' tongues, angels' feathers, and unicorns' horns, giants, midgets, and
mermaids, frankincense, ambergris, and myrrh, troubadours, minstrels, and dancing women, a pound
of butter, two dozen eggs, and a sack of sugar-sorry, my wife wrote that in there."
"I don't remember any blue poodles," said the King.
"It says blue poodles right here on the list, and they are checked off with a little check mark," said
the Lord High Chamberlain. "So there must have been blue poodles. You just forget."
"Never mind the blue poodles," said the King. "What I want now is the moon."
"I have sent as far as Samarkand and Araby and Zanzibar to get things for you, youre Majesty,"
said the Lord High Chamberlain. "But the moon is out of the question. It is 35,000 miles away and it is
bigger than the room the Princess lies in. Furthermore it is made of molten copper. I cannot get the
moon for you. Blue poodles, yes; the moon, no."
The King flew into a rage and told the Lord High Chamberlain to leave the room and to send the
Royal Wizard to the throne room.
The Royal Wizard was a little, thin man with a long face. He wore a high peaked hat covered with
silver stars, and a long blue robe covered with golden owls. His face grew very pale when the King
told him that he wanted the moon for his little daughter, and that he expected the Royal Wizard to get
it.
"I have worked a great deal of magic for you in my time, your Majesty," said the Royal Wizard. "As
a matter of fact, I just happen to have in my pocket a list of the wizardries I have performed for you."
He drew the paper from a deep pocket in his robe. "It begins: 'Dear Royal Wizard: I am returning
herewith the so-called philosopher's stone which you claimed' -no, that isn't it." The Royal Wizard
brought a long scroll of parchment from another pocket in his robe. "Here it is," he said. "Now, let's
see. I have squeezed blood out of turnips for you, and turnips out of blood. I have produced rabbits out
of silk hats, and silk hats out of rabbits. I have conjured up flowers, tambourines, and doves out of
nowhere, and nowhere out of flowers, tambourines, and doves. I have brought you divining rods,
magic wands, and crystal spheres in which to behold the future. I have compounded philters, unguents,
and potions, to cure heartbreak, surfeit, and ringing in the ears. I have made you my own special
mixture of wolfs bane, nightshade, and eagles' tears, toward off witches, demons, and things that go
bump in the night. I have given you seven-league boots, the golden touch, and a cloak of invisibility-"
"It didn't work," said the King. "The cloak of invisibility didn't work."
19
"Yes, it did," said the Royal Wizard.
"No, it didn't," said the King. "I kept bumping into things, the same as ever."
"The cloak is supposed to make you invisible," said the Royal Wizard. "It is not supposed to keep
you from bumping into things."
"All I know is, I kept bumping into things," said the King.
The Royal Wizard looked at his list again. "I got you," he said, "horns from Elfland, sand from the
Sandman, and gold from the rainbow. Also a spool of thread, a paper of needles, and a lump of
beeswax sorry, those are things my wife wrote down for me to get for her."
"What I want you to do now," said the King, "is to get me the moon. Princess Lenore wants the
moon, and when she gets it, she will be well again."
"Nobody can get the moon," said the royal Wizard. "It is 150,000 miles away, and it is made of
green cheese, and it is twice as big as this palace."
The King flew into another rage and sent the Royal Wizard back to his cave. Then he rang a gong
and summoned the Royal Mathematician.
The Royal Mathematician was a bald-headed, nearsighted man, with a skullcap on his head and a
pencil behind each ear. He wore a black suit with white numbers on it.
"I don't want to hear a long list of all the things you have figured out for me since 1907," the King
said to him. "I want you to figure out right now how to get the moon for the Princess Lenore. When
she gets the moon, she will be well again."
"I am glad you mentioned all the things I have figured out for you since 1907," said the Royal
Mathematician. "It so happens that I have a list of them with me."
He pulled a long scroll of parchment out of a pocket and looked at it. "Now, let me see. I have
figured out for you the distance between the horns of a dilemma, night and day, and A and Z. I have
computed how far is Up, how long it takes to go Away, and what becomes of Gone. I have discovered
the length of the sea serpent, the price of the priceless, and the square of the hippopotamus. I know
where you are when you are at Sixes and Sevens, how much Is you have to have to make an Are, and
how many birds you can catch with the salt f the ocean 187,796,132, if it would interest you to
know."
"There aren't that many birds," said the King.
"I didn't say there were," said the Royal Mathematician. "I said if there were."
"I don't want to hear about seven hundred million imaginary birds," said the King. "I want you to
get the moon for the Princess Lenore."
"The moon is 300,000 miles away," said the Royal Mathematician. "It is round and flat like a coin,
only it is made of asbestos and it is half the size of this kingdom. Furthermore, it is pasted on the sky.
Nobody can get the moon."
The King flew into still another rage and sent the Royal Mathematician away. Then he rang for the
Court Jester. The Jester came bounding into the throne room in his motley and his cap and bells, and
sat at the foot of the throne.
"What can I do for you, your Majesty? asked the Court Jester.
"Nobody can do anything for me," said the King mournfully. "The Princess Lenore wants the moon,
and she cannot be well until she gets it, but nobody can get it for her. Every time I ask anybody for the
moon, it gets larger and farther away. There is nothing you can do for me except play on your lute.
Something sad."
"How big do they say the moon is," asked the Court Jester, "and how far away?"
"The Lord High Chamberlain says it is 35,000 miles away, and bigger than the Princess Lenore's
room," said the King. "The Royal Wizard says it is 150,000 miles away, and twice as big as this palace.
The Royal Mathematician says it is 300,000 miles away, and half the size of this kingdom."
The Court Jester strummed his lute for a little while. "They are all wise men," he said, "and so they
must all be right. If they arc all right, then the moon must be just as large and as far away as each
person thinks it is. The thing to do is to find out how big Princess Lenore thinks it is, and how far
away."
"I never thought of that," said the King.
"I will go and ask her, your Majesty," said the Court Jester. And he crept softly into the little girl's
room.
20
The Princess Lenore was awake, and she was glad to see the Court Jester, but her face was very pale
and her voice very weak.
"Have you brought the moon to me?" she asked.
"Not yet," said the Court Jester, "but I will get it for you right away. How big do you think it is?"
"It is just a little smaller than my thumbnail," she said, "for when I hold my thumbnail up at the
moon, it just covers it."
"And how far away is it?" asked the Court Jester.
"It is not as high as the big tree outside my window," said the Princess, "for sometimes it gets
caught in the top branches."
"It will be very easy to get the moon for you," said the Court Jester. "I will climb the tree tonight
when it gets caught in the top branches and bring it to you."
Then he thought of something else. "What is the moon made of, Princess?"
"Oh," she said, "it's made of gold, of course, silly."
The Court Jester left the Princess Lenore's room and went to see the Royal Goldsmith. He had the
Royal Goldsmith make a tiny round golden moon just a little smaller than the thumbnail of Princess
Lenore. Then he had him string it on a golden chain so the Princess could wear it around her neck.
"What is this thing I have made?" asked the Royal Goldsmith when he had finished it.
"You have made the moon," said the Court Jester. "That is the moon."
"But the moon," said the Royal Goldsmith, "is 500,000 miles away and is made of bronze and is
round like a marble."
"That's what you think," said the Court Jester as he went away with the moon.
The Court Jester took the moon to the Princess Lenore, and she was overjoyed. The next day she
was well again and could get up and go in the gardens to play.
But the King's worries were not yet over. He knew that the moon would shine in the sky again that
night, and he did not want Princess Lenore to see it. If she did, she would know that the moon she
wore on a chain around her neck was not the real moon.
So the King sent for the Lord High Chamberlain and said, "We must keep the Princess Lenore from
seeing the moon when it shines in the sky tonight. Think of something."
The Lord High Chamberlain tapped his forehead with his fingers thoughtfully and said, "I know just
the thing. We can make some dark glasses for the Princess Lenore. We can make them so dark that she
will not be able to see anything at all through them. Then she will not be able to see the moon when it
shines in the sky."
This made the King very angry, and he shook his head from side to side. "If she wore dark glasses,
she would bump into things," he said, "and then she would be ill again." So he sent the Lord High
Chamberlain away and called the Royal Wizard.
"We must hide the moon," said the King, "so that the Princess Lenore will not see it when it shines
in the sky tonight. How are we going to do that?"
The Royal Wizard stood on his hands, and then he stood on his head, and then he stood on his feet
again "I know what we can do," he said. "We can stretch some black velvet curtains on poles. The
curtains will cover all the palace gardens like a circus tent, and the Princess Lenore will not be able to
see through them, so she will not see the moon in the sky."
The King was so angry at this that he waved his arms around. "Black velvet curtains would keep out
the air," he said. "The Princess Lenore would not be able to breathe, and she would be ill again." So he
sent the Royal Wizard away and summoned the Royal Mathematician.
"We must do something," said the King, "so that the Princess Lenore will not see the moon when it
shines in the sky tonight. If you know so much, figure out a way to do that."
The Royal Mathematician walked around in a circle, and then he walked around in a square, and
then he stood still. "I have it!" he said. "We can set off fireworks in the garden every night. We will
make a lot of silver fountain and golden cascades, and when they go off, they will fill the sky with so
many sparks that it will be as light as day and the Princess Lenore will not be able to see the moon."
The King flew into such a rage that he began jumping up and down. "Fireworks would keep the
Princess Lenore awake," he said. "She would not get any sleep at all and she would be ill again." So
the King sent the Royal Mathematician away.

21
When he looked up again, it was dark outside and he saw the bright rim of the moon just peeping
over the horizon. He jumped up in great fright and rang for the Court Jester. The Court Jester came
bounding into the room and sat down at the foot of the throne.
"What can I do for you, your Majesty?" he asked.
"Nobody can do anything for me," said the King mournfully. "The moon is coming up again. It will
shine into the Princess Lenore's bedroom, and she will know it is still in the sky and that she does not
wear it on a golden chain around her neck. Play me something on your lute, something very sad. For
when the Princess sees the moon, she will be ill again."
The Court Jester strummed on his lute. "What do your wise men say?"
"They can think of no way to hide the moon that will not make the Princess Lenore ill," said the
King.
The Court Jester played another song, very softly. "Your wise men know everything," he said, "and
if they cannot hide the moon, then it cannot be hidden."
The King put his head in his hands again and sighed. Suddenly he jumped up from his throne and
pointed to the windows. "Look!" he cried. "The moon is already shining into the Princess Lenore's
bedroom. Who can explain how the moon can be shining in the sky when it is hanging on a golden
chain around her neck?"
The Court Jester stopped playing on his lute. "Who could explain how to get the moon when your
wise men said it was too large and too far away? It was the Princess Lenore. Therefore the Princess
Lenore is wiser than your wise men and knows more about the moon than they do. So 1 will ask her."
And before the King could stop him, the Court Jester slipped quietly out of the throne room and up the
wide marble staircase to the Princess Lenore's bedroom.
The Princess was lying in bed, but she was wide awake and she was looking out the window at the
moon shining in the sky. Shining in her hand was the moon the Court Jester had got for her. He looked
very sad, and there seemed to be tears in his eyes.
"Tell me, Princess Lenore," he said mournfully, "how can the moon be shining in the sky when it is
hanging on a gold chain around your neck?"
The Princess looked at him and laughed. "That is easy, silly," she said. "V/hen I lose a tooth, a new
one grows in its place, doesn't it?"
"Of course," said the Court Jester. "And, when the unicorn loses his horn in the forest, a new one
grows in the middle of his forehead."
"That is right," said the Princess. "And when the Royal Gardener cuts the flowers in the garden,
other flowers come to take their place."
"I should have thought of that," said the Court Jester, "for it is the same way with the daylight."
"And it is the same way with the moon," said the Princess Lenore. "I guess it is the same way with
everything." Her voice became very low and faded away, and the Court Jester saw that she was asleep.
Gently he tucked the covers in around the sleeping Princess.
But before he left the room, he went over to the window and winked at the moon, for it seemed to
the Court Jester that the moon winked at him.

Louise
(after W.S. Maugham; abridged and adapted)
I could never understand why Louise bothered - with me. She disliked me and I knew that behind
my back she seldom lost the opportunity of saying a disagreeable thing about me. She had too much
delicacy ever to make a direct statement, but with a hint and a sigh and a little flutter of her beautiful
hands she was able to make her meaning plain. It was true that we had known one another almost
intimately for five and twenty years, but it was impossible for me to believe that this fact meant much
to her. She thought me a brutal, cynical and vulgar fellow. I was puzzled at her not dropping me. She
did nothing of the kind; indeed, she would not leave me alone; she was constantly asking me to lunch
and dine with her and once or twice a year invited me to spend a week-end at her house in the country.
At last I thought that I had discovered her motive. She suspected that I did not believe in her, that I saw
the face behind the mask and she hoped that sooner or later I too should take the mask for the face. I
was never quite certain that she was a complete humbug. I wondered whether she fooled herself as

22
thoroughly as she fooled the world or whether there was sonic spark of humour at the bottom of her
heart.
I knew Louise before she married. She was then a frail, delicate girl with large and melancholy
eyes. Her father and mother adored and worshipped her, for some illness, scarlet fever, I think, had left
her with a weak heart and she had to take the greatest care of herself. When Tom Maitland proposed to
her they were dismayed, for they were convinced that she was too delicate for marriage.
But they were not too well off and Tom Maitland was rich. He promised to do everything in the
world for Louise and finally they entrusted her to him. Tom Maitland was a big strong fellow, very
good-looking and a line athlete. He adored Louise. With her weak heart he could not hope to keep her
with him long and he made up his mind to do everything he could to make her few years on earth
happy. lie gave up the games he was so good at, not because she wished him to, she was glad that he
.should play golf and hunt, but because it so happened that she always had a heart attack whenever he
was going to leave her for a day. If they had a difference of opinion she gave in to him at once for she
was the most gentle wife a man could have, but her heart failed her and she would be laid up, sweet
and uncomplaining for a week. He could not he such a brute as to cross her.
On one occasion seeing her walk eight miles on an expedition that she specially wanted to make, I
mentioned to Tom Maitland that she was stronger than one would have thought. He shook his head and
sighed.
"No, no, she is dreadfully delicate. She's been to all the best heart specialists in the world and they
all say that her life hangs on a thread. But she has a wonderfully strong spirit."
He told her that I remarked on her endurance.
"I shall pay for it tomorrow," she said to me in her melancholy way. "I shall be at death's door."
"I sometimes think that you're quite strong enough to do things you want to," I murmured.
I noticed that if a party was amusing she could dance till five in the morning, but if it was dull she
felt very poorly and Tom had to take her home early. I am afraid she did not like my reply, for though
she gave me a pathetic little smile I saw no amusement in her large blue eyes.
"You can't expect me to fall down dead just to please you," she answered.
Louise outlived her husband. He caught his death of cold one day when they were sailing and
Louise needed all the rugs there were to keep her warm. He left her a comfortable fortune and a
daughter. Louise was inconsolable. It was wonderful that she managed to survive the shock. Her
friends expected her speedily to follow poor Tom Maitland to the grave. Indeed they already felt
dreadfully sorry for Iris, her daughter, who would be left an orphan. They redoubled their attention
towards Louise. They would not let her stir a finger; they insisted on doing everything in the world to
save her trouble. They had to, because if it was necessary for her to do anything tiresome or unpleasant
her heart failed her and she was at death's door. She was quite lost without a man to take care of her.
She said she did not know how, with her delicate health, she was going to bring up her dear Iris. Her
friends asked her why she did not marry again. Oh, with her heart it was out of the question, she
answered. Who would want to be bothered with a wretched invalid like herself?
Oddly enough more than one young man showed himself quite ready to undertake the charge and a
year alter Tom's death she allowed George Hob house to lead her to the altar. He was a fine, upstanding
fellow and he was not at all badly off. I never saw anyone so grateful as he for the privilege of being
allowed to take care of this frail little thing.
"I shan't live to trouble you long," she said.
He was a soldier and an ambitious one, but he left the army. Louise's health forced him to spend the
winter at Monte Carlo and the summer at Deauville. He prepared to make his wife's last few years as
happy as he could.
"It can't be very long now," she said. "I'll try not to be troublesome."
For the next two or three years Louise managed, in spite of her weak heart, to go beautifully dressed
to all the most lively parties, to gamble very heavily, to dance and even to flirt with tall slim young
men. But George Hobhouse had not the strength of Louise's first husband and he had to brace himself
now and then with a stiff drink for his day's work as Louise's second husband. It is possible that the
habit would have grown on him, which Louise would not have liked at all, but very fortunately (for
her) the war broke out. He rejoined his regiment and three months later was killed. It was a great shock
to Louise. She felt, however, that in such a crisis she must not give way to a private grief; and if she
23
had a heart attack nobody heard of it. In order to distract her mind she turned her villa at Monte Carlo
into hospital for convalescent officers. Her friends told her that she would never survive the strain.
"Of course it will kill me," she said, "I know that. But what docs it matter? I must do my bit."
It didn't kill her. She had the time of her life. There was no convalescent home in France that was
more popular. I met her by chance in Paris. She was lunching at a fashionable restaurant with a tall and
very handsome young Frenchman. She explained that she was there on business connected with the
hospital. She told me that the officers were very charming to her. They knew how delicate she was
and they wouldn't let her do a single thing. They took care of her, well - as though they were all her
husbands. She sighed.
"Poor George, who would ever have thought that I with my heart should survive him?"
"And poor Tom!" I said.
I don't know why she didn't like my saying that. She gave me her melancholy smile and her
beautiful eyes filled with tears.
"You always speak as though you grudged me the few years that I can expect to live."
"By the way, your heart is much better, isn't it?" "It'll never be better. I saw a specialist this morning
and he said I must be prepared for the worst."
"Oh, well, you've been prepared for that, for nearly twenty years now, haven't you?"
When the war came to an end Louise settled in London. She was now a woman of over forty, thin
and frail still, with large eyes and pale cheeks, but she didn't look a day more than twenty-five, iris,
who had been at school and was now grown up, came to live with her.
"She'll take care of me," said Louise. "Of course it'll be hard on her to live with such a great invalid
as I am, but it can only be for such a little while, I'm sure she won't mind."
Iris was a nice girl. She had been brought up with the knowledge that her mother's health was poor.
As a child she had never been allowed to make a noise. She had always realized that her mother must
on no account be upset. And though Louise told her now that she would not hear of her sacrificing
herself for a tiresome old woman the girl simply would not listen.
With a sigh her mother let her do a great deal.
"It pleases the child to think she's making herself useful," she said.
"Don't you think she ought to go out more?" I asked.
"That's what I'm always telling her. I can't, get her to enjoy herself. Heaven knows, I never want
anyone to give up their pleasures on my account."
And Iris, when I talked to her about it, said: "Poor dear mother, she wants me to go and stay with
friends and go to the parties, but the moment I start off anywhere she has one of her heart attacks, so I
prefer to stay at home."
But presently she fell in love. A young friend of mine, a very good lad, asked her to marry him and
she consented. I liked the child and was glad that she would be given at last the chance to lead a life of
tier own. But one day the young man came to me in great distress and told me that the marriage was
postponed for an indefinite time. Iris felt that she could not desert her mother. Of course it was really
no business of mine, but I decided to go and sec Louise. She was always glad to receive her friends at
tea-time and now that she was older she cultivated the society of painters and writers.
"Well, I hear that Iris isn't going to be married," I said after a while.
"I dont know about that. She's not going to be married quite as soon as I wish. I've begged her on
my knees not to consider me, but she absolutely refuses to leave me."
"Don't you think it's rather hard on her?"
"Dreadfully. Of course it can only be for a few months. I hate the thought of anyone sacrificing
themselves for me."
"My dear Louise, you've buried two husbands. I can't see why you shouldn't bury at least two
more."
"Do you think that's funny?" she asked me in a tone that she made as offensive as she could.
"Don't you think it strange that you are always strong enough to do anything you want and that your
weak heart prevents you from doing things that bore you?"
"Oh, I know; I know what you've always thought of me. You've never believed that I have a poor
heart, have you?"
I looked at tier full and square.
24
"Never. I think you've carried out a bluff for twenty-five years. I think you're the most selfish and
monstrous woman I have ever known. You ruined the lives of those two wretched men you married
and now you're going to ruin the life of your daughter."
I should not have been surprised if Louise had had a heart attack then. I fully expected her to fly
into a passion. She only gave me a gentle smile.
"My poor friend, one of these days you'll be so dreadfully sorry you said this to me."
"Have you quite decided not to let Iris marry this boy?"
"I've begged tier to marry him. I know it'll kill me, but I don't mind. Nobody cares for me. I'm just a
burden to everybody."
"Did you tell her it would kill you?"
"She made me."
"Nobody can make you do anything that you yourself don't want to do."
"She can marry her young man tomorrow if she tikes. If it kills me, it kills me."
Well, let's risk it, shall we?"
"Haven't you got any pity for me?"
"One can't pity anyone who amuses one as much as you amuse me," I answered.
A spot of colour appeared on Louise's pale cheeks and though she smiled her eyes were hard and
angry.
"Iris will marry in a month's time," she said, "and if anything happens to me I hope you and site will
be able to forgive yourselves."
Louise was as good as her word. A date was fixed, a rich trousseau was ordered, and invitations
were sent. Iris and the lad were very happy. On the wedding-day, at ten o'clock in the morning, Louise,
that devilish woman, had one of her heart attacks - and died. She died gently forgiving Iris for having
killed her.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


