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Textual Analysis of an Excerpt: Ann Veronica – page 43 through 46

Eponymous protagonist Ann Veronica, inchoate “Human Being”, anachronistic feminist,


gender-equality-seeking student of biology and the embodiment of female freedom in
H.G.Wells’ novel, returns home to have it out with her father Mr.Stanely, the counterpart
embodiment of the age-old patriarchy. This excerpt of ours is the first act of a father-
daughter confrontation, with the solicitor’s study for its stage, regarding attending a
symbolic dress ball in London, which is, in our patriarch’s words, “preposterous”.

To defend his thesis, Wells’ passage is quite the arsenal of adjectives, adverbs, verbs, nouns,
sentences, language an figures of speech, pointed squarely at the reader for aim this essay is
dispatched to examine.

Lexis wise, adjectives come first in the analysis. They vacillate between attributive (green-
shaded, deliberate, patient, complicated…) for descriptive reasons, and predicative (isn’t
right, it’s possible, is preposterous, that’s fair, is harmless…) which are more evaluative.
Adverbs too are used for a dozen purposes, note-worthy of which are the following:
“carefully, conspicuously…” for scene-setting, “quizzically” for theatrical effects and others
such as “entirely, really…” for intensity.

Verbs ensue and prove to be of a quarter-a-dozen, subjectively speaking, walks of literary


intentions. Abundant are such verbs as “come into, found, lay, fiddled…” to describe and set
the scene. Verbs of interaction or report also make an appearance in dialogue-driven
sections, namely “said, asked, remarked…”. The reader can also pinpoint verbs of
estrangement such as “had been moved” and “appear to be”, the whole of which – i.e these
verbs- swing back and forth between the past tense or the narrative tense, and the present
tense or the interactive tense for dialogue, and in passive or active forms.

Nouns are dispersed throughout the text, and seesaw between concrete (the study,
document, hotel, pipe, roof…) and abstract (irony, reasonableness, proposal, fairness…),
with former predominant in narration, while the latter reigns in dialogue.

The abovementioned components are molded into a various sentence structures, notable
among which is a couple; the subordinate clause (when Ann Veronica came into…free) and
compound-complex sentences (both arm-chairs…pink tape).

The language Wells employs is simple, evaluative and specific; it serves the purpose of his
making the point he makes accessible, provide an assessment as to whether or not the anti-
heroine should attend the ball, couched in formal terms that are germane to the subject
matter.

The narrator-focalizor is omniscient and extradigetic; he adopts a bird’s eye view and taps int
the character’s thoughts every now and then. He is dexterous at inducing the reader to
empathize and even pick sides with characters, by dints of such stylistic features as authorial
intrusion, rethorical question and metaphore, which he manipulates to add a comical and
ironic tinge to the passage.