by Mark Twain
I told about Louis Sixteenth that got his head cut off in France long time ago; and about his little
boy the dolphin, that would a been a king, but they took and shut him up in jail, and some say he died
there.
Po' little chap.'
'But some says he got out and got away, and come to America.'
-'Dat's good! But he'll be pooty lonesome6 dey ain' no kings here is dey7, Huck?'
-'No.'
-'Den he cain't git no situation". What he gwyne to do?'
-'Well, I don't know. Some of them gets on the police, and some of them learns people how to talk
French.'
-'Why, Huck, doan' de French people talk de same way we docs?'
-No, Jim; you couldn't understand a word they said - not a single word.'
-'Well, now, I be ding-busted! How do dat come?'
-'I don't know; but it's so. I got some of their jabber out of a book. S'pose a man was to come to you
and say Polly-voo-franzy what would you think?'
-'I wouldn' think nuff'n; I'd take en bust him over de head dat is, if he warn't white. I wouldn't 'low
no nigger to call me dat.'
'Shucks, it ain't calling you anything. It's only saying, do you know how to talk French?' 'Well, den,
why couldn't he say it?'
-'Why, he is a-saying it. That's a Frenchman's way of saying it.'
-'Well, it's a blame ridicklous way, en I doan' want to hear no mo' 'bout it. Dey ain' no sense in it.'
-'Looky here, Jim; docs a cat talk like we do?'
-'No, a cat don't.'
-'Well, does a cow?'
-'No, a cow don't, nuthcr.'
-'Does a cat talk like a cow, or a cow talk like a cat?'
-'No, dey don't.'
25
-'It's natural and right for 'em to talk different from each other, ain't it?'
-'Course.'
-'And ain't it natural and right for a cat and a cow to talk different from us?
'Why, mos' sholy it is.'
-'Well, then, why ain't it natural and right for a Frenchman to talk different from us? You answer me
that.'
-'Is a cat a man, Huck?'
-'No.
-'Well, den, dey ain't no sense in a cat talkin' like a man. Is a cow a man? er is a cow a cat?'
'-No, she ain't either of them.'
-'Well, den, she ain't got no business to talk like either one er the yuther of 'em. Is a
Frenchman a man?'
-'Yes.'
-'Well, den! Dad blame it, why doan' he talk like a man? You answer me dat!
- I see it wasnt no use wasting words - you can't learn a nigger to argue. So I quit.-

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


by Mark Twain
Huckleberry his gaudy outcast condition, and was under strict orders not to play with him. So he
played with him every time he got a chance. Huckleberry was always dressed in the cast-off clothes of
full-grown men, and they were in perennial bloom and fluttering with rags. His hat was a vast ruin
with a wide crescent lopped out of its brim; his coat, when he wore one, hung nearly to his heels, and
had the rearward buttons far down the back; but one suspender supported his trousers, the seat of the
trousers bagged low and contained nothing; the fringed legs dragged in the dirt when not rolled up.
Huckleberry came and went at his own free will. He slept on door-steps in fine weather, and in empty
hogs-heads in wet; he did not have to go to school or to church, or call any being master or obey
anybody: he could go fishing or swimming when and where he chose, and stay as long as it suited him;
nobody forbade him to fight; he could sit up as late as he pleased; he was always the first boy that went
barefoot in the spring and the last to resume leather in the fall; he never had to wash, nor put on clean
clothes; he could swear wonderfully. In a. word, everything that goes to make life precious, that boy
had. So thought every harassed, hampered, respectable boy in St. Petersburg. Tom hailed the romantic
outcast:
'Hello, Huckleberry!'
'Hello, yourself, and see how you like it.'
'What's that you got?'
'Dead cat.'
'Lemme see him, Huck. My, he's pretty stiff. Where'd you get him?'
'Bought him off'n a boy.'
'What did you give?'
'I give a blue ticket and a bladder that I got at the slaughterhouse.'
'Where'd you get the blue ticket?'
'Bought it off'n Ben Rogers two weeks ago for a hoop-stick.'
'Say what is dead cats good for, Huck?'
'Good for? Cure warts with.'
'No? Is that so? I know something that's better.'
I bet you don't. What is it?'
'Why, spunk water.'
Spunk water! I wouldn't give a dern for spunk water.'
'You wouldn't, wouldn't you? D'you ever try it?'
'No, I hain't. But Bob Tanner did.'
'Who told you so?'
'Why, he told Jeff Thatcher, and Jeff told Johnny Baker, and Johnny told Jim Hollis, and Jim told
Ben Rogers, and Ben told a nigger, and the nigger told me. There, now!'

26
'Well, what of it? They'll all lie. Leastways all but the nigger. I don't know him. But I never see a
nigger that would'nt lie. Shucks! Now you tell me how Bob Tanner done it, Huck,'
'Why, he took and dipped his hand in a rotten stump where the rain-water was.'
'In the daytime?'
'Certainly.'
'With his face to the stump?'
'Yes. Least I reckon so.'
'Did he say anything?'
'I don't reckon he did, I don't know.'
'Aha! Talk about trying to cure warts with spunk water such a blame fool way as that! Why, that
ain't a going to do any good. You got to go all by yourself to the middle of the woods, where you know
there's a spunk water stump, and just as it's midnight you back up against the stump and jam your hand
in and say
Barley-corn, barley-corn, injun-meal shorts,
Spunk water, spunk water, swaller these warts,
and then walk away quick, eleven steps, with your eyes shut, and then turn around three times and
walk home without speaking to anybody. Because if you speak, the charm's busted.'
'Well, that sounds like a good way; but that ain't the way Bob Tanner done.'
'No, sir, you can bet he didn't; because he's the warti-est boy in this town; and he wouldn't have a
wart on him if he'd knowed how to work spunk water. I've took off thousands of warts off of my hands
that way, Huck. 1 play with frogs so much that I've always got considerable many warts. Sometimes I
take 'em off with a bean.'
'Yes, bean's good. I've done that.'
'Have you? What's your way?'
'You take, and split the bean, and cut the wart so as to get some blood, and then you put the blood
on one piece of the bean, and take and dig a hole and bury it 'bout midnight at the cross-roads in the
dark of the moon, and then you burn up the rest of the bean. You see that piece that's got the blood on it
will keep drawing and drawing, trying to fetch the other piece to it, and so that helps the blood to draw
the wart, and pretty soon off she comes.'
'Yes, that's it, Huck that's it; though, when you're burying it, if you say, "Down bean, off wart;
come no more to bother me!" it's better. That's the way Joe Harper does, and he's been nearly to
Coonville, and most everywhere. But say how do you cure 'em with dead cats?'' Why, you take your
cat and go and get in the graveyard long about midnight, when somebody that was wicked has been
buried; and when it's midnight a devil will .come, or maybe two or three, but you can't see 'em, you
can only hear something like the wind, or maybe hear 'em talk; and when they're taking that feller
away, you heave your cat after 'em and say, "Devil follow corpse, cat follow devil, warts follow cat,
I'm done with ye!" That'll fetch any wart'
'Sounds right. D'you ever try it, Huck?'
'No, but old Mother Hopkins told me.'
'Well, I reckon it's so, then, becuz they say she's a witch.'
'Say! Why, Tom, I know she is. She witched pap. Pap says so his own self. He come along one day,
and he see she was a witching him, so he took up a rock, and if she hadn't dodged he'd a got her. Well,
that very night he rolled of f n a shed where' he was a layin' drunk, and broke his arm.'
'Why, that's awful. How did he know she was a witching him?'
'Lord, pap can tell, easy. Pap says when they keep looking at you right stiddy, they're a witching
you, specially if they mumble. Because when they mumble they're saying the Lord's Prayer backyards.'
'Say, Hucky, when you going to try the cat?'
'To-night. I reckon they'll come after old Hoss Williams tonight.'
'But they buried him Saturday. Didn't they get him Saturday night?'
'Why, how you talk! How could their charms work till midnight? and then it's Sunday. Devils don't
slosh around much of a Sunday, I don't reckon.''I never thought of that. That's so. Lemme go with you?'
'Of course if you ain't afeard.'
'Afeard! 'Tain't likely. Will you meow?'

27
'Yes, and you meow back if you get a chance. Last time you keep me a meowing around till old
Hays went to throwing rocks at me, and says, "Dern that cat!" and so I hove a brick through his
window but don't you tell'
'I won't. I couldn't meow that night because auntie was watching me; but I'll meow this time. Say
what's that?'
'Nothing but a tick.'
'Where'd you get him?'
'Out in the woods.'
'What'll you take for him?'
'I don't know. I don't want to sell him.'
'All right. It's a mighty small tick, anyway.'
'Oh, anybody can run a tick down that don't belong to them. I'm satisfied with it. It's a good enough
tick for me.'
'Sho, there's ticks a plenty. I could have a thousand of 'em if I wanted to.'
'Well, why don't you? Becuz you know mighty well you can't. This is a pretty early tick, I reckon.
It's the first one I've seen this year.'
'Say, Huck, I'll give you my tooth for him.'
'Less see it.'
Tom got out a bit of paper and carefully unrolled it. Huckleberry viewed it wistfully. The temptation
was very strong. At last he said:
'Is it genuwyne?'
Tom lifted his lip and showed the vacancy.
'Well, all right,' said Huckleberry; 'it's a trade.'
Tom enclosed the tick in the percussion-cap box that had lately been the pinch-bug's prison, and the
boys separated, each feeling wealthier than before.
When Tom reached the little isolated frame school-house, he strode in briskly, with the manner of
one who had come with all honest speed. He hung his hat on a peg, and flung himself into, his seat
with business

The Clock
I was staying with my aunt in Hampstead. There was another guest, whom I had never met before, a
Mrs Caleb. She lived in Lewes and had been staying with my aunt for about a fortnight. Frankly, I
disliked her. She was queer and secretive; underground, if you can use the expression, rather than
underhand. And I could feel in my body that she did not like me.
One summer day Mrs Caleb waylaid me in the hall, just as I was going out.
'I wonder,' she said, 'I wonder if you could do me a small favour. If you do have any time to spare in
Lewes - only if you do - would you be so kind as to call at my house? I left a little travelling-clock
there in the hurry of parting. If it's not in the drawing-room, it will be in my bedroom or in one of the
maids' bedrooms. Would it be too much to ask? The house has been locked up for twelve days, but
everything is in order. I have the keys here; the large one is for the garden gate, the small one for the
front door.'
I could only accept, and she proceeded to tell me how I could find Ash Grove House.
'You will feel quite like a burglar,' she said. 'But mind, it's only if you have time to spare.'
I found Ash Grove without difficulty. It was a medium-sized red-brick house, standing by itself in a
high walled garden that bounded a narrow lane. A flagged path led from the gate to the front door. The
dining-room and drawing-room lay on either side of the hall and I looked round hurriedly for the
clock. It was neither on the table nor mantelpiece. The rest of the furniture was carefully covered over
with white dust-sheets. Then 1 went upstairs. I made a hurried search of the principal bedrooms. There
was no sign of Mrs Caleb's clock. The impression that the house gave me - you know the sense of
personality that a house conveys - was neither pleasing nor displeasing, but it was stuffy, stuffy from
the absence of fresh air, with an additional stuffiness added, that seemed to come out from the
hangings and quilts. The last door that I unlocked - (I should say that the doors of all the rooms were
locked, and relocked by me after I had glanced inside them) -contained the object of my search. Mrs
Caleb's travelling-clock was on the mantelpiece, ticking away merrily.
28
That was how I thought of it at first. And then for the first time I realised that there was something
wrong. The clock had no business to be ticking. The house had been shut up for twelve days. No one
had come in to air it or to light fires. And yet the clock was going. I wondered if some vibration had set
the mechanism in motion, and pulled out my watch to see the time. It was five minutes to one. The
clock on the mantelpiece said four minutes to one. I again looked round the room. Nothing was out of
place. The only thing that might have called for remark was that there appeared to be a slight
indentation on the pillow and the bed; but the mattress was a feather mattress, and you know how
difficult it is to make them perfectly smooth. I gave a hurried glance under the bed and then, and much
more reluctantly, opened the doors of two horribly capacious cupboards, both happily empty. By this
time I really was frightened. The clock went ticking on. I had a horrible feeling that an alarm might go
off at any moment, and the thought of being in that empty house was almost too much for me.
However, I made an attempt to pull myself together. It might after all be a fourteen-day clock. If it
were, then it would be almost run down. I could roughly find out how long the clock had been going
by winding it up. I hesitated to put the matter to the test; but the uncertainty was too much for me. I
took it out of its case and began to wind. I had scarcely turned the winding-screw twice when it
stopped. The clock clearly was not running down; the hands had been set in motion probably only an
hour or two before. I felt cold and faint and, going to the window, threw up the sash, letting in the
sweet, live air of the garden. I knew now that the house was queer, horribly queer. Could someone be
living in the house? Was someone else in the house now? I thought that I had been in all the rooms, but
had I? I had only just opened the bathroom door, and I had certainly not opened any cupboards, except
those in the room in which I was. Then, as I stood by the open window, wondering what I should do
next and and feeling that I just couldn't go down that corridor into the darkened hall to fumble at the
latch of the front door with I don't know what behind me, I heard a noise. It was very faint at first, and
seemed to be coming from the stairs. It was a curious noise - not the noise of anyone climbing up the
stairs, but of something hopping up the stairs, like a very big bird would hop. I heard it on the landing;
it stopped. Then there was a curious scratching noise against one of the bedroom doors, the sort of
noise you can make with the nail of your little finger scratching polished wood. Whatever it was, was
coming slowly down the corridor, scratching at the doors as it went. I could stand it no longer.
Nightmare pictures of locked doors opening filled my brain. I took up the clock wrapped it in my
mackintosh and dropped it put of the window on to a flower-bed. Then I managed to crawl out of the
window and, getting a grip of the sill, 'successfully negotiated', as the journalists would say, 'a twelve-
foot drop'. Picking up the mackintosh, I ran round to the front door and locked it. Then I felt I could
breathe, but not until I was on the far side of the gate in the garden wall did I feel safe.
Then I remembered that the bedroom window was open. What was I to do? Wild horses wouldn't
have dragged me into that house again unaccompanied. I made up my mind to go to the police-station
and tell them everything. I had actually begun to walk down the lane in the direction of the town, when
I chanced to look back at the house. The window that I had left open was shut.
No, my dear, I didn't see any face or anything dreadful like that... and of course, it may have shut by
itself. It was an ordinary sash-window, and you know they are often, difficult to keep open.
And the rest? Why, there's really nothing more to tell. I didn't even see Mrs Caleb again. She had
had some sort f fainting fit just before lunch-time, my aunt informed me on my return, and had had to
go to bed. Next morning I travelled down to Cornwall to join mother and the children. I thought I had
forgotten all about it, but when three years later Uncle Charles suggested giving me a travelling-clock
for a twenty-first birthday present, I was foolish enough to prefer the alternative that he offered, a
collected edition f the works of Thomas Carlyle.

The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry


Bill and me had a joint capital of about six hundred dollars, and we needed just two thousand
dollars more to pull off a fraudulent town-lot scheme in Western Illinois with. We talked it over on the
front steps of the hotel. Philoprogeni-tiveness, says we, is strong in semi-rural communities; therefore,
and for other reasons, a kidnapping project ought to do better there than in the radius of newspapers
that send reporters out in plain clothes to stir up talk about such things. We knew that Summit couldn't
get after us with anything stronger than constables and, maybe, some lackadaisical bloodhounds and a
diatribe or two in the Weekly Farmers' Budget. So, it looked good.
29
We selected for our victim the only child of a prominent citizen named Ebenezer Dorset. The father
was respectable and tight, a mortgage fancier and a stern, upright collection-plate passer and foreclose.
The kid was a boy of ten, with bas-relief freckles, and hair the color of the cover of the magazine you
buy at the news-stand when you want to catch a train. Bill and me figured that Ebenezer would melt
down for a ransom of two thousand dollars to a cent. But wait till I tell you.
About two miles from Summit was a little mountain, covered with a dense cedar brake. On the rear
elevation of this mountain was a cave. There we stored provisions.
One evening after sundown, we drove in a buggy past old Dorset's house. The kid was in the street,
throwing rocks at a kitten on the opposite fence.
"Hey, little boy!" says Bill, "would you like to have a bag of candy and a nice ride?"
The boy catches Bill neatly in the eye with a piece of brick.
"That will cost the old man an extra five hundred dollars," says Bill, climbing over the wheel.
That boy put up a fight like a welter-weight cinnamon bear; but, at last, we got him down in the
bottom of the buggy and drove away.
We took him up to the cave, and I hitched the horse in the cedar brake. After dark I drove the buggy
to the little village, three miles away, where we had hired it, and walked back to the mountain.
Bill was pasting court-plaster over the scratches and bruises on his features. There was a fire
burning behind the big rock at the entrance of the cave, and the boy was watching a pot of boiling
coffee, with two buzzard tail-feathers stuck in his red hair. He points a stick at me when I come up, and
says:
"Ha! cursed paleface, do you dare to enter the camp of Red Chief, the terror of the plains?"
"He's all right now," says Bill, rolling up his trousers and examining some bruises on his shins.
"We're playing Indian. We're making Buffalo Bill's show look like magic-lantern views of Palestine in
the town hall. I'm Old Hank, the Trapper, Red Chief's captive, and I'm to be scalped at daybreak. By
Geronimo! that kid can kick hard."
Yes, sir, that boy seemed to be having the time of his life. The fun of camping put in a cave had
made him forget that he was a captive himself. He immediately christened me ' Snake-eye, the Spy,
and announced that, when his braves returned from the warpath, I was to be broiled at the stake at the
rising of the sun.
Then we had supper; and he filled his mouth full of bacon and bread arid gravy, and began to talk.
He made a during-dinner speech something like this:
"I like this fine. I never camped out before; but I had a pet 'possum once, and I was nine last
birthday. I hate to go to school. Rats ate up sixteen of Jimmy Talbot's aunt's speckled hen's eggs. Are
there any real Indians in these woods? I want some more gravy. Does the trees moving make the wind
blow? We had five puppies. What makes your nose so red, Hank? My father has lots of money. Are the
stars hot? I whipped Ed Walker twice, Saturday. I don't like girls. You dassent catch toads unless with a
string. Do oxen make any noise? Why are oranges round? Have you got beds to sleep on in this cave?
Amos Murray has got six toes. A parrot can talk, but a monkey or a fish can't. How many does it take
to make twelve?"
Every few minutes he would remember that he was a pesky redskin, and pick up his stick rifle and
tiptoe to the mouth of the cave to rubber for the scouts of the hated paleface. Now and then he would
let out a war-whoop that made Old Hank the Trapper shiver. That boy had Bill terrorized from the start.
"Red Chief," says I to the kid, "would you like to go home?"
"Aw, what for?" says he. "I don't have any fun at home. I hate to go to school. I like to camp out.
You won't take me back home again, Snake-eye, will you?"
"Not right away," says I. "We'll stay here in the cave awhile."
"All right!" says he. "That'll be fine. I never had such fun in all my life."
We went to bed about eleven o'clock. We spread down some wide blankets and quilts and put Red
Chief between us. We weren't afraid he'd run away. He kept us awake for three hours, jumping up and
reaching for his rifle and screeching: "His! pard," in mine and Bill's ears, as the fancied crackle of a
twig or the rustle of a leaf revealed to his young imagination the stealthy approach of the outlaw band.
At last, I fell into a troubled sleep, and dreamed that I had been kidnapped and chained to a tree by a
ferocious pirate with red hair.

30
Just at daybreak, I was awakened by a series of awful screams from Bill. They weren't yells, or
howls, or shouts, or whoops, or yawps, such as you'd expect from a manly set of vocal organs they
were simply indecent, terrifying, humiliating screams, such as women emit when they see ghosts or
caterpillars. It's an awful thing to hear a strong, desperate, fat man scream incontinently in a cave at
daybreak.
I jumped up to see what the matter was. Red Chief was sitting on Bill's chest, with one hand twined
in Bill's hair. In the other he had the sharp case-knife we used for slicing bacon; and he was
industriously and realistically trying to take Bill's scalp, according to the sentence that had been
pronounced upon him the evening before.
I got the knife away from the kid and made him lie down again. But, from that moment, Bill's spirit
was broken. He laid down on his side of the bed, but he never closed an eye again in sleep as long as
that boy was with us. I dozed off a while, but along toward sun-up I remembered that Red Chief had
said I was to be burned at the stake at the rising of the sun. I wasn't nervous or afraid; but I sat up and
lit my pipe and leaned against a rock.
"What you getting up so soon for, Sam?" asked Bill.
"Me?" says I. "Oh, I got a kind of pain in my shoulder. I thought sitting up would rest it."
"You're a liar!" says Bill. "You're afraid. You was to be burned at sunrise, and you was afraid he'd
do it. And he would, too, if he could find a match. Ain't it awful, Sam? Do you think anybody will pay
out money to get a little imp like that back home?"
"Sure," said I. "A rowdy kid like that is just the kind that parents dote on. Now, you and the Chief
get up and cook breakfast, while I go up on the top of this mountain and reconnoiter."
I went up on the peak of the little mountain and ran my eye over the contiguous vicinity. Over
towards Summit I expected to see the sturdy yeomanry of the village armed with scythes and
pitchforks beating the countryside for the dastardly kidnappers. But what I saw was a peaceful
landscape dotted with one man ploughing with a dun mule. Nobody was dragging the creek; no
couriers dashed hither and yon, bringing tidings of no news to the distracted parents. There was a
sylvan attitude of somnolent sleepiness pervading that section of the external outward surface of
Alabama that lay exposed to my view. "Perhaps," says I to myself, "it has not yet been discovered that
the wolves have borne away the tender lambkin from the fold. Heaven help the wolves!" says I, and I
went down the mountain to breakfast.
When I got to the cave I found Bill backed up against the side of it, breathing hard, and the boy
threatening to smash him with a rock half as big as a cocoanut.
"He put a red-hot boiled potato down my back," explained Bill, "and then mashed it with his foot;
and I boxed his ears. Have you got a gun about you, Sam?"
I took the rock away from the boy and kind of patched up the argument. "I'll fix you," says the kid
to Bill. "No man ever yet struck the Red Chief but he got paid for it. You better beware!"

THE WORM IN THE APPLE by John Chiver


The Crutchmans were so very, very happy and so temperate in all their habits and so pleased with
everything that came their way that one was bound to suspect a worm in their rosy apple and 1hat the
extraordinary rosiness of the fruit was only meant to conceal the gravity and the depth of the infection.
Their house, for instance, on Hill Street with all those big glass windows. Who but someone suffering
from a guilt complex would want so much light to pour into their rooms? And all the wall-to-wall
carpeting as if an inch of bare floor (there was none) would touch on some deep memory of
unrequition and loneliness. And there was a certain necrophilia ardor to their gartering. Why be so
intense about digging holes and planting seeds and watching them come up? Why this morbid concern
with the earth?
She was a pretty woman with that striking pallor you so often find in maniacs. Larry was a big man
who used to garden without a shirt, which may have shown a tendency to infantile exhibitionism.
They moved happily out to Shady Hill after the war. Larry had served in the Navy. They had two
happy children: Rachel and Tom. But there were already some clouds on their horizon. Larry's ship
had been sunk in the war and he had spent four days on a raft in the Mediterranean and surely this
experience would make him skeptical about the comforts and songbirds of Shady Hill and leave him
with some racking nightmares. But what was perhaps more serious was the fact that Helen was rich.
31
She was the only daughter of old Charlie Simpson one of the last of the industrial buccaneers who
had left her with a larger income than Larry would ever take away from his job at Melcher & Thaw.
The dangers in this situation are well-known. Since Larry did not have to make a living since he
lacked any incentive he might take it easy, spend too much time on the golf links and always have a
glass in his hand. Helen would confuse financial with emotional independence and damage the delicate
balances within their marriage. But Larry seemed to have no nightmares and Helen spread her income
among the charities and lived a comfortable but modest life. Larry went to his job each morning with
such enthusiasm that you might think he was trying to escape from something. His participation in the
life of the community was so vigorous that he must have been left with almost no time for self-
examination. He was everywhere: he was at the communion rail, the fifty-yard line, he played the oboe
with the Chamber Music Club, drove the fire truck, served on the school hoard and rode the 8:03 into
New York every morning. What was the sorrow that drove him?
He may wanted a larger family. Why did they only have two children? Why not three or four? Was
there perhaps some breakdown in their relationship after the birth of Tom? Rachel, the oldest, was
terribly fat when she was a girl and quite aggressive in a mercenary way. Every spring she would drag
an old dressing table out of the garage and set it up on the sidewalk with a sign saying: FReSH
LEMonADE. 15 c. Tom had pneumonia when he was six and nearly died but he recovered and there
were no visible complications. The children may have felt rebellious about the conformity of their
parents for they were exacting conformists. Two cars? Yes. Did they go to church? Every single
Sunday they got to their knees and prayed with ardor. Clothing? They couldn't have been more
punctilious in their observance of the sumptuary laws. Book clubs, local art and music lovers
associations, athletics and cards they were up to their necks in everything. But if the children were
rebellious they concealed their rebellion and seemed happily to love their parents and happily to be
loved in return, but perhaps there was in this love the ruefulness of some deep disappointment. Perhaps
he was impotent. Perhaps she was frigid but hardly, with that pallor. Everyone in the community with
wandering hands had given them both a try but they had all been put off. What was the source of this
constancy? Were they frightened? Were they prudish? Were they monogamous? What was at the
bottom of this appearance of happiness?
As their children grew one might look to them for the worm in the apple. They would be rich, they
would inherit Helen's fortune and we might see here, moving over them, the shadow that so often falls
upon children who can count on a lifetime of financial security. And anyhow Helen loved her son
much too much. She bought him everything he wanted. Driving him to dancing school in his first blue
serge suit she was so entranced by the manly figure he cut as he climbed the stairs that she drove the
car straight into an elm tree. Such an infatuation was bound to lead to trouble. And if she favored her
son she was bound to discriminate against her daughter. Listen to her. "Rachel's feet," she says, "are
immense, simply immense. I can never get shoes for her." Now perhaps we see the worm. Like most
beautiful women she is jealous; she is jealous of her own daughter! She cannot brook competition. She
will dress the girl in hideous clothing, having her hair curled in some unbecoming way and keep
talking about the size of her feet until the poor girl will refuse to go to the dances or if she is forced to
go she will sulk in the ladies' room, staring at her monstrous feet She will become so wretched and so
lonely that in order to express herself she will fall in love with an unstable poet and fly with him to
Rome, where they will live out a miserable and a boozy exile.
BUT when the gin enters the room sue is pretty and prettily dressed and she smiles at her mother
with perfect love. Her feet are quite large, to be sure, but so is her front. Perhaps we should look to the
son to find our trouble.
And there is trouble. He fails his junior year in high school and has to repeat and as a result of
having to repeat he feels alienated from the members of his class and is put, by chance, at a desk next
to Carrie Witchell, who is the most conspicuous dish in Shady Hill. Everyone knows about the
Witchells and their pretty, high-spirited daughter. They drink too much and live in one of those frame
houses in Maple Dell. The girl is really beautiful and everyone knows how her shrewd old parents are
planning to climb out of Maple Dell on the strength of her white, white skin. What a perfect sutiation!
They will know about Helen's wealth. In the darkness of their bedroom they will calculate the
settlement they can demand and in the malodorous kitchen where they take all their meals they will tell
their pretty daughter to let the boy go as far as he wants. But Tom fell out of love with Carrie as swiftly
32
as he fell into it and after that he fell in love with Karen Strawbridge and, Susie Morris and Anna
Macken and you might think that he was unstable, but in his second year in college he announced his
engagement to Elizabeth Trustman and they were married after his graduation and since then he had to
serve his time in the army she followed him to his post in Germany, where they studied and learned the
language and befriended the people and were a credit to their country.
Rachel's way was not so easy. When she lost her fat she became very pretty and quite fast. She
smoked and drank and probably fornicated and the abyss that opens up before a pretty and an
intemperate young woman is unfathomable. What, but chance, was there to keep her from ending up as
a hostess in a Times Square dance hall? And what would her poor father think, seeing the face of his
daughter, her breasts lightly covered with gauze, gazing mutely at him on a rainy morning from one of
those show cases? What she did was to fall in love with the son of the Farquarsons' German gardener.
He had come with his family to the United States on the Displaced Persons quota3 after the war. His
name was Eric Reiner and to be fair about it he was an exceptional young man who looked on the
United States as a truly New World. The Crutchmans must have been sad about Rachel's choice not
to say heartbroken but they concealed their feelings. The Reiners did not. This hard working German
couple thought the marriage hopeless and improper. At one point the father beat his son over the head
with a stick of firewood. But the young couple continued to see each other and presently they eloped.
They had to. Rachel was three months pregnant. Eric was then a freshman at Tufts, where he had a
scholarschip. Helen's money came in handy here and she was able to rent an apartment in Boston for
the young couple and pay their expenses. That their first grandchild was premature did not seem to
bother the Crutchmans. When Eric graduated from college he got a fellowship at M.I.T. and took his
Ph.D. in physics and was taken on as an associate in the department. He could have gone into industry
at a higher salary but he liked to teach and Rachel was happy in Cambridge, where they remained.
With their own dear children gone away the Crutchmans might be expected to suffer the celebrated
spiritual destitution of their age and their kind the worm in the apple would at last be laid bare
although watching this charming couple as they entertained their friends or read the books they
enjoyed one might wonder if the worm was not in the eye of the observer who, through timidity or
moral cowardice, could not embrace the broad range of their natural enthusiasms and would not grant
that, while Larry played neither Bach nor football very well, his pleasure in both was genuine. You
might at least expect to see in them the usual destructiveness of time, but either through luck or as a
result of their temperate and healthy lives they had lost neither their teeth nor their hair. The touchstone
of their euphoria remained potent, and while Larry gave up the fire truck he could still be seen at the
communion rail, the fifty-yard line, the 8:03 and the Chamber Music Club, and through the prudence
and shrewdness of Helen's broker they got richer and richer and richer and lived happily, happily,
happily, happily.

Ernest Hemingway
Cat in the Rain
There were only two Americans stopping at the hotel. They did not know any of the people they
passed on the stairs on their way to and from their room. Their room was on the second floor facing the
sea. It also faced the public garden and the war monument. There were big palms and green benches in
the public garden. In the good weather there was always an artist with his easel. Artists liked the way
palms grew and the bright colors of the hotels facing the gardens and the sea. Italians came from a long
way off to look up at the war monument. It was made of bronze and glistened in the rain. The rain
dripped from the palm trees. Water stood in pools on the gravel paths. The sea broke in a long line in
the rain and slipped back down the beach to come up and break again in a long line in the rain. The
motor cars were gone from the square by the war monument. Across the square in the doorway of a
cafe a waiter stood looking out at the empty sguare.
The American wife stood at the window looking out. Outside right under their window a cat was
crouched under one of the dripping green tables. The cat was trying to make herself so compact that
she would not be dripped on.
Im going down and get that kitty, the American wife said.
Ill do it, her husband offered from the bed.
No, Ill get it. The poor kitty out trying to keep dry under a table.
33
The husband went on reading, lying propped up with the two pillows at the bed.
Dont get wet, he said.
The wife went downstairs and the hotel owner stood up and bowed to her as she passed the office.
His desk was at the far end of the office. He was an old man and very tall.
Il piove, the wife said. She liked the hotelkeeper.
Si, si, Signora, brutto tempo. Its very bad weather.
He stood behind his desk in the far end of the dim room. The wife liked him. She liked the deadly
serious way he received any complaints. She liked his dignity. She liked the way he wanted to serve
her. She liked the way he felt about being a hotel-keeper. She liked his old, heavy face and hands.
Liking him she opened the door and looked out. It was raining harder. A man in a rubber cape was
crossing the empty square to the cafe. The cat would be around to the right. Perhaps she could go along
under the eaves. As she stood in the doorway an umbrella opened behind her. It was the maid who
looked after their room.
"You must not get wet," she smiled, speaking Italian. Of course, the hotel-keeper had sent her.
With the maid holding the umbrella over her, she walked along the gravel path until she was under
their window. The table was there, washed bright green in the rain, but the cat was gone. She was
suddenly dissappointed. The maid looked up at her.
Ha perduta qualque cosa, Signora?
There was a cat, said the American girl.
A cat?
Si, il gatto.
A cat? the maid laughed. A cat in the rain?
Yes, she said, under the table. Then, Oh, I wanted it so much. I wanted a kitty.
When she talked English the maids face tightened.
Come, Signora, she said. We must get back inside. You will be wet.
I suppose so, said the American girl.
They went back along the gravel path and passed in the door. The maid stayed outside to close the
umbrella. As the American girl passed the office, the padrone bowed from his desk. Something felt
very small and tight inside the girl. The padrone made her feel very small and at the same time really
important. She had a momentary feeling of being of supreme importance. She went on up the stairs.
She opened the door of the room. George was on the bed reading.
Did you get the cat? he asked, putting the book down.
It was gone.
Wonder where it went to, he said, resting his eyes from reading. She sat down on the bed.
I wanted it so much, she said I dont know why I wanted it so much. I wanted that poor kitty. It
isnt any fun to be a poor kitty out in the rain.
George was reading again.
She went over and sat in front of the mirror of the dressing table looking at herself with the hand
glass. She studied her profile, first one side and then the other. Then she studied the back of her head
and her nec
Dont you think it would be a good idea if I let my hair grow out? she asked, looking at her
profile again.
George shifted his position in the bed. He hadnt looked away from her since she started to speak.
You look pretty darn nice, he said.
She laid the mirror down on the dresser and went over to the window and looked out. It was getting
dark
I want to pull my hair back tight and smooth and make a big knot at the back that I can feel, she
said. I want to have a kitty to sit on my lap and purr when I stroke her.
Yeah? George said from the bed.
And I want to eat at a table with my own silver and I want candles. And I want it to be spring and I
want to brush my hair out in front of a mirror and I want a kitty and I want some new clothes.
Oh, shut up and get something to read, George said. He was reading again.
His wife was looking out of the window. It was quite dark now and still raining in the palm trees.

34
Anyway, I want a cat, she said, I want a cat. I want a cat now. If I cant have long hair or any
fun, I can have a cat.
George was not listening. He was reading his book. His wife looked out of the window where the
light had come on in the square.
Someone knocked at the door.
Avante, George said. He looked up from his book.
In the doorway stood the maid. She held a big tortoise-shell cat pressed tight against her and swung
down against her body.
Excuse me, she said, the padrone asked me to bring this for the Signora.

H. Munro Mrs. Packletides Tiger


It was Mrs. Packletides pleasure and intention that she should shoot a tiger. Not that the desire to
kill had suddenly come to her. The compelling motive for the intention was the fact that Loona
Bimberton had recently been carried eleven miles in an airplane and talked of nothing else; only a
personally procured tiger skin and a heavy harvest of press photographs could successfully counter that
sort of thing. Mrs. Packletide had already arranged in her mind the lunch she would give in her house
in Curzon Street, in Loona Bimbertons honour, with a tiger skin occupying most of the foreground
and all the conversation.
Circumstances proved favourable. Mrs. Packletide had offered a thousand rupees for the
opportunity of shooting a tiger, and it so happened that an old tiger was in the habit of coming to a
neighbouring village at night. He was so old that he had to abandon game-killing and confine his
appetite to the smaller domestic animals. The prospect of getting the thousand rupees stimulated the
commercial instincts of the villagers; children were posted night and day in the jungle to watch the
tiger, and the cheaper kind of goats were left about to keep him satisfied with his present quarters. The
one great anxiety was lest he should die of old age before the day of Mrs. Packletides shoot.
The great night arrived. A platform had been constructed in a comfortable big tree, and on it sat
Mrs. Packletide and her paid companion, Miss Mebbin. A goat, with a loud bleat, such as even a
partially deaf tiger might be expected to hear on a still night, was tied down at a correct distance.
I suppose we are in some danger? said Miss Mebbin.
She was not really afraid of the wild beast, but she did not wish to perform an atom more service
than she had been paid for.
Nonsense, said Mrs. Packletide, its a very old tiger. It couldnt spring up here even if he wanted
to.
If it is an old tiger I think you ought to get it cheaper. A thousand rupees is a lot of money.
Their conversation was cut short by the appearance of the animal itself.
As soon as it saw the goat it lay flat on the earth for the purpose of taking a short rest before
beginning the attack.
I believe it is ill, said Louisa Mebbin, loudly.
Hush! said Mrs. Packletide, and at that moment the tiger began moving towards the goat.
Now, now! urged Miss Mebbin with some excitement, if he doesnt touch the goat we neednt
pay for it.
The rifle flashed out with a loud report, and the great yellow beast rolled over in the stillness of
death. In a moment a crowd of excited villagers appeared on the scene, and their triumph found a ready
echo in the heart of Mrs. Packletide; already that lunch in Gurzon Street seemed much nearer.
It was Louisa Mebbin who drew attention to the fact that the goat was dying from a bullet wound;
while no trace of the rifles work could be found on the tiger. Evidently the wrong animal had been hit,
and the tiger had died of heart failure, caused by the sudden report of the rifle. Mrs. Packletide did not
like the discovery, but the villagers gladly supported the fiction that she had shot the beast. And Miss
Mebbin was a paid companion. Therefore, Mrs. Packletide faced the cameras with a light heart, and
her picture appeared on the pages of all papers in England and America. As for Loona Bimberton, she
refused to look at a paper for weeks. The lunch-party she declined.
The tiger skin was inspected and admired, and Mrs. Packletide went to a costume ball in the
character of Diana .

35
How amused everyone would be if they knew what really happened, said Louisa Mebbin a few
days after the ball.
What do you mean? asked Mrs. Packletide quickly.
How you shot the goat and frightened the tiger to death, said Miss Mebbin, with her disagreeably
pleasant laugh.
No one would believe it, said Mrs. Packletide, her face changing colour.
Loona Bimberton would, said Miss Mebbin. Mrs. Packletides face settled on an ugly shade of
greenish white.
You surely wouldnt give away? she asked.
Ive seen a week-end cottage near Dorking that I should like to buy," said Miss Mebbin. Six
hundred and eighty. Quite cheap, only I dont happen to have the money.
Louisa Mebbins pretty week-end cottage is the wonder and admiration of her friends.
Mrs. Packletide does no more shooting.
The incidental expenses are so heavy, she says to inquiring friends.

KATE CHOPIN
STORY OF AN HOUR
A wife has a startling reaction to the news of her husbands death.
Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with1 a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her
as gently as possible the news of her husbands death.
It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences, veiled hints that revealed in half
concealing. Her husbands friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been in the
newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallards name
leading the list of killed. He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second
telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.
She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept
its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sisters arms. When the
storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.
There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed
down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.
She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the
new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his
wares. The note; of a distant song which someone was singing reached her faintly, and countless
sparrows were twittering in the eaves.
There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled
above the other in the west facing her window.
She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair quite motionless, except when a
sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in
its dreams.
She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength.
But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those
patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent
thought.
There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not
know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward
her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.
Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was
approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will as powerless as her two
white slender hands would have been.
When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it
over and over under her breath: Free, free, free! The vacant stare and the look of terror that had
followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing
blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.

36
She did not stop to ask if it were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception
enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial.
She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face
that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that bitter
moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and
spread her arms out to them in welcome.
There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There
would be no powerful will bending her in that blind persistence with which men and women believe
they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention
made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.
And yet she had loved him sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love,
the unsolved mystery, count for in face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly
recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!
Free! Body and soul free! she kept whispering.
Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhole, imploring for
admission. Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door you will make yourself ill. What are you
doing, Louise? For heavens sake open the door.
Go away. I am not making myself ill. No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that
open window.
Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all
sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only
yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.
She arose at length and opened the door to her sisters importunities. There was a feverish triumph
in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sisters waist,
and together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the bottom.
Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little
travel-stained, composedly carrying his gripsack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of
accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephines piercing ay; at
Richards quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife. But Richards was too late.
When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease of joy that kills.

Hector Munro The Mouse


Theodoric Voter had been brought up, from infancy to the middle age, by a fond mother whose
chief wish had been to keep him away from what she called the coarser realities of life. When she died
she left Theodoric alone in a world that was as real as ever, and a good deal coarser than he had
thought. To a man of his temperament and upbringing even a simple railway journey was an annoying
experience, and as he settled himself down in a second-class compartment one September morning he
felt very uneasy. He had been staying at a country house. The pony carriage that was to take him to the
station had never been properly ordered and when the moment for his departure drew near, the
coachman was nowhere to be found. In this emergency Theodoric, to his disgust, had to harness the
pony himself in an ill-lighted outhouse called a stable, and smelling very like one except in patches
where it smelt of mice. Theodoric was not actually afraid of mice, yet classed them among the coarser
incidents of life. As the train glided out of the station Theodorics nervous imagination accused him of
smelling of stable-yard, and possibly of having a straw or two on his usually well-brushed garments.
Fortunately the only other occupant of the compartment, a lady of about the same age as himself, was
sleeping; the train was not due to stop till the terminus was reached, in about an hours time, and the
carriage was of the old-fashioned sort, that had no communication with a corridor, therefore nobody
could intrude on Theodorics semi-privacy. And yet the train had scarcely gained speed before be
became aware that he was not alone with the sleeping lady; he was not even alone in his own clothes.
A warm, creeping movement over his flesh betrayed the unwelcome presence of a strayed mouse, that
had evidently got in during the episode of the pony harnessing. Shakes and wildly directed pinches
failed to drive out the intruder, and soon Theodoric understood that nothing but undressing would save
him of his tormentor, and to undress in the presence of a lady, even for so excusable a purpose, was an
idea that made him blush. He had never been able to bring himself even to the mild exposure of socks
37
in the presence of the fair sex. And yet the lady in this case was to all appearances soundly asleep;
the mouse, on the other hand, seemed to be trying to crowd a Wanderjahr into a few minutes .
Theodoric decided on the bravest undertaking in his life. Blushing like a beetroot and keeping an
agonized watch on his sleeping fellow-traveller, he swiftly and noiselessly fastened the ends of his
railway-rug to the racks on either side of the carriage, so that a substantial curtain hung across the
compartment. In the narrow dressing-room that he had thus improvised he began with violent haste to
extricate himself and the mouse from his clothes. As the mouse jumped wildly to the floor, the rug,
slipping its fastenings at either end, also came down with a flap, and almost simultaneously the
awakened sleeper opened her eyes. With a movement almost quicker than the mouses, Theodoric
seized the rug and hid himself under it in the further corner of the carriage. The blood raced and beat in
the veins of his neck and forehead, while he waited dumbly for the lady to speak. She, however,
continued staring at him in silence. How much had she seen, Theodoric asked himself, and in any case
what on earth must she think of his present position?
I think I have caught a chill, he said desperately.
Really, Im sorry, she replied. I was just going to ask you to open the window.
I fancy its malaria, he added; his teeth were chattering slightly, as much from fright as from a
desire to support his theory.
Ive got some brandy in my bag, if you kindly reach it down for me, said his companion.
No I mean, I never take anything for it. he assured her earnestly.
I suppose you caught it in the Tropics? Theodoric, whose acquaintance with the Tropics was
limited to Ceylon tea, felt that even the malaria was slipping from him. Would it be possible, he
wondered, to disclose the real state of affairs to her?
Are you afraid of mice? he asked, growing more scarlet in the face.
Not unless they conic in quantities. Why do you ask?
I had one crawling inside my clothes just now, said Theodoric in a voice that hardly seemed his
own. It was a most awkward situation.
It must have been, if you wear your clothes very tight, she observed; but mice have strange ideas
of comfort.
I had to get rid of it while you were asleep, he continued; then, with a gulp, he added, and
getting rid of it brought me to to this.
Surely one small mouse wouldnt cause a chill, she gaily.
Evidently she had detected something in his situation and was enjoying his confusion. All the blood
of his body seemed to have mobilized in one blush. And then, as he thought of it, he was seized with
terror. With every minute that passed the train was rushing nearer to the crowded terminus where he
would be watched by dozens of eyes instead of the one paralysing pair that watched him from the
further corner of the carriage. There was a chance that his fellow-traveller might fall asleep again, but
every time Theodoric stole a glance at her he saw her open unwinking eyes.
I think we must be getting near now, she presently observed.
The words acted like a signal. Like a hunted beast he threw aside the rug and struggled frantically
into his clothes. He saw small suburban stations racing past the window and felt an icy silence in that
corner towards which he dared not look. Then as he sank back in his seat, dressed and almost delirious,
the train slowed down, and the woman spoke.
Would you be so kind, she asked, as to get me a porter to put me into a cab? Its a shame to
trouble you when youre feeling unwell, but my blindness makes me so helpless at railway stations.

Biographies

Cummings, Edward Estlin 1894 1962. One of the most technically innovative poets of this
century, Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard in 1916. He
drove an ambulance in Paris after the armistice. His first published work was a novel, The Enormous
Room (1922), based on his mistaken imprisonment in a French detention centre during the war. This
was followed by collections of verse, Tulips and Chimneys (1923) and XLI Poems (1925).
Cummingss new style, was influenced by jazz and contemporary slang and characterized by an
innovative use of punctuation and typography, as in the use of lower case letters for his own name.
38
Features of this poetry include the use of capital letters and punctuation in the middle of single words,
phrases split by parentheses, and stanzas arranged to create a visual design on the page. Formal devices
were often used as visual manifestations of theme or tone; the poems typographical dimension itself
becomes a new level of meaning.
Rossetti, Christina (Georgina) 1830 94 Poet. The sister of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William
Michael Rossetti, she was born in London and educated at home by her mother. She showed early
promise as a poet, and her grandfather had small collections printed when she was 12 and 15. She was
a delicate and religious girl, her devotion to High Anglicanism later moulding much of her finest verse.
Her religious convictions seem also to have caused the eventual collapse of her prolonged engagement
to the Pre-Raphaelite painter James Collinson.
Christina Rossettis lyrics An End and Dream Lane were published in the first number of The
Germ (1850) under the pseudonym Ellen Alleyne. She contributed further poems to this and other
journals. Her first major collection was Goblin Market and Other Poems (1862), followed in 1866 by
The Princes Progress and Other Poems. Sing Song: A Nursery Rhyme Book (1872) was illustrated by
Arthur Hughes. By the 1880s bouts of ill health had made her an invalid, but she continued to write
and publish. A Pageant and Other Poems (1881) contained the sonnet sequence Monna Innominata,
celebrating the superiority of divine love over human passion, while (1885) consisted of 130 poems
and thoughts for each day. The last original work published in her lifetime was The Face of the Deep:
A Devotional Commentary on the Apocalypse (1892). Her brother, William Michael, edited her
complete works (1904).
Her verse is remarkable for its love of verbal invention and of metrical experiment. In both her
religion and her secular poetry she shows a keen interest in natural, pictorial imagery, while her
addresses to an unnamed lover or suitor suggest both a determination and a carefully controlled
ambiguity. Her delicate, frank meditations on death and Heaven are balanced by the imaginative
vigour of poems like Goblin Market.
Kate Choping (1851 1904) Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Kate Chopin came of French-Creole
parentage on her mothers side and Irish immigrants on her fathers side. She grew up in a household
dominated by generations of women, and it was from her great-grandmother that she heard the tales of
the early French settlers to St. Louis that were later to influence many of her short stories with their
colorful descriptions of Creole and Acadian life.
Much of Chopins writing deals with women searching for freedom from male domination, and she
is considered to be an early feminist writer. She wrote over a hundred short stories, many of which
were published in two collections: Bayou Folk (1894) and A Night in Acadia (1897). Her two novels,
At Fault (1890) and The Awakening (1899), deal with the controversial themes of divorce and adultery,
respectively. Denounced as immoral, The Awakening caused a public uproar, which left Chopin deeply
depressed and discouraged. As a result, she wrote very little in the last five years of her life.
Saki Pseudonym of Hector Hugh Munro (1870-1916), short-story writer and novelist. He was born
in Akyab, the son of an officer in the Burma police, and brought up by two maiden aunts in Devon.
After being educated at a school in Exmouth and at Bedford grammar school, he followed his father
into the Burma police but was invalided home. In 1896 he settled in London, contributing political
satires to The Westminster Gazette (collected in The Westminster Alice, 1902). Between 1902 and 1908
he acted as correspondent for The Morning Post in Poland, Russia and Paris.
His first book, The Rise of the Russian Empire (1899), was the only one written in a serious vein.
Thereafter he adopted the pseudonym Saki (the name of the cup-bearer in the last stanza of The
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam) for his collections of short stories: Reginald (1904). Reginald in Russia
and Other Sketches (1910). The Chronicles of Clovis (1912) and Beasts and Superbeasts (1914).
Whimsical in their plots and light-heartedly cynical in their lone, these stories arc also given a darker
side by Munros memories of his unhappy childhood with his aunts. He also published two novels. The
Unbearable Bassingon (1912) and When William Came (1913), the latter a satirical fantasy subtitled
A Story of London under the Hohenzollerns.
Munro served with the Royal Fusiliers in World War I and was killed on the Western Front in 1910.
Two collections of stories and sketches appeared posthumously, The Toys of Pence and Other Papers
(1919) and The Square Egg and Other Sketches (1924).

39
MARK TWAIN (1835-1910). Early years Mark Twain, the pen-name of Samuel Longhorne
Clemens, was born in a small village in Missouri in 1835. Four years later he moved with his family to
Hannibal, a town on the banks of the Mississippi River. After his father's death in 1847 he left school
and became an apprentice to a printer.
A variety of jobs When his older brother bought out a small newspaper in Hannibal, he went to
work for him, first as a printer and later he contributed humorous articles about local characters and
events. In 1853, not yet eighteen years old, he decided he wanted to expand his horizons. He travelled
in the East and the Midwest visiting New York, Philadelphia and Washington and settling for a time in
Iowa and New Orleans, where he got a job as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi. When the Civil War
broke out in 1860 he served for a brief period as a volunteer in the Confederate army, before deserting
and heading first for Nevada and then fur California, where he became a miner.
Success as a writer In 1862 he was asked to become the editor of a newspaper to which he had
contributed some humorous essays. He started signing his articles 'Mark Twain', a cry used in river
piloting to refer to the river's depth. His articles became popular and the publication of a collection of
his stories, (1865), consolidated his reputation as a humorous writer.
Family life and success In 1870 he married Olivia Langon and settled into a comfortable lifestyle in
Connecticut, which was occasionally interrupted by trips to Europe or lecture tours. For the next
fifteen years he dedicated himself to his family and writing. He produced an account of his years as a
miner, Roughing It (1872), the best-selling (1876), a historical fantasy The Prince and the Pauper
(18S2), and the sequel to Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885).
More travels and anti-imperialism In 1886 he travelled to Hawaii where he stated that the
'disease' of civilisation was destroying the islands' inhabitants. He took a strong stand against his
country's foreign policy of acquiring of new territories outside mainland USA. He was a busy activist
in the Anti-Imperialist League and championed freedom for the colonies of the British Empire in his
lectures.
Last years In the final two decades of his life he became involved in a series of bad business
ventures which left him nearly bankrupt. He tried to recover his losses by carrying out exhausting
lecture tours which included visits to India, South Africa and Australia. His desperation was
compounded by the death of his wife and two of his three daughters. He continued writing up until his
death in 1910.

Pelham Grenville Wodehouse


Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was born in 1881 in Guildford, the son of a civil servant, and
educated at Dulwich College. After working for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank for two years, he
left to earn his living as a journalist and storywriter, writing the 'By the Way' column in the old Globe.
He also contributed a series of school stories to a magazine for boys, the Captain, in one of which
Psmith made his first appearance. Going to America before the First World War, he sold a serial to the
Saturday Evening Post, and for the next twenty-five years almost all his books appeared first in this
magazine. He was part author and writer of the lyrics of eighteen musical comedies, including Kissing
Time.
An enormously popular and prolific writer, he produced about 100 books. In Jeeves, the ever
resourceful 'gentleman's personal gentleman', and the good-hearted young blunderer Bertie Wooster, he
created two of the best known and best loved characters in twentieth century literature. Their exploits,
first collected in Carry On, Jeeves, were chronicled in fourteen books, and have been repeatedly
adapted for television, radio and the stage. Wodehouse also created many other comic figures, notably
Lord Emsworth, the Hon. Galahad Threepwood, Psmith and the numerous members of the Drones
Club. He was part-author and writer of fifteen straight plays and 250 lyrics for some 30 musical
comedies. The Times hailed him as a 'comic genius recognized in his lifetime as a classic and an old
master of farce'.
P. G. Wodehouse said, 'I believe there are two ways of writing novels. One is mine, making a sort of
musical comedy without music and ignoring real life altogether; the other is going right deep down
into life and not caring a damn...'
Wodehouse married in 1914 and took American citizenship in 1955. He was created a Knight of the
British Empire in the 1 375 New Year's Honours List. In a BBC interview he said that he had no
40
ambitions left now that he had been knighted and there was a waxwork of him in Madame Tussauds.
He died on St Valentines Day, 1975, at the age of ninety-three.
Robert Frost (1874-1963).
Early years Robert was born in 1874 in San Francisco, California. When his father died in 1885,
the family moved to Massachusetts, where he continued his education. He interrupted his studies
before obtaining a college degree and held a number of teaching positions while writing early his
poems, the first of which was published in 1894.
Marriage, bereavement, depression Over the next ten years Frost married, wrote mostly
unpublished poems, ran a farm and continued teaching. Following the deaths of his son, his mother
and his daughter, he fell into a deep depression and seriously contemplated suicide.
England and first published collections In 1912 he moved his family to England, where he made
friends with a number of established poets, notably Ezra Pound. With their help, Frost had two works
published: the collection of lyrics A Boy's Will (1913) and the series of dramatic monologues North of
Boston (1914).
Return to the USA When the First World War broke out the Frost family returned to the USA. The
commercial success of his books on both sides of the Atlantic enabled Frost to buy a farm in New
England. He dedicated the rest of his life to working on the farm, writing and teaching.
Literary awards Over the years that followed Frost received a great number of literary, academic
and public honours and awards, including four Pulitzer Prizes. In 1961 he recited one of his poems at
the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, the first poet to take part in the ceremony in American
history. He died in Boston in 1963.
WORKS
Setting Unlike many poets of his age, Frost displayed a complete disinterest in the realities of
urban, industrialized society and the social or political themes that inspired his contemporaries. His
work is deeply rooted in the life and scenery of rural New England.
Layers of meaning Many Frost's poems have several levels of meaning. They often open with the
description of a natural setting, a single person is introduced and an apparently simple story is told: A
more profound, at times elusive message, however, is often hidden in the metaphors and inventive
imagery. Frost warned his readers not to 'press the poem too hard' for meaning, because as he said, the
'the real meaning is the most obvious meaning'.
Style Stylistically, Frost chose discipline. He disliked free verse, which he described as playing
tennis 'with the net down'. He structured his poems in traditional metrical, rhythmical and rhyming
schemes, which he used with great skill and subtlety. An important innovation was his use of plain
direct, conversational language. He believed the language of common, rural folk best described the
ordinary experiences that formed the subject of his work.
Reputation Robert Frost is one of the best loved poets of the twentieth century, He is admired for
the blend of the traditional and the colloquial he incorporates into his work, and as a nature poet he is
widely regarded as a fitting heir to Wordsworth.
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963).
Background Sylvia Plath was born in Massachusetts, USA. She was an excellent student and won
many awards and prizes. During her High School years she had several of her poems and stories
published in literary magazines. Plath's early poetry revealed an emotionally fragile personality.
Fragile personality She was obsessed, by the idea of perfection and put herself under enormous
pressure which eventually led to a nervous breakdown and a suicide attempt.
Cambridge, Ted Hughes and marriage Following hospitalization and psychotherapy, she
recovered, graduated High School 'summa cum laude' and won a scholarship to study at Cambridge,
England where she met and married the poet Ted Hughes. The couple moved to the USA but, after just
three years, returned to England where their daughter was born.
The Colossus In 1960 Sylvia Plath's first volume of poetry, The Colossus, was published and she
began work on an autobiographical novel, The Bell Jar. In 1962 she had a second child, The Colossus
was published in the USA, her radio play, Three Women, was set to air on the BBC and she was at last
gaining some recognition.

41
Suicide This period of relative happiness was interrupted when she discovered that her husband was
having an affair. The couple divorced and six months later Sylvia Plath committed suicide at her home
in London.
Themes Sylvia Plath, had not been well-known before her death, but the posthumous publication of
The Bell Jai (1963) and Ariel (1965, the collection of thirty-five poems she had written in the last
months of her life), brought her to the public's attention. While her early poems are mostly about death,
her later work shows the complex personality of a woman in search of her own identity. Her concern
for the condition of women, which emerges in both her poetry and her autobiography made her into a
spokesperson for feminism. She was also deeply concerned with issues such as consumerism, the
misuse of the mass-media and technology and the exploitation of man and the environment.
Style Sylvia Plath's poetry is highly personal and has often been defined as 'confessional'. Many of
her poems are written in the dramatic monologue form. Surprising uses of sound and rhythm literary
equivalents of cinematic techniques such as flashbacks and close-ups, shocking metaphors and highly
personal symbols make her poetic style extremely distinctive.
In 1981 she was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Literature.
James Thurber (1894-1961)
After spending his boyhood and university days in Columbus, Ohio, Thurber worked as a reporter,
serving for a time as a foreign correspondent in France. He was one of the young, talented writers E.
B. White was anotherrecruited when Harold Ross founded The New Yorker in 1925, a period
recounted in Thurber's best-selling My Years with Ross (1959).
Thurber subsequently devoted full time to writing and illustrating some tvo dozen books of stories
and essays. He collaborated with Elliott Nugent in writing a play, The Male Animal, which ran
successfully in New York in 1940. Several of Thurber's stories and sketches were also presented on
Broadway in Three by Thurber (1955) and A Thurber Carnival (1960). A number of his stories,
including "The Unicorn in the Garden" and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (with Walter played by
Danny Kaye) have been produced as movies.
A representative selection of Thurber's short stories, fables, essays and cartoons is available in The
Thurber Carnival (1945). His wide-eyed dogs, predatory women, and timid men have made him one
of America's best-loved humorists.

Character
What do other people think? What emotions do they experience? How are they similar to or
different from us?
Literature allows us to look into the lives of an endless collection of men and women and find
answers to these questions. We can learn about people's hopes and fears, we can see them struggle
through adverse circumstances, we can rejoice with them in moments of success and sympathise with
them in moments of despair. In real life we have the opportunity of knowing intimately a relatively
small number of people - family members, loved ones, close friends. Literature allows us to multiply
that number by giving us access lo the private thoughts and lives of an endless assortment of
fascinating and memorable people.
Defining characters
When we analyse characters in fiction we need to ask some key questions about:
their relationship to the plot: do they play a major part in the events of the story or do they have
a minor role?
the degree to which they are developed: are they complex characters or are they one-
dimensional?
their growth in the course of story: do they remain the same throughout the story or do
significant changes in their personalities take place?

In order to discuss these issues we need to know the following terms.

Protagonist and antagonist


The central character of the plot is called the protagonist. Without this character there would be no
story. The character against whom the protagonist struggles is called the antagonist. In many novels,
42
however, the antagonist is not a human being. It may, for example, be the natural environment in
which the protagonist lives, or society, or illness, or even death.
The terms protagonist and antagonist do not have moral connotations and therefore should not be
confused with 'hero' and 'villain'. Many protagonists are a mixture of good and evil elements. Other
characters in a story may be referred to as major or minor characters, depending on the importance of
their roles in developing the plot.

Round and flat characters


Round characters, like real people, have complex, multi-dimensional personalities. They show
emotional and intellectual depth and are capable of growing and changing. Major characters in fiction
are usually round.
Flat characters embody or represent a single characteristic. They are the miser, the bully, the
jealous lover, the endless optimist. They may also be referred to as types or as caricatures when
distorted for humorous purposes. Flat characters are usually minor characters. However, the term 'flat'
should not be confused with 'insignificant' or 'badly drawn'. A flat character may in fact be the
protagonist of the story, in particular when the writer wishes to focus on the characteristic he or she
represents. Some highly memorable characters, particularly in satirical or humorous novels, can be
defined as flat, for example the miser Scrooge in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol.

Dynamic and static characters


Dynamic characters change as a result of the experiences they have. The most obvious examples
can be found in initiation novels which tell stones of young people who grow into adults, for example
Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. However, dynamic characters can be found in many other types of
stories. Major characters in novels are usually dynamic.
Static characters remain untouched by the events of the story. They do not learn from their
experiences and consequently they remain unchanged. Static characters are usually minor characters,
but sometimes a writer makes a static character the protagonist of his story, because he wishes to
analyse a particular type of personality. Static characters also play major roles in stories that show how
forces in life, such as the social environment or the family, sometimes make it hard for people to grow
and change. An example can be found in the short story Eveline by James Joyce: the unhappy central
character Eveline feels suffocated by her family circumstances and lifestyle but cannot find the
strength to break free from her situation and start a new life with her fianc in South America.

How the author conveys character

Another important aspect of character analysis is determining how the author presents and
establishes a character. There are two basic methods for conveying character: telling and showing.

Telling
Telling involves direct intervention and commentary by the author. He interrupts the narrative to
comment on the character's personality, thoughts or actions. The guiding hand of the author is clearly
evident as he helps us to form opinions about the character. An example of the telling technique can be
found in this short extract from D.H. Lawrence's novel , in which the author describes the protagonist
of his novel:
Arthur Morel was growing up. He was a quick, careless, impulsive boy, a good deal like his father.
He hated study, made a great moan if he had to work, and escaped as soon as possible to his sport
again.

Showing
When an author uses the technique of showing, he steps aside and allows the characters to reveal
themselves through what they do and say. His voice is silent. The reader is asked to infer character
from the evidence provided in the dialogue and action of the story. When the author chooses the
showing method, the revelation of character is generally gradual. The reader must be attentive and
receptive, and use his intelligence and memory to draw conclusions about the character's identity.
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Modern authors tend to favour showing over telling, but most writers use a mixture of both
methods.

Dialogue
In real life what people say reveals a lot about who they are and what they think. Similarly, in
fiction, what a character says can help us to understand basic elements of his personality. The
character's attitude towards others may also emerge from the dialogue. Important information about his
origin, education, occupation or social class may also be revealed by what he says and how he says it.
However, characters in stories do not always say what they really think. Just like people in real life,
they can be deceptive and create a false image of themselves.

Action
We can learn a lot about a character's emotions, attitudes and values by examining what he does in
the course of the story. We should try to understand the motives for the character's actions, and
discover the underlying forces that make him behave the way he does.

Comparison with other characters Is the way a character behaves similar to or different from the way
other characters act? One of the chief functions of minor characters in fiction is to provide contrast to
the main character. What can you learn by comparing the protagonist to some of the other less
important characters?

Setting
The time and place in which the story unfolds may provide useful information about the characters.
If events take place during a particular historical period (the Middle Ages, the French Revolution, the
Vietnam War) the characters' ideas and actions may be shaped by important external events. The
characters' physical surrounding (where they grew up, where they choose to live) may help us to
understand their psychological make-up.
References to the social setting may also give us some helpful insight. Do the characters share or
reject the values associated with their social background?

Names
Occasionally the character's name may provide clues to his personality. Emily Bronte's choice of
Heathcliff as a name for the hero of her novel Wuthering Heights conveys the character's wild, rugged,
almost primitive nature. (Heath = wild, uncultivated land; cliff = high rocky land that usually faces the
sea)

Appearance
In real life it is not advisable to judge a person by his appearance, but in fiction how a character
looks often provides important information about his personality. References to the clothes a character
wears may, for example, indicate his social and economic status. Details of a character's physical
appearance may prove useful in determining his age and the general state of his physical and emotional
health.

Imagery
Images are words or phrases that appeal to our senses. Consider these lines taken from Wilfred
Owen's poem:
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags we cursed though sludge.
The poet is describing his experience as a soldier during the First World War. Through his choic of
words he creates:
visual images: bent double, old beggars under sacks, knock-kneed;
aural images: coughing like hags, cursed;
a tactile image: sludge. If we replace the imagistic words that Owen uses
with more generic terms:
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Physically exhausted, the soldiers marched across the wet terrain cursing their fate.
the impact on our senses is lost
A writer may use an image to help us:
re-live a sense experience that we have already had. We may be able to conjure up the sound of
old women coughing or the sensation of walking through mud from past experience;
have a aew sense experience. This is achieved when our sense memories are called forth in a
pattern that does not correspond to any of our actual experiences. Exploited in this way, images allow
us to see, hear, feel, smell and taste experiences that are new to us.
We use the term imagery to refer to combinations or clusters of images that are used to create a
dominant impression. Death, corruption and disease imagery, for example, creates a powerful network
in Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet. Writers often develop meaningful patterns in their imagery, and a
writer's choice and arrangement of images is often an important clue to the overall meaning of his
work.

Narrators and point of view


In fiction the author does not address the reader directly. He creates a narrator whose voice we hear
as we read the story. It is from the narrator's point of view that we see events unfold. The narrator may
be a strong presence in the text commenting on and interpreting the material he presents or, at the other
end of the spectrum, he may be almost invisible, simply allowing the story to present itself.
Narrators are divided into two broad categories: first-person narrators and third-person narrators.
The category of third-person narrators is divided into three subcategories: omniscient, limited and
dramatic objective. Stream of consciousness, a relatively recent development in narrative technique,
may be an extension of either first or third-person narratives.
First-person narrators
Point of view
First-person narrators, who refer to themselves as T, tell stories in which they are directly involved.
In a first-person narrative the reader's vision of the story, or point of view, is limited to what the
narrator himself knows, experiences, infers or has learned second-hand from others.
First-person narratives are, by definition, subjective. The only thoughts and feelings that first-
person narrators experience directly are their own. The reader can never expect to see characters and
events as they actually are, but only as they appear to the T narrator. Therefore special attention should
be paid to the personality of the first-person narrators. Are they reliable? Do they have biases and
prejudices that may influence how they tell the story?
In certain first-person narratives the reader can understand more than the narrator himself. This is
often the case when the narrator is a child or a not very perceptive adult. By contrasting the narrator's
perception of events and the reader's more informed views, the author can create humour or irony.
The first-person narrative is commonly associated with non-fictional literary forms such as
biographies, memoirs or diaries. When used in fictional works it lends authenticity to the story. It is
also perhaps the most effective form of storytelling for getting the reader intellectually and emotionally
involved.
First-person narrators
When a story is told by someone outside the action, he is called a third-person narrator (because he
refers to everybody in the story in the third person: 'he', 'she', 'they'). In this form of narration the
person who is telling the story is like an observer who has witnessed what has happened, but plays no
part in the events.

Omniscient point of view


The omniscient third-person narrator is a kind of god; he is all-knowing. He knows everything
about the fictional world he has created: he can read other characters' innermost thoughts, he is able to
be in several places at once, he knows exactly what is going to happen and how each character will
behave. He is free to tell us as much or as little as he wishes. An omniscient third-person narrator who
interrupts the narrative and speaks directly to the readers is called obtrusive. He may use these
intrusions to summarise, philosophise, moralise or to guide the reader's interpretation of events. This

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kind of narrator was particularly popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. If the narrator does
not address the reader directly he is referred to as non-obtrusive.

Omniscient point of view


When an author uses a limited omniscient narrator, he chooses a character in the story and tells
the story from his point of view. This character becomes the centre of revelation and the reader sees the
events and other characters from his viewpoint. If the narrator moves back and forth between an
omniscient viewpoint and the viewpoint of the focal character, we refer to the narrative technique as
'free indirect style'. Free indirect style is perhaps the most widely-used mode of narration in modern
fiction. Limited omniscient narration involves the reader more than pure omniscient narration. By
associating the narrating voice with one of the characters in the story, the author gives it an identity and
therefore makes it more interesting for the reader. Also, because much of the story is told from the
partial viewpoint of one of the characters, the reader gets the idea that anything can happen in the
course of the novel, just as it can in real life.

Dramatic or objective point of view


When an author uses a dramatic or objective point of view, the story seems to be told by no one.
This narrative technique has often been compared to a videocamera left running. The narrator does not
mediate between the story and the reader. He steps aside and allows the story to present itself through
setting, action and dialogue. The reader is never taken inside the minds of the characters. He is
presented with material which he alone must analyse and interpret. Although the narrator does not
actively participate in the storytelling, he does have an important role to play in this type of narrative.
It is the narrator who decides when to turn the videocamera on and off and where to point it. He
decides what material to present, and his choices will obviously affect the reader's response. The
dramatic point of view is widely used by modern writers because of the impersonal and objective way
it presents experience.

Stream of consciousness
Stream of consciousness is the term applied to any attempt by a writer to represent the conscious
and subconscious thoughts and impressions in the mind of a character. This technique takes the reader
inside the narrating character's mind, where he sees the world of the story through the thoughts and
senses of the focal character.
At the beginning of the twentieth century some authors, notably James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and
William Faulkner, developed a stream of consciousness technique called interior monologue

Interior monologue
The term is borrowed from drama, where monologue refers to the part in a play where an actor
expresses his inner thoughts aloud to the audience. In fiction, an interior monologue is a record of a
characters, thoughts and sense impressions.
As people do not think in complete, well-formed logical sentences, Joyce, Woolf and Faulkner
abandoned traditional syntax, punctuation and logical connections in order to represent the flow of a
character's thoughts. For example, in Joyce's Ulysses (1922) the reader finds himself with a transcript
of one of the character's thoughts which contains no commas, full stops or capital letters. The stop,
start, disjointed and often illogical nature of interior monologue makes it a challenge for the reader to
interpret.

Plot
The term plot refers to an author's arrangement of the events that make up a story. The plot of a
work is not necessarily the same as the story. When we tell a story we generally start at the beginning
and continue in a chronological order until we come to the end. Plots, however, do not always follow
this pattern. Many writers choose to mix events up in order to provoke specific responses in the reader.
They may, for example, start in the middle of things (in medias res) and use flashbacks or dialogue to
refer to previous events.

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The author's choices regarding plot do not stop simply at organising the events of his tale. He must
also decide when the story begins, which events should be dealt with at length, which aspects of the
story can be quickly summarised and when the story should end. Time is entirely subjective. The
events of several years can be condensed into a paragraph, while a complete chapter may be dedicated
to a particularly significant moment. The author's aim in writing a story will direct the choices he
makes, and therefore analysing these aspects of plot gives us invaluable insight into the meaning of his
work.
Love stories, adventure stories, detective stories, horror stories: writers never seem to run out of
ideas for stories. Although each story is unique, many of them share some basic elements.

Conflict
Conflict is the driving force behind many plots. It may come from:
outside: the main character may be in conflict with external forces such as his family, society,
physical hardship or nature;
within: the character may be forced to make a difficult choice, or he may have to question his
values and beliefs.

Suspense
Suspense is also an important element in many plots. Creating suspense generally involves denying
the reader immediate access to information which is essential to the full understanding of the story.
The clearest example of this can be found in detective stories, where the author does not reveal the
identity of the murderer until the very last moment. Suspense is often created through the careful
ordering of events in the story.

Subplot
In some stories the main plot is accompanied by a subplot - a second story that is complete in its
own right. The subplot is usually linked in some way to events in the main plot and generally helps to
deepen our understanding of it.

Prose Story Forms


Read the information and instructions below and write a Christmas story, choosing one of the
standard categories of fiction forms.
Prose stories come in two basic forms: novels and short stories. Novels are long stories, with
distinct beginnings, middles, and ends. Novels are usually divided into several chapters, and they have
characters, setting, and plot. Many novels use dialogue to allow characters to talk to each other. Prose
stories are also called fiction, something that is made up. Some writers create fiction entirely from
their imaginations. Other writers create fiction based on real events or people.
Short stories also have beginnings, middles, and ends. They use characters, plot, and setting.
Glossary of Fiction Forms
Although some stories are difficult to describe, others fit neatly into standard categories:
Allegory A story in which the characters stand for ideas such as Love, Pride, Greed, or Tolerance.
The plot usually has a message or moral about real life.
Fable Like an allegory but short, with fewer characters and a simple moral. Aesop, a writer in
ancient Greece, is probably the best-known fabulist, or writer of fables.
Fairy Tale An adventure in which the heroes are often royalty or beloved by royalty and the villains
are evil witches, sorcerers, or monsters.
Fantasy A tale set in an imaginary world with imaginary characters. For example, animals can talk
and fairies roam the countryside in fantasies.
Historical Fiction Stories based on history, with fictional main characters. Historical fiction is
sometimes set in real places and includes real people among its characters.
Horror.Tales about scary things, from ghosts and goblins to monsters and murderers.
Informational Fiction A story or book that uses fictional characters or settings to tell about real
things. For example, a story that explains science experiments might be told by a science teacher
working in a fictional lab.
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Legend An exaggerated story about a real person or event. For example, there is a story that
George Washington, first president of the USA, could never tell a lie.
Mystery Stories in which a problem is created by an unknown element. Mysteries are often crime
stories. The main characters in mysteries are frequently detectives searching for a solution.
Myth A story made up to explain real events. Myths help us understand the beliefs and everyday
life of the people described in them. Myths once were used to answer difficult questions, such as how
the moon and stars were created, why the seasons change, why the leopard has spots, etc. They also
explained the relationships of human beings and gods. Almost every culture in the world has its own
set of myths.
Realistic Fiction Stories with imaginary characters and events that are so believable that they
could take place in the real world.
Romance Stories in which the main character or characters are looking for love and happiness.
Some romances are historical and share many features of historical fiction.
Science Fiction Stories, often set in the future, that use elements of modern science. Some science
fiction stories are set on other planets. Others tell of aliens landing on Earth or of computers that run
the world.
Tall Tales Humorous stories that are full of exaggeration. Tall tales may or may not be about real
people or events.
True Adventure Stories based on real people or real events, but the plot, setting, and characters are
partly made up by the author.

Setting
Where does the story take place? What kind of world do the characters live in? The term we use to
refer to the general locale and the historical time in which a story occurs is the setting. The term is also
used to refer to the particular physical location in which an episode or scene within the story takes
place. The general setting of a novel may be, for example, a large city like London, while the setting of
the opening scene may be the kitchen of the main character.
Some settings are relatively unimportant. They serve simply as a decorative backdrop helping the
reader to visualise the action and adding authenticity to the story. Other settings are closely linked to
the meaning of the work: the author focuses on elements of setting to create atmosphere or mood, or
the setting plays a major role in shaping the characters' identity and destiny.
Broadly speaking, there is a direct ratio between the attention given to the setting and its importance
in the total work. If the setting is sketched briefly, we can assume that it is of little importance, or that
the writer wishes us to think that the action could take place anywhere and at any time. If, on the other
hand, the passages describing the setting are extensive and highly developed, or are written in
connotative or poetic language, we can assume that the setting is being used for more profound or
symbolic purposes.
Some of the main functions of setting are:

Setting as a mirror
The setting may reflect a prevailing mood or reinforce the emotions felt by a character; barren
landscapes may mirror despair and desperation; stormy weather may provide a suitable backdrop for
emotional turmoil. However, the setting may also be ironic or comment on the characters' state of mind
or behaviour in an indirect way.

Setting as an antagonist
The setting of the story often shapes the characters' identities and destinies -making people what
they are. Someone growing up in an inner city slum is likely to have a different outlook on and
approach to life than someone who has grown up in wide open rural spaces, in close contact with
nature. Stories sometimes show us characters that are direct products of their environment, reflecting
its moods and values. Often, however, stories depict characters who rebel against their restrictive
settings and fight to break free of their stifling environment.

Setting as a way of revealing character


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The manner in which a character perceives the setting may tell the reader more about the character
and his or her state of mind than about the setting itself. When, for example, an urban landscape is
described by a character as 'desolate' and 'ominous', the writer may be telling us more about how the
character is feeling rather than accurately describing the setting. The writer is using the outer world
setting to give us an insight into the character's inner world.

Setting as a means of reinforcing theme


The setting may also reinforce and clarify the theme of a novel or short story. The physical setting
in which the action takes place may symbolically represent the central ideas of the work. A solitary
house in bleak, hostile surroundings may reinforce the theme of man's struggle against nature. Many
modern novels take place in what are termed 'alien settings', where even the familiar seems unfamiliar.
The characters are often exiles, tourists or expatriates, and the inhospitable setting reinforces the theme
of loss of roots and loss of home which is common to much modern fiction.

Setting in time
The historical period, time of year and time of day are all important features of the setting. The fact,
for example, that most of a story's action takes place at night may create an atmosphere of mystery,
violence or conspiracy. Authors often use the traditional associations with the seasons and the cycle of
the day to create appropriate time settings for their work, for example spring-morning-youth.

Social setting
While the setting refers to the time and place in which the action occurs, the term social setting is
used to indicate the social environment in which a story takes place. The social setting of a novel or
story may be explicitly indicated by the author or it may be conveyed through the use of social or class
markers, i.e. the way the characters talk, where and how they live, the clothes they wear, how they eat,
and so on. Like the physical and temporal setting, the social setting may be relatively unimportant or it
may play a determining role in a novel or story. In many novels characters are presented as products of
their social class, and many authors have explored the themes of conformity to or rebellion against the
values and mores of specific social settings.

Symbols
A symbol is an example of what is called the transference of meaning. Writers take a concrete item
- an object, a colour, a person, a place - and attribute a deeper meaning to it. A symbol may be a detail,
an object, a character or an incident. II exists first as something literal and concrete in the work, but it
also has the capacity to evoke in the mind of the reader a range of invisible and abstract associations.
By definition symbols are open-ended. A given symbol will evoke different responses in different
readers. There is, however, an acceptable range of possible readings and any interpretation of a symbol
must be confirmed by the rest of the work.
The identification and understanding of symbols demands awareness and intelligence of the reader.
It involves the reader directly in the creative process, asking him to add his own intellectual and
emotional responses. Through this collaboration the work is enriched and enlarged.
Cultural or shared symbols
Many symbolic associations are widely recognised and accepted: the dawn with hope, the serpent
with evil, the colour white with innocence, light with knowledge, dark with ignorance. Writers often
make use of these cultural or shared symbols. Readers must not, however, automatically apply
conventional meanings to these symbols. Sometimes writers will enlarge or narrow the meaning of a
cultural symbol. The reader must first carefully examine how the symbol is used in the text before
assigning meaning.
Literary or personal symbols
Authors also use their own original symbols. Personal or literary symbols do not have pre-
established associations: the meaning that is attached to them emerges from the context of the work in
which they occur. A particular landscape or certain atmospheric conditions may become associated
with a character's emotional state. A colour or an object may take on a secondary meaning. A recurring
gesture or a character may be given symbolic meaning.
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Guidelines for identifying and understanding symbols
When does an object, character or action cease to be just part of the story and begin to develop
symbolic associations? There is no simple answer to this question. Ultimately, the reader must develop
his own awareness through receptive and responsive reading. There are, however, some broad
guidelines he can follow. The principal techniques that writers use for creating symbols are:
repetition: the reader should take note of multiple references to a particular object or the
recurrence of the same gesture;
ephasis: does, the author seem to pay particular attention to some element, describe it in detail or
use poetic or connotative language when referring to it?
associations automatically made with shared symbols: the reader should try to understand if the
author wishes him to make conventional associations with the symbol or if he has added his own
personal significance.
While there is a risk that a reader may not identify symbols, there is also the danger that he may see
symbolic importance where the writer did not intend it. 'Symbol hunting', i.e. attributing symbolic
status to objects, characters or actions when there is little evidence in the text that they should be
viewed as a symbol, should be avoided.

Theme
Theme is the central idea that directs and shapes the subject matter of a story, play or poem. It is the
views of life or the insights into human experiences that the author wishes to communicate to his
readers. In certain types of literature (fables, parables and propaganda pieces) the theme emerges
forcefully as a moral or a lesson that the author wishes to teach, while in others the theme is embedded
in the story. In the past, writers openly stated the theme of their work. They usually put the words into
the mouth of a character or used an omniscient narrator to voice their opinions. If the theme of a work
is clearly stated in the text, we refer to it as an overt theme. Most modern writers are reluctant to state
the themes of their work openly. They prefer to encourage the readers to think and draw their own
conclusions. When the theme is hidden in the action, characters, setting and language of a story, we
refer to it as an implied theme.
Theme versus subject
The theme of a literary work should not be confused with the subject or the story. To say that a work
is about 'love' is not identifying the theme; it is merely stating the subject matter. Saying what happens
in a story is also not a way of identifying the theme; it is simply summarising the plot. The theme is the
abstract, generalised comment or statement the author makes about the subject of the story. It is the
answer to the question 'What does the story mean?', not 'What is the story about?'.
Formulating theme
When formulating the theme of a literary work, hasty generalisations and cliches should be avoided.
Sweeping statements about life are rarely enlightening, so writers tend to avoid them. They are more
inclined to explore complex issues and propose tentative answers.
Supporting theme
The theme of a poem, play or story should emerge from and be confirmed by the analysis of plot,
characters, setting, imagery, sound features and style. If the theme that is proposed leaves certain
elements unexplained, or if there are aspects of the story that do not support the theme, then it is
probably incomplete or incorrect.
The title of the work
The title the author gives the work should always be taken into careful consideration when trying to
identify the theme. The title often suggests the focus of the work and may provide clues about its
meaning.
Multiple themes
A single work may contain several themes and readers may identify different, even opposing
themes in the same work. Any theme that is supported by the other elements of the work should be
considered valid.

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Graphic
Punctuation
Understanding graphic is very important: pay attention to the size of letters, paragraphing and the
location of lines, capital letters, and punctuation.
Apostrophe is a figure of speech consisting of speech addressed to a person not present or to a
thing. In dramatic works and in poetry it is often introduced by the word O (not oh):
O grave, where is your victim?
A whole word can be in the CAPITAL LETTERS as being very important: WILL YOU BE
QUIET! he shouted.
It is a writing English tradition to capitalize all the meaningful words in the titles of books Three
Men in a Boat, to Say Nothing of the Dog
Nowadays it has become popular among modern writers to use only small letters in the titles in their
own names:
under milk wood
(by) dylan thomas
Italics is also very important and one should always pay attention to it during the analysis.
The combination of sound and graphic together make impression on the reader, as graphic conveys
the pauses, rhythm, tone and so helps inner reading.
Usually graphic conveys the emotional colouring of the poem. Spelling is as important as
punctuation. Punctuation serves to show the authors attitude to the written.
? and ! show that the text is very emotional negatively or positively. ! often shows irony or irritation
The role of the hyphen is very important as it denotes emotional pauses: Please, - not that!
Emotional pauses are also shown by suspension marks which reflect different emotions of the
heroes: embarrassment, confusion, hesitation, etc .A suspension mark before a word can denote that it
is an important word and in that way the author draws attention to it. The row of three dots () - dot-
dot-dot , or asterisks (***)suspension point indicate the intentional omission.
The absence of punctuation markers is magnificent, very often used by modern poet. Stylistic
usage of the absence of punctuation markers is different with different authors: it may convey stream
of consciousness, endless relations of times and cultures, events in the life of a person, endless
movement.

Lexical Stylistic Devices

Metaphor
( - ,
.)
Metaphor is realizing two lexical meanings simultaneously. Due to this power metaphor is one of
the most potent means of creating images.
Metaphors which are absolutely unexpected, i.e. quite unpredictable, are called genuine
metaphors:
1. The leaves fell sorrowfully.
2. A puppet government
3. He is a mule.
4. The Tooth of Time, which has already dried many a tear, will let the grass grow over this painful
wound. The expression tooth of time implies that time, like a greedy tooth devours everything, makes
everything disappear or be forgotten.
5. He is not a man, he is just a machine!
6. a treacherous calm
Genuine metaphors are mostly to be found in poetry and emotive prose.
Metaphors, commonly used in speech are called trite /dead // (stereotyped,
hackneyed), they are fixed in dictionaries:
A ray of hope, a flight of fancy, seeds of evil, roots of evil, to fish for compliments, to bark up the
wrong tree, to apple ones eye, to burn with desire.
Trite metaphors are generally used in newspaper articles or scientific language (cliches).
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Metonymy
Metonymy is the substitution of one word for another with which it is associated:
The White House said (the American government) ; the press (newspapers and magazines); the
cradle(infancy, place of origin);the grave(death);
The hall applauded; The marble spoke; The kettle is boiling;
I am fond of Agatha Christie; We didnt speak because there were ears all around us; He was about
a sentence away from needing plastic surgery .

Synecdoche
Synecdoche is a form of metonymy: using the name of a part to denote a whole or vice versa:
Hands wanted; -, the police (for a handful of officers);
bread (for food).

Simile
Simile is a figure of speech in which the subject is compared to another subject. By means of the
comparison the objects are characterized.
The formal elements of a simile are like, as, as if, as though, such as, seem, etc.
1. A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.
2. She seemed nothing more than a doll.
3. Maidens, like mohs are ever caught by glare.
Sometimes the simile-forming like is placed at the end of the phrase:
Emily Barton was very pink, and looked a Dresden-china-shepherdess like. In the English
language there is a long list of hackneyed similes, which are not genuine similes any more but have
become cliches:
Faithful as a dog; to work as a horse; stubborn as a mule; slow as a tortoise; busy as a bee;
hungry as a bear; to swim like a fish and many others of the same type.

Cliche
Cliches are stereotyped unoriginal (trite) word-combinations that do not surprise; they are
predictable and easily anticipated:
rosy dreams of youth; the whip and carrot policy; to live to a ripe old age; to let bygones be
bygones; the patter of rain;
The usage of cliches is a specific feature of the publicistic style. They are necessary in newspaper
language helping the writer to enliven his work and make the meaning more concrete.

Irony
Irony (mockery concealed) is a form of speech in which the real meaning is concealed or
contradicted by the words used.
Well done! A fine friend you are!
What a noble illustration of the tender laws of this favoured country! - they let the poor go to
sleep!
Irony must not be confused with humour, although they have very much in common. Humour
always causes laughter. But the function of irony is not to produce a humorous effect. Irony is
generally used to convey a negative feeling: irritation, displeasure, pity or regret.

Epithet
Epithet coveys the subjective attitude of the writer as it is used to characterize an object and
pointing out to the reader some properties or features of the object. Epithet aims at evaluation of these
properties or features.
Heart-burning smile; wild winds; fantastic terrors; voiceless sands;
unearthly beauty; deep feelings; sleepless bay.
Fixed epithets (stock images) are mostly used in ballads and folk-songs:
true love, dark forest, sweet Sir, green wood; good ship, brave cavaliers.
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From the point of view of their compositional structure epithets may be divided into simple,
compound, phrase and sentence epithets.
Simple: dreary midnight; brilliant answer; sweet smile.
Compound: heart-braking sigh; good-for-nothing fellow;
Phrase epithets and sentence epithets: 1. Personally I detest her (Giacondas) smug, mystery-
making, come-hither-but-go-away-again-because-butter-wouldnt-melt-in-my-mouth expression. 2.
There is a sort of Ohwhata-wicked-world-this-is-and-how-I-wish-I-could-do-something-to-make-it-
better-and-nobler expression about Montmorency that has been known to bring to tea s into the eyes
of pious old ladies and gentlemen.
The reversed epithets, or metaphorical, are of two types: 1) two nouns are linked in an of-phrase:
a devil of a job; A little Flying Dutchman of a cab2) The predicative is in the inverted position:
Fools that they are; Wicked as he is
Transferred epithets describe the state of a human being but referred to an animate object:
sleepless pillow; unbreakfasted morning; merry hours;
an indifferent shoulder; sick chambers.

Oxymoron
Oxymoron is a combination of two words in which their meaning clash, being opposite in sense:
Sweet sorrow; pleasantly ugly face; deafening silence; horribly beautiful.
The following example describes the authors attitude to New York: I despise its vastness and
power. It has the poorest millionaires, the littlest great men, the plainest beauties, the lowest
skyscrapers of any town I ever saw. (Satiric mocking)

Allusion
Allusion is reference to a famous historical, literary, mythological, biblical or everyday life
character or event, commonly known. As a rule no indication of the source is given. Its his Achilles
heel.

Antonomasia
Antonomasia is intended to point out the leading, most characteristic features of a person or of
event. It categorizes the person and simultaneously indicates both the general and the particular.
Antonomasia can be defined as a variety of allusion:
Vralman, Molchalin, Mr. Zero, Don Juan.

Metalepsis
Metalepsis is a reference to something remotely associated with the theme of the speech.
Ive got to go catch the worm tomorrow morning. said Mary. (The early bird catches the worm- a
proverb)

Zeugma
Zeugma (syllepsis) is the use of a word in the same grammatical but different semantic relations. It
creates a semantic incongruity which is often humorous:
1. He lost his hat and his temper.
2. and covered themselves with dust and glory.-Mark Twain
3. . , .
4. The alphabet was above the blackboard and friendly atmosphere was there.
5. And Mays mother always stood on her gentility; and Doras mother never stood on anything but
her active feet.

Pun
Pun (also known as paronomasia) is a deliberate confusion of similar sounding words for
humorous effect. Puns are often used in jokes and riddles.
E.g.1. What is the difference between a schoolmaster and an engine-driver?

53
(One trains the mind and the other minds the train.)
2. The name Justin Time sounds like just in time
3. I have no idea how worms reproduce but you often find them in pairs (pears).
4. Officer.-What steps (measures) would you take if an enemy tank were coming towards you?
Soldier. - Long ones.

Interjections and Exclamatory Words


Interjections and Exclamatory Words are used to express our strong feelings; they are
conventional symbols of human emotions.
The interjection is not a sentence; it is a word with strong emotive meaning. Interjections radiate
the emotional element over the whole utterance.

Here are some of the meanings that can be expressed by interjections: joy, delight, admiration,
approval, disbelief, astonishment, fright, regret, dissatisfaction, boredom, sadness, blame, reproach,
protest, horror, irony, sarcasm, self-assurance, despair, disgust, surprise, sorrow, and many others.
Oh! Ah! Pooh! Gosh! Alas! Heavens! Dear me! God! Come on! Look here! By the Lord! Bless me!
Humbug! Terrible! Awful! Great! Wonderful! Fine! Man! Boy! Why! Well!

Periphrasis
Periphrasis denotes the use of a longer phrasing in place of a possible shorter and planer form of
expression. It is also called circumlocution due to the round-about or indirect way to name a familiar
object.
There are traditional periphrases which are not stylistic devices, they are synonymic expressions:
The giver of rings, the victor lord, the leader of hosts (king),
the play of swords(battle), a shield-bearer(warrior),
the cap and gown (student), the fair sex (women), my better half (my wife).
The traditional periphrasis is an important feature of epic poetry.
Periphrasis as stylistic device is a new, genuine nomination of an object. Stylistic periphrasis can
be divided into logical and figurative.
Logical: instruments of destruction (pistols),
the most pardonable of human weaknesses (love).
Figurative periphrasis is based either on metaphor or on metonymy.
To tie the knot (to marry), the punctual servant of all work (the sun).
There is little difference between metaphor or metonymy and periphrasis.

Euphemisms
Euphemism is a word or a phrase used to replace an unpleasant word or expression:
to die=to pass away, to be no more, to depart, to join the majority, to be gone; to kick the bucket, to
give up the ghost, to go west.
So, euphemisms are synonyms which aim to produce a mild effect. Euphemisms may be divided
into several groups:
1) religious, 2) moral, 3) medical, 4) parliamentary.
a woman of a certain type(whore), to glow(to sweat),mental hospital(madhouse), the big C(cancer),
sanitation worker(garbage man).

Meiosis/Understatement
Meiosis/Understatement is a figure of speech which intentionally understates something or implies
that it is less in significance, size, than it really is.
For example, a lawyer defending a schoolboy who set fire to school, might call the fact of arson a
prank ().

Hyperbole
Hyperbole is a deliberate overstatement or exaggeration of a phenomenon or an object.

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He was so tall that I could nt see his face.

Proverbs and Sayings


Proverbs and sayings are brief statements showing in condensed form life experience of the
community and serving as conventional symbols for abstract ideas. They are usually didactic and
image rearing. Proverbs and sayings have some typical features: rhythm, sometimes rhyme and or
alliteration.
1. Early to bed and early to rise,
2.Out of sight, out of mind.
/ .
.
.
- .

Epigrams
Epigrams are terse, witty statements, showing the turn of mind of the originator. Epigram is a
stylistic device akin to a proverb, the only difference being that epigrams are coined by people whose
names we know, while proverbs are the coinage of the people.
A God that can be understood is not a God.

Quotations
Quotation is a repetition of a phrase or statement from a book, speech and the like used by the way
of illustration, proof or as a basis for further speculation on the matter. By repeating the utterance in a
new environment, we attach to the utterance an importance.

Allegory
Allegory is a device by which the names of objects or characters are used figuratively, representing
some more general things, good or bad qualities.
A type of allegory is Personification.

Personification
Personification is a form of comparison in which human characteristics, such as emotions,
personality, behavior and so on, are attributed to an animal, object or idea. The proud lion surveyed his
kingdom.
The primary function of personification is to make abstract ideas clearer to the reader by
comparing them to everyday human experience.
How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stolen on his wing my three and twentieth year
Personification is often represented by the masculine or feminine pronouns for the names of
animals, objects or forces of nature. He is used for the Sun, the Wind , for the names of animals (The
Cat that walked all by himself), for abstract notions associated with strength and fierceness-Death,
Fear, War, Love.
She is used for what is regarded as rather gentle (the Moon, Nature, Beauty, Hope, Mercy.
In neutral style there also some associations of certain nouns and gender. The names of countries, if
the country is not considered as a mere geographical territory, are referred to as feminine (England is
proud of her poets). The names of vessels and vehicles are also referred as feminine.

Anthropomorphism
Anthropomorphism is the form of personification consisting of creating imagery persons of
inanimate objects. Common examples include naming ones car or begging a machine to work. The
use of anthropomorphized animals has a long tradition in literature and art. They are used to portray
stereotypical characters, in order to quickly convey the characteristics the author intends them to

55
possess. Examples include Aesops fables, famous television characters, Tom and Jerry, Mickey Mouse
and a lot of other funny animals.
Decoding Stylistics
Practice Section

Define the type of Foregrounding:


1.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, alliteration, 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 fall 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)

2.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 Dots.
Honey, she said, would it kill you to say yes?
Yes, said Dot. (Erdrich)

St. Valentines Day, I remembered, anniversary for lovers and massacre. (Shaw)

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 its no
use. Even buried, our things survive. (Erdrich)

Would this be of any use? Asked Philbrick, producing an enormous service revolver. Only take
care, its 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 Im 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)

3. 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 doing this time. What I have doing is wine. With the way the worlds
drinking these days, being in wine is like having a license to steal. (Shaw)

56
4.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 real cars, 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)

5. Working 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 m cloud and mud at once. Burning. Transparent. And inside this
cylinder f 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 I we couldnt hear, the thunder blotting it out for us. Or maybe the cannonade of
thunder was music for them, but measure that we couldnt understand.
We didnt 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 couldnt 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)

6. Comment on the type of deviation in the following semi-marked structures.

Did you ever see a dream walking? (Cheever)

I think cards are divine, particularly the kings. Such naughty old faces! (Waugh)

Ask Pamela; shes so brave and manly. (Waugh)

It 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)

Stylistics of the author and of the reader.

The notions of encoding and decoding


Decoding stylistics is the most recent trend in stylistic research that employs theoretical findings in
such areas of science as information theory, psychology, statistical studies in combination with
linguistics, literary theory, history of art, literary criticism, etc.
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Decoding stylistics makes an attempt to regard the esthetic value of a text based on the interaction
of specific textual elements, stylistic devices and compositional structure in delivering the authors
message. This method does not consider the stylistic function of any stylistically important feature
separately but only as a part of the whole text. So expressive means and stylistic devices are treated in
their interaction and distribution within the text as carriers of the authors purport and creative idiom.
Decoding stylistics helps the reader in his or her understanding of a literary work by explaining or
decoding the information that may be hidden from immediate view in specific allusions, cultural or
political parallels, peculiar use of irony or euphemy, etc.
The term decoding stylistics came from the application of the theory of information to linguistics
by such authors as M. Riffatrre, R. Jacobson, P. Guiraud, F. Danes, Y. Lotman, I. V. Arnold and others.
In a rather simplified version this theory presents a creative process in the following mode. The
writer receives diverse information from the outside world. Some of it becomes a source for his
creative work. He processes this information and recreates it in his own esthetic images that become a
vehicle to pass his vision to the addressee, his readers. The process of internalizing of the outside
information and translating it into his imagery is called encoding.. The reader is supposed to decode
the information contained in the text of a literary work.
However to encode the information does not mean to have it delivered or passed intact to the
recipient. There are more obstacles here than meet the eye. In contrast to the writer who is always
concrete the reader who is addressed is in fact an abstract notion, he is any of the thousands of people
who may read this book. This abstract reader may not be prepared or willing to decode the message or
even take it. The reasons are numerous and various.
In M. Tsvetaevas essay Poets on Critics in which she maintains that reading is co-creative work
on the part of the reader if he wants to understand and enjoy a work of art. Reading is not so much a
hobby done at leisure as solving a kind of puzzle. What is reading but divining, interpreting,
unraveling the mystery, wrapped in between the lines, beyond the words, she writes. So if the reader
has no imagination no book stands a chance.
From the readers point of view the important thing is not what the author wanted to say but what
he managed to convey in the text of his work.
Thats why decoding stylistics deals with the notions of stylistics of the author and stylistics of the
reader.

Essential concepts of decoding stylistic analysis and types of foregrounding


Decoding stylistics investigates the levels phonetic, graphical, lexical, and grammatical. It studies
expressive means provided by each level not as isolated devices that demonstrate some stylistic
function but as a part of the general pattern on the background of relatively lengthy segments of the
text, from a paragraph to the level of the whole work. The underlying idea implies that stylistic
analysis can only be valid when it takes into account the overall concept and aesthetic system of the
author reflected in his writing.
Ideas, events, characters, emotions and an authors attitudes are all encoded in the text through
language. The reader is expected to perceive and decipher these things by reading and interpreting the
text. Decoding stylistics is actually the readers stylistics that is engaged in recreating the authors
vision of the world with the help of concrete text elements and their interaction throughout the text.
One of the fundamental concepts of decoding stylistics is foregrounding. The essence of this
concept consists in the following. Foregrounding means a specific role that some language items play
in a certain context when the readers attention cannot but be drawn to item. In a literary text such
items become stylistically marked features that build up its stylistic function.
There are certain modes of language use and arrangement to achieve the effect of foregrounding. It
may be based on various types of deviation or redundancy or unexpected combination of language
units, etc.
However decoding stylistics laid down a few principal methods that ensure the effect of
foregrounding in a literary text. Among them we can name convergence of expressive means,
irradiation, defeated expectancy, coupling, semantic fields, semi-marked structures.

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Convergence
Convergence as the term implies a combination or accumulation of stylistic devices promoting the
same idea, emotion or motive. A stylistic device is not attached to this or that stylistic effect. Therefore
a hyperbole, for instance, may provide any number of effects: tragic, comical, pathetic or grotesque.
Inversion may give the narration a highly elevated tone or an ironic ring of parody.
This chameleon quality of a stylistic device enables the author to apply different device for the
same purpose. The use of more than one type of expressive means in close succession is a powerful
technique to support the idea that carries paramount importance in the authors view. Such redundancy
ensures the delivery of the message to the reader.
An extract from E. Waughs novel Decline and Fall demonstrates convergence of expressive
means used to create an effect of the glamorous appearance of a very colorful lady character who
symbolized the high style of living, beauty and grandeur.
The door opened and from the cushions within emerged a tall young man in a clinging dove-gray
coat. After him, like the first breath of spring in the Champs-Elysee came Mrs. Beste-Chetwyndetwo
lizard-skin feet, silk legs, chinchilla body, a tight little black hat, pinned with platinum and diamonds,
and the high invariable voice that may be heard in any Ritz Hotel from New York to Budapest.
Inversion used in both sentences (...from the cushion within emerge a toll man; ...like the first
breath of spring came Mrs. Beste-Chetwynde) at once sets an elevated tone of the passage.
The simile that brings about a sensory image of awakening together with the allusion to Paristhe
symbol of the worlds capital of pleasuressustains this impression: like the first breath of spring, the
Champs-Elysee. A few other allusions to the world capitals their best hotelsNew York, Budapest, any
Ritz Hotel all symbolize the wealthy way of life of the lady who belongs to the international jet-set
distinguished from the rest of the world by her money, beau and aristocratic descent.
The use of metonymy creates the cinematographic effect of shots and fragments of the picture as
perceived by the gazing crowd and suggests the details usually blown up in fashionable newspaper
columns on high society life: two lizard-skin feet, silk legs, chinchilla body, a tight little black hat... the
invariable voice.
The choice of words associated with high-quality life style: exotic materials, expensive clothes and
jewelry creates a semantic field that enhances the impression still further (lizard, silk, chinchilla,
platinum and diamonds). A special contribution to the high-flown style of description is made by the
careful choice of words that belong to the literary bookish stratum: emerge, cushions, dove, invariable.
Even the name of the characterMrs. Beste-Chetwyndeis a device in itself, its the so-called
speaking name, a variety of antonomasia. Not only its implication (best) but also the structure
symbolizes the ladys high social standing because hyphenated names in Britain testify to the noble
ancestry. So the total effect of extravagance and glamour is achieved by the concentrated use of at least
eight types of expressive means within one paragraph.

Defeated expectancy
The essence of the notion is connected with the process of decoding by the reader of the literary
text.
The linear organization of the text mentally prepares the reader for the consequential and logical
development of ideas and unfolding of the events. The normal arrangement of the text both in form
and content is based on its predictability which means that the appearance of any element in the text is
prepared by the preceding arrangement and choice of elements, e.g. the subject of the sentence will
normally be followed by the predicate, you can supply parts of certain set phrases or collocation after
you see the first element, etc.
An example from Oscar Wildes play The Importance of Being Earnest perfectly illustrates how
predictability of the structure plays a joke on the speaker who cannot extricate himself from the grip of
the syntactical composition:
Miss Fairfax, ever since I met you I have admired you more than any girl... I have met... since I met
you. (Wide)
The speaker is compelled to unravel the structure almost against his will, and the pauses show he is
caught in the trap of the structure unable either to stop or say anything new. The clash between the
perfectly rounded phrase and empty content creates a humorous effect.
59
Without predictability there would be no coherence and no decoding. At the same time stylistically
distinctive features are often based on the deviation from the norm and predictability. An appearance of
an unpredictable element may upset the process of decoding. Even though not completely
unpredictable a stylistic device is still a low expectancy element and it is sure to catch the readers eye.
The decoding process meets an obstacle, which is given the full force of the readers attention. Such
concentration on this specific feature enables the author to effect his purpose.
Defeated expectancy may come up on any level of the language. It may be an unusual word against
the background of otherwise lexically homogeneous text.
It may be an authors coinage with an unusual suffix. Among devices that are based on this
principle we can name pun, zeugma, paradox, oxymoron, irony, anti-climax, etc.
Defeated expectancy is particularly effective when the preceding narration has a high degree of
orderly organized elements that create a maximum degree of predictability and logical arrangement of
the contextual linguistic material.
Paradox is a fine example of defeated expectancy. The following example demonstrates how
paradox works in such highly predictable cases as proverbs and phraseology. Everybody knows the
proverb Marriages Are Made In Heaven.
Oscar Wilde, a renowned master of paradox, introduces an unexpected element and the phrase
acquires an inverted implication Divorces are made in Heaven, The unexpected ironic connotation is
enhanced by the fact that the substitute is actually the antonym of the original element. The reader is
forced to make an effort at interpreting the new maxim so that it would make sense.

Coupling
Coupling is another technique that helps in decoding the message implied in a literary work. While
convergence and defeated expectancy both focus the readers attention on the particularly significant
parts of the text coupling deals with the arrangement of textual elements that provide the unity and
cohesion of the whole structure.
Coupling is more than many other devices connected with the level of the text. This method of text
analysis helps us to decode ideas, their interaction, inner semantic and structural links and ensures
compositional integrity.
Coupling is based on the affinity of elements that occupy similar positions throughout the text.
Coupling provides cohesion, consistency and unity of the text form and content.
Like defeated expectancy it can be found on any level of the language, so the affinity may be
different in nature; it may be phonetic, structural at semantic. Particularly prominent types of affinity
are provided by the phonetic expressive means. They are obviously cases of alliteration, assonance,
paranomasia, as well as such prosodic features as rhyme, rhythm and meter.
Syntactical affinity is achieved by all kinds of parallelism and syntactical repetitionanadiplosis,
anaphora, framing, chiasmus, epiphora to name but a few.
Semantic coupling is demonstrated by the use of synonyms and antonyms, both direct and
contextual, root repetition, paraphrase sustained metaphor, semantic fields, recurrence of images,
connotations or symbols.
The latter can be easily detected in the works of some poets who create their own system of
recurrent esthetic symbols for certain ideas, notions and beliefs.
Some of the well-known symbols are seasons (cf. the symbolic meaning of winter in Robert Frosts
poetry), trees (the symbolic meaning of a birch tree, a maple in Sergei Yesenins poetic work, the
meaning of a moutain-ash tree for Marina Tsvetaeva), animals (the leopard, hyena, bulls, fish in Ernest
Hemingways works) and so on. These symbols do not only recur in a separate work by these authors
but also generally represent the typical imagery of the authors poetic vision.
An illustration of the coupling technique is given below in the passage from John OHaras novel
Ten North Frederick. The main organizing principle here is contrast.
Lloyd Williams lived in Collieryville, a mining town three or four miles from 10 North Frederick,
but separated from the Chapins home and their life by the accepted differences of money and prestige;
the miners poolroom, and the Gibbsville Club; sickening poverty, and four live-in servants for a
family of four, The Second Thursdays, and the chicken-and-waffle suppers of die English Lutheran
Church. Joe Chapin and Lloyd Williams were courthouse-corridor friends and fellow Republicans, but
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Joe was a Company man and Lloyd Williams was a Union man who was a Republican because to be
anything else in Lantenengo County was futile and foolish. (OHara)
The central idea of the, passage is to underline the difference between two men who actually
represent the class differences between the rich upper class and the lower working class, So the social
contrast shown through the details of personal life of the two characters is the message with a
generalizing power. This passage shows how coupling can be an effective tool to decode this message.
There is a pronounced affinity of the syntactical structure in both sentences. The first contains a
chain of parallel detached clauses connected by and (which is an adversative conjunction here). They
contain a number of antitheses. The contrast is enhanced by the use of contextual antonyms that
occupy identical positions in the clauses: the miners poolroom and the Gibbseville Club; sickening
poverty and four servants for a family of four, The Second Thursdays and the Church suppers. The
same device is used in the second sentence: Joe was a Company man and Lloyd Williams was a Union
man. There are a few instances of phonetic affinity, alliteration: four servants for a family of four,
courthouse-corridor, friends and fellow Republicans; futile and foolish.
The passage presents alt interesting case of semantic coupling through symbols. The details of
personal and class difference chosen by the author are all charge with symbolic value. There is a
definite connection between them all however diverse they may appear at first sight. They are all
grouped so that they symbolize either money and prestige or poverty and social deprivation.
The first group creates the semantic field of wealth and power: money, social prestige, the
Gibbsville Club (symbol of wealth, high social standing, belonging to the select society), four live-in
servants for a family of four (that only rich people can afford), The Second Thursdays (traditional
reception days for people of a certain circle, formal dinner parties for people of high standing), a
Company man (a member of a financially and socially influential group, political elite). The second
semantic field comprises words denoting and symbolizing poverty and social inferiority: miners
poolroom (a working class kind of leisure), sickening poverty, chicken-and-waffle suppers of, the
English Lutheran Church (implying informal gatherings where people cook together and share food),
a Union man (a representative of the working class).
The similarity of these elements positions in this text makes the contrast all the more striking.
A minor case of coupling in the passage above is the use of zeugma in the first sentence when the
word separated is simultaneously linked to two different objects home and life in two different
meaningsdirect and figurative.

Semantic field
Semantic field is a method of decoding stylistics closely connected with coupling. It identifies
lexical elements in text segments and the whole work that provide its thematic and compositional
cohesion. To reveal this sort of cohesion decoding must carefully observe not only lexical and
synonymous repetition but semantic affinity which finds expression in cases of lexico-semantic
variants, connotations and associations aroused by a specific use or distribution of lexical units,
thematic pertinence of seemingly unrelated words.
This type of analysis shows how cohesion is achieved on a less explicit level sometimes called the
vertical context. Lexical elements of this sort are charged with implications and adherent meanings that
establish invisible links throughout the text and create a kind of semantic background so that the work
is laced with certain kind of imagery.
Lexical ties relevant to this kind of analysis will include synonymous and antonymous relations,
morphological derivation, relations of inclusion (various types of hyponymy and entailment), common
semes in the denotative or connotative meanings of different words.
If a word manifests semantic links with one or more other words in the text it shows thematic
relevance and several links of this sort may be considered a semantic field, an illustration of which was
offered in the previous example on coupling. Semantic ties in that example (mostly implicit) are based
on the adherent and symbolic connotations (Church meals, Club member, live-in servants, Union man,
etc) and create a semantic field specific to the theme and message of this work: the contrast between
wealth and poverty, upper class and working class.
In the next example we observe the semantic field of a less complicated nature created by more
explicit means.
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Joe kept saying he did not want a fortieth birthday party. He said he did not like partiesa palpable
untruthand particularly and especially a large party in honor of his reaching forty...
At first there were going to be forty guests but the invitation list grew larger and the party plans
more elaborate, until Arthur said that with so many people they ought to hire an orchestra, and with
an orchestra there would be dancing, and with dancing there ought to be a good-size orchestra. The
original small dinner became a dinner dance at the Lantenengo Country Club. Invitations were sent to
more than three hundred persons... (OHara)
The thematic word of the passage is party. It recurs four times in these four sentences. It is
obviously related to such words used as its substitutes as dinner and dinner dance which become
contextual synonyms within the frame of the central stylistic device of this piecethe climax.
Semantic relations of inclusion by entailment and hyponymy are represented by such words as
birthday (party), (party) in honor, (party) plans, invitation (list), guests, people, persons, orchestra,
dancing.
The subtheme of the major theme is the scale of the celebration connected with the importance of
the datethe main character reached the age of forty considered an important milestone in a mans life
and career. So there is a semantic field around the figure fortyits lexical repetition and morphological
derivation (fortyfortyfortieth) and the word large amplified throughout by contextual synonyms,
morphological derivatives and relations of entailment (largelargermoremanygood-sizemore-
three hundred).
Another type of semantic relationship that contributes to the semantic field analysis is the use of
antonyms and contrastive elements associated with the themes in question: largesmall, fortythree
hundred, small dinnerdinner dance, orchestragood-sized orchestra, did not likeuntruth. The
magnitude and importance of the event are further enhanced by the use of synonymous intensifies
particularly and especially.

Semi-marked structures
Semi-marked structures are a variety of defeated expectancy associated with the deviation from the
grammatical and lexical norm. Its an extreme case of defeated expectancy much stronger than low
expectancy encountered in a paradox or anti-climax, the unpredictable element is used contrary to the
norm so it produces a very strong emphatic impact.
In the following lines by G. Baker we observe a semi-marked structure on a grammatical basis:
The stupid heart that will not learn
The everywhere of grief.
The word everywhere is not a noun, but an adverb and cannot be used with an article and a
preposition, besides grief is an abstract noun that cannot be used as an object with a noun denoting
location. However the lines make sense for the poet and the readers who interpret them as the feeling
of sadness and dejection.
Lexical deviation from the norm usually means breaking the laws of semantic compatibility and
lexical valency.
If you had to predict what elements would combine well with such words and expressions as to try
ones best to..., to like ... or what epithets you would choose for words like father or movement you
would hardly come up with such incompatible combinations that we observe in the following
sentences:
She ... tried her best to spoil the party. (Erdrich)
Montezuma and Archuleta had recently started a mock-serious separatist movement, seeking to
join New Mexico. (Michener)
Would you believe it, that unnatural father wouldnt stump up. (Waugh)

Such combination of lexical units in our normal everyday speech is rare. However in spite of their
apparent incongruity semi-marked structures of both types are widely used in literary texts that are full
of sophisticated correlations which help to read sense into most unpredictable combinations of lexical
units.

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Phonetic Stylistic Devices
Practice Section
Define the Stylistic Devices:
1. I know these Eye-talians!
2. I AM sorry.
3. Appeeee Noooooyeeeeerr! (Happy New Year!)
4. Little Dicky strains and yaps back from the safety of Marys arms.
5. Whos that dear, dim, drunk little man?
6. I prayed for the city to be cleared of people, for the gift of being alone a-l-o-n-e
7. Sense of sin is sense of waste.
Task 1
Define the figures of speech:
1.Where have you gone
with your confident
walk with
your crooked smile
why did you leave
me

2. Sometimes I feel like I will never


stop
Just go on forever

3. Earth
planet doesn't explode of
itself,
said dryly
The Martian astronomer, gazing off
into the air
That they were able to do it is
proof that highly
Intelligent beings must have been
living there.

4.Writing a poem is trying to catch


a fluff of cloud
With open-fingered hands.

5. I stood and watched an evening star


As long as it watched me.

6. the thirty eighth year


of my life,
plain as bread
round as a cake
an ordinary woman.
Task 2
Define the figures of speech:
1. Is life worth living? - It depends on the liver.

2. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.-
Francis Bacon

3. She possessed two false teeth and a sympathetic heart


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4. Many women try to look their horrid best.

5. Such was the background of the wonderful, cruel, enchanting, bewildering, fatal, great city.

6. Never mind, said the stranger, cutting the address very short, said enough - no more - smart
chap that cabman damn me punch his head This coherent speech was interrupted by entrance
of the coachman.

7. The earth was made for Dombey and Son to trade in and the sun and moon were formed to give
them light; rivers and seas were made to float their ships.

8. Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves.

9. A mighty fortress is our God.


Task 3
Define the figures of speech:
1. And these water lilies Each white petal is a great tear of milk.

2. He knew the necessity of keeping as clear as possible from that poisonous many-headed serpent,
the tongue of people.

3. She had to live. It is useless to quarrel with your bread and butter.

Task 1
Define the schemes:
1. My dearest daughter, at your feet I fall.
2. In plunged she boldly
No matter how coldly
The rough river was

3. A dog (not a fox) is an animal that barks.


4. And he walked slowly again along the river-an evening of clear, quiet beauty, all harmony and
comfort, except within his heart.
5. Hear me, my mother Earth! behold it, Heaven!-
Have I not had to wrestle with my lot?
Have I not suffered things to be forgiven?

6. Inhuman piercing shrieks that could not be produced by a manly set of vocal organs - simply
indecent, terrifying, humiliating screamssuch as women omit when they see ghost or caterpillars.
7. Pleasures a sin, and sometimes sins a pleasure.
8. The sound of loud music drowned out the sound of burglary.
9.The telephone rang and rang but nobody answered.
10.The poetry of earth is never dead
he poetry of earth is ceasing never
Task 2
Define the schemes:
1.The principle production of those towns are soldiers, sailors, Jews, chalk, shrimps, officers and dock-
yard-men.
2. Little by little, bit by bit, and day by day, and year by year the baron got the worst of some disputed
questions.
3. Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.
4. Bicket did not answer his throat felt too dry.
5. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast over him in only one respect.
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6. Too black for heaven, and yet too white for the hell.
7.I came, I saw, I conquered.
8. Weve reached a point of great decision, not just for our nation, not only for all humanity, but for
life upon the Earth.
9. It was an afternoon to dream. And she took out Jons letters.
10.He was not a gentle lamb.
11.My mistress eyes are nothing like the sun
Task 3
Define the schemes:
1. What difference if it rained, hailed, blew, snowed, cycloned?

2.For East is East, and West is West

3. Hullo, Prendy, old wine-skin! How are things with you?


Admirable, said Mr.Prendergrast. I have never had them better. I have just caned twenty-three boys.

4. Him, of all things! Him! Never!

5. In he got and away they went.

6. To march about you would not like us?

7. There isnt going to be room for nice people any more. Its ended, its all over, its dead.
English Vocabulary
Practice Section

. Can you distinguish neutral, formal and informal among the following groups of words:
A B C
1. currency money dough
2. to talk to converse to chat
3. to chow down to eat to dine
4. to start to commence to kick off
5. insane nuts mentally ill
6. spouse hubby husband
7. to leave to withdraw to shoot off
8. geezer senior citizen old man
9. veracious open sincere
10. mushy emotional sentimental
2. To what stratum of vocabulary do the words in bold type in the following sentences belong?
A. I expect youve seen my hand often enough coming out with the grab.
B. I must be off to my digs.
C. When the old boy popped off he left Philbrick everything.
D. Flossie arrived, splendidly attired in magenta and green.
E. He decided that she was not appropriately dressed and must be a fool to sit downstairs in such
togs.
3. How does the choice of words contribute to the stylistic character of the passages? (technical,
poetic, bookish, commercial, religious, elevated, colloquial)
A. Fo what you go by dem, eh? Wy not keep to yoself? Dey don want you, dey don care fo
you. H ain you got no sense?
B. I made a check over the machine, cleaned filters, drained sumps, swept out the cabin, and
refueled.
C. We ask Thee, Lord, the old man cried, to look after the childt. The childt is Thine; he is Thy
childt, Lord, what father has a man but Thee?
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D. I see, said the Doctor, I see. Thats splendid. Well, will you please go into your tent, the little
tent over there.
E. The evidence is perfectly clear. The woman was unfaithful to her husband during his absence
overseas and gave birth to a child out of wedlock.
F. I say, Ive met an awful good chap called Miles. Regular topper. You know, pally.
Syntactical Stylistic Devices
Inversion/Change of Word Order
Inversion/Change of Word Order aims at making one of the members of the sentence more
conspicuous, more important, more emphatic.
Talent Mr.Micawber has; capital Mr.Micawber has not.
Came frightful days of snow and rain.
Detached Construction
Detached Construction is a secondary part of a sentence, placed so that it seems formally
independent of the word it logically refers to. The detached part, being torn away from its referent,
assumes a greater degree of significance.
Steyne rose up, grinding his teeth, pale, and with fury in his eyes.
This stylistic device is akin to inversion, detached construction produces a much stronger effect.
I want to go, he said, miserable.

A variant of detached construction is parenthesis. Parenthesis is a qualifying, explanatory or


appositive word, phrase, sentence, etc. which interrupts a syntactic construction, giving an utterance an
additional meaning or emotional colouring. It is indicated in writing by commas, brackets or dashes.
Carl, a great singer, was not a good dancer.
Parallel Construction
Parallel Construction may be encountered not so much in the sentence as in the macro-structures.
The necessary condition in parallel construction is identical, or similar, syntactical structure in two or
more sentences or parts of a sentence in close succession:
There were real silver spoons to stir the tea with, and real china cups to drink tea out of, and plates
of the same to hold the cakes and toast in.
Parallel Construction is most frequently used in enumeration, antithesis and climax, thus
consolidating the general effect achieved by these stylistic devices.
In the following example parallelism backs up repetition, alliteration, and antithesis, making the
whole sentence almost epigrammatic:
And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe,
And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot.
Parallel Construction emphasizes the similarity, diversity, contrasts the ideas equates the
significance of the parts.
Our senses perceive no extremes. Too much sound deafens us; too much light dazzles us; too great
distance or proximity hinders our view.
Parallelism always generates rhythm; hence it is natural to be used in poetry.
Chiasmus/ Reversed Parallel Construction
Chiasmus/ Reversed Parallel Construction is based on the repetition of a syntactical pattern, but it
has a cross order of words and phases.
1.In peace sons bury their fathers,
But in war fathers bury their sons.
2. Down dropped the breeze,
The sails dropped down.
Chiasmus lays stress on the second part of the utterance and always brings in some new shade of
meaning or additional emphasis.
Repetition
Repetition is used when the speaker is under the stress of strong emotions. It shows the state of
mind of the speaker.
Stop!-she cried. Dont tell me! I dont want to hear; I dont want to hear what youve come for. I
dont want to hear.
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The repetition I dont want to hear shows the excited state of mind of the speaker. Repetition aims
at fixing the attention of the reader on the key-word of the utterance.
Anaphora
Anaphora is the repetition of the same word at the beginning of two or more phrases
Ignorant of how Soams watched her, ignorant of her reckless desperation, ignorant of all this.

Epiphora
Epiphora is the repetition at the end of a phrase.
I am exactly the man to be placed in a superior position in such a case as that. I am above the rest
of mankind, in such a case as that. I can act with philosophy in such a case as that.
Repetition can also be arranged in the form of a frame: the initial parts of syntactical units are
repeated at the end of it. Such compositional units are called framing. Framing makes the whole
utterance more compact and more complete.

Anadiplosis/Reduplication
Anadiplosis/ Reduplication: the last word or phrase of one part of the utterance is repeated at the
beginning of the next part.
This compositional pattern is also called chain-repetition:
A smile would come into Mr.Pickwicks face: the smile extended into a laugh: the laugh into a roar,
and the roar became general.
Any repetition causes some modification of meaning which needs analysis. The functions of the
repetition are the following:
to intensify the utterance.
1.Those evening bells! Those evening bells!
Meditation, sadness, reminiscence and other psychological and emotional states of mind are
suggested by the repetition of the phrase with the intensifier those.
2) Repetition may also stress monotony of action, suggest fatigue, despair, hopelessness or doom:
What has my life been? Fag and grind, fag and grind. Turn the wheel, turn the wheel.

Pleonasm/Tautology
Pleonasm/Tautology is the use of more words in a sentence than are necessary to express the
meaning:
1. It was a clear starry sky, and not a cloud was to be seen.
2. He was the only survivor; no one else was saved.

Enumeration
Enumeration is a stylistic device by which separate things, objects, phenomena, actions or
properties are named one by one so that they produce a chain. The links of the chain are forced to
display some semantic homogeneity.
The grouping of sometimes absolutely heterogeous notions meets the peculiar purport of the writer.
Enumeration is frequently used to depict scenery through a tourists eyes as it gives one an insight into
the mind of the observer.

Suspense
Suspense consists in arranging the matter of communication in such a way that the less important
parts are amassed at the beginning, the main idea being withheld till the end of the sentence. Thus the
readers attention is held and his interest kept up, as he is in the state of uncertainty and expectation.
Suspense sometimes goes together with Climax.

Climax/Gradation
Climax/Gradation is the arrangement of sentences which secures a gradual increase in
significance, importance or emotional tension in the utterance. The gradual increase in significance

67
may be maintained in three ways: logical, emotional and quantitative. Emotional climax is mainly
found in sentences.
It was a lovely city, a beautiful city, a fair city, a veritable gem of a city.
Quantitative climax is an evident increase in the volume of the concepts:
They looked at hundreds of houses, they climbed thousands of stairs, they inspected innumerable
kitchens.
The function of this stylistic device is to show the relative importance of the things as seen by the
author.

Bathos
Bathos or anticlimax ( , ) is a sudden
drop from elevated to the commonplace that produces a comic or ridiculous effect.
Sooner shall heaven kiss the earth-
Oh, Julia! what is every woe?-
For Gods sake let me have a glass of liquor,
Pedro, Battista, help me down below.
Julia, my love! you rascal, Pedro, quicker.

Antithesis
Antithesis is a stylistic opposition, setting thing one against the other. In order to characterize a
thing or phenomenon from a specific point of view, it may be necessary to find points of sharp
contrast.
1. A saint abroad, and a devil at home.
2. Youth is lovely, age is lonely,
Youth is fiery, age is frosty.
3. Man proposes, God disposes
Antithesis has the basic function of rhyme-forming because of the parallel arrangement on which it
is founded.
Crabbed age and youth
Cannot live together:
Youth is full of pleasance,
Age is full of care

Asyndeton
Asyndeton is a deliberate omission of connectives between parts of sentences where they are
generally expected to be according to the norms of the language
Soams turned away; he had an utter disinclination to talk.

Polysyndeton
Polysyndeton is the stylistic device of connecting sentences or phrases or words by using
connectives before each component.
Should you ask me, whence these stories?
Whence these legends and traditions
With the odours of the forest,
With the dew, and damp of meadows,
With the curling smoke of wigwams
The repetition of conjunctions and other means of connection makes an utterance more rhythmical,
so one of the functions of polysyndeton is rhythmical.
Unlike enumeration, which combines elements of thought into one whole, polysyndeton shows
things isolated.
And, polysyndeton. has also the function of expressing sequence.

68
The Gap-Sentence Link
The Gap-Sentence Link (GSL) is a peculiar type of connection of sentences in which the
connection is not immediately seen and it requires an effort to grasp the interrelation between the parts
of the utterance.
She and that fellow ought to be the sufferers, and they are in Italy.(It means-Those who ought to be
the sufferers are enjoying themselves in Italy where well-to-do English people go for holiday.)
The Gap-Sentence Link is generally indicated by and or but. The functions of GSL are the
following:
1) it signals the introduction of inner represented speech;
2) it indicates a subjective evaluation of the facts;
3) it displays an unexpected coupling of ideas.
The Gap-Sentence Link aims at stirring up in the readers mind the suppositions, associations and
conditions under which the sentence can exist.

Ellipsis
Ellipsis refers to any omitted part of speech that is understood, i.e. the omission is intentional. In
writing and printing this intentional omission is indicated by the row of three dots () or asterisks
(***).
Ellipsis always imitates the common features of colloquial language. This punctuation mark is
called a suspension point or dot-dot-dot.

Aposiopesis/Break in-the-narrative
Good intentions but-; You just come home or Ill

Litotes

Litotes is a peculiar use of negative construction: the negation plus noun or adjective establish a
positive feature in a person or thing. It is a deliberate understatement used to produce a stylistic
effect. Litotes is not a pure negation, but a negation that includes affirmation.

It is not bad.-(Is a good thing)


He is no coward.-(He is a brave man)
Such negative constructions have a stronger effect on the reader than affirmative ones.
She was not without taste.
The constructions with two negations: not unlike, not unpromising, not displeased make positive
phrases.

Stylistic Classification of the English Vocabulary

The whole word-stock of the English language is divided into three main layers: the literary layer,
the neutral layer and the colloquial layer

The common property of the words of the literary layer is their bookish character. The aspect of the
colloquial layer is its lively spoken character. The words of the neutral layer have a universal character:
they can be used in any style of a language and in all spheres of human activity.

The literary vocabulary

1. common literary words


2. terms and learn words
3. poetic words
4. archaic words
5. barbarisms and foreign words
6. literary coinages/nonce words.
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The colloquial vocabulary

1. common colloquial words


2. slang
3. jargonisms
4. professional words
5. dialectal words
6. vulgar words
7. colloquial coinages

The neutral vocabulary/Standard vocabulary

1. common literary words


2. common colloquial words
3. neutral words.
Neutral words are the main source of synonymy and polysymy. Most neutral words are of
monosyllabic character. This phenomenon led to the development of conversion as the most productive
means of word-building.

Common literary words are mainly used in writing and polished speech. Colloquial words are
always more emotionally coloured than literary ones.

Special Literary Vocabulary

A. Terms
Terms are mostly used in the language of science but they can appear in any other style. When used
in science terms are connected with the concepts they denote. In other styles they indicate technical
peculiarities or make some relevance to the occupation of a character, create a special atmosphere.

B. Poetic and Highly Literary Words


Poetic words and expression sustain the special elevated atmosphere of poetry. They are mostly
archaic and used in art.

C. Archaic, Obsolescent and Obsolete Words


Historical Terms cannot be classified as archaic (thane, yeoman, goblet, baldric, mace), they have
no synonyms but archaic words can be replaced by modern synonyms. Archaic words are
predominantly used in the creation of a realistic background to historical novels. The heroes of the
historical novels should speak the language of the period the writer describes.
There are three stages in the aging process of words:
1. words become rarely used. Such words are called obsolescent (thou, thee, thy; art, wilt).
2. words have come out of use. Such words are called obsolete (me thinks = it seems to me; nay =
no).
3. words have dropped out of the language or become unrecognizable.
Archaic words are sometimes used for satirical purposes it happens when an archaic word is
used in inappropriate context.

D. Barbarisms and Foreignisms


Barbarisms are the words of foreign origin, assimilated into the English language. They have
become facts, part and parcel of the English language; they are registed in the dictionaries. Most of
them have English synonyms (chic=stylish; bon mot=a witty saying)
Foreign words do not belong to the English vocabulary. In printed works foreign words are
generally italicized to indicate their alien nature or their stylistic value.

70
One of the functions of the foreign words is to supply local colour, to depict local conditions of life,
concrete facts and events, customs and habits.
The common function of barbarisms and foreignisms is to build up the stylistic device of
represented speech/reported speech of the local people. Sometimes one or two foreign words create
an impression of an utterance made in a foreign language. Foreign words may be used to elevate the
language, to exalt the expression of the idea: words that we do not quite understand have a peculiar
charm.

E. Literary coinages/Nonce words


Literary coinages or neologisms are defined as new word or new meanings for established words.
Newly coined words to designate new-born concepts are named terminological coinages.
Among the coinages of a literary-bookish style there are words from the publicistic style, mostly
from newspaper headlines.

Most of the literary-bookish coinages are built by means of affixation and wordcompounding:
orbiter; moisturize; mentee; supermanship.
Another type of neologisms is the nonce-word, a word coined to suit one particular situation: to
evaluate a thing or phenomenon:
You are the bestest good one, she said, the most bestest good one in the world. sevenish
New words are also coined by contractions and abbreviations:
LOX-liquid oxygen explosive; laser=light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation;
UNESCO (United Nations Education and Science Organization); jeep (GP=General Purpose car)

Special colloquial vocabulary

A. Slang
Slang is deviation from the established norm and everything that is below the standard of educated
speech in modern English. It is the language of highly colloquial type, consisting of new words or
current word in some special sense, the language of a low and vulgar type.
Nowadays slang is highly praised as vivid, more flexible, more picturesque, richer in
vocabulary. When slang is used, our life seems fresher and a little more personal.
So, slang reflects the personality, gives us clearly visible characteristics of the speaker.
There are many kinds of slang: Cockney, commercial, military, theatrical, society, school, etc.

B. Jargonisms
Jargon is a set of words whose aim is to preserve secrecy within a social group. Jargonisms are
generally old words with entirely new meanings imposed on them, and because of that absolutely
incomprehensible to people outside the group.
Grease money; loaf-head; a tiger hunter-a gambler; a lexer- a law student
There is the jargon of thieves and vagabonds (cant, argot /a:gu/ ,- ); the jargon of
jazz people; the jargon of the army as military slang; the jargon of sportsmen; the jargon of hackers,
and many others.
Slang and jargon both differ from ordinary language in their vocabularies, but slang, contrary to
jargon needs no translation. Jargonisms do not always remain the possession of a given social group.
Some of them migrate into other social strata and sometimes become recognized in the literary
language as slang or colloquial words:
Kid, fun, humbug.

C. Professionalisms
Professionalisms are the words used in different trades, professions or within a group of people
connected by common interests. They designate some working process, tools or instruments.
Professionalisms should not be mixed with jargonisms. Like slang, professionalisms do not aim at
secrecy.

71
Professionalisms are used in emotive prose to depict the natural speech of a character, his or her
education, breeding, environment and psychology.
The difference between the terms and professionalisms is that terms belong to the literary layer of
words and professionalisms belong to the non-literary layer. Professionalisms remain within a definite
community, lined to a definite occupation:
A midder case= (a midwifery case- )
Tin-fish=submarine

D. Dialectal Words
The function of the dialectal words is to characterize personalities through their speech.

E. Vulgar Words/ Vulgarisms


Vulgarisms are:
1) expletives and swear words: damn, bloody, to hell, goddam;
2) obscene words (four-letter words).
The function of the expletives is to express strong emotions, mainly annoyance, anger, vexation and
the like in the direct speech of the characters.

72

:
1. .. . ./ . .,
2002
2. .. . .
. .: , 2004
3. .. :
. .: , 2003 ( .
)
4. .. ./ .
.: , 2004. 192 .

:
1. . ..
. 1984 . ( . ).
2. Delaney D., Ward C., Fiorina C. Fields of Vision
3. Galperin I. R. Stylistics. M. 1977

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- :
.. , .. , .. ,

663606, . , . 40 , 65
. (39161) 2-56-30, (39161) 2-55-91
E-mail: kanskcol@rambler.ru

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