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II

Ill
ABSTRACT

The aims of this dissertation are to investigate what

style means in relation to literary language; what methods

can be used to talk about literary style and how these

methods may be applied to solve pedagogical problems of

English teaching in Hong Kong. The dissertation consists of

three chapters* Chapter one lays down the theoretical

framework of what characterizes literary language. This is

based on my reading of the Saussaurean semiology, Russian

Formalism and Speech Act Theory. Literary style is defined


as a use not a kind of language here* Chapter two

illustrates the use of literary language in practical

analysis which integrates style as a reflexive

use of language and as a special type of discourse in speech

act* Chapter three explicates the pedagogical

implications of this stylistic approach to literary

language for English teaching in Hong Kong*

»•**"
The investigation is based on my teaching experience

and my study on the M.A* course* My conclusion takes the

form of a recommendation that the stylistic approach to

literary language I have discussed and illustrated can be

usefully applied to the teaching of language and literature*

I propose that it should be considered in any planning of

the future directions in English education of Hong Kong*

IV
PREFACE

This dissertation arises from both my experience as a

teacher of English and my study on the M.A. course. During


the first few years of my teaching, English Literature was
not offered, nevertheless I have always incorporated it
into my language teaching .Extracts of works of Literature

were introduced to students to develop their reading


interest* Basic stylistic analysis was done to sensitize
them to the literary use of language for certain effects.
Dialogues and episodes were dramatized to get them
involved. Students found language learning interesting and
they began to extend their use of language beyond the
examination context to express their feelings and thoughts
(see Appendix oneKAnd when Literature was offered, I
reinforced what I had been doing in the language class.
Major emphasis and initial focus were put on the language
and the use of style in Literature texts. I have found many
common points' in the teaching of these two subjects* My
study on the M.A. course provided a theoretical basis and
methodology which enabled me to evaluate my past teaching
experience in perspective. It also enabled me to

systematically analyse and organize my current practice in


the classroom. The result is embodied in this dissertation.
It addresses two kinds of quest ions,theoretical and

pedagogical. The theoretical questions include: What is the

style of literary language? How can we characterize it? Is

it separated from that of the ordinary use of language in

our daily communication? How is discourse in the literary

use of language different from that in ordinary

communication ? To answer these questions, I start by

examining language as a system of signification* The

Saussurean concept of the sign is a point of entry* Although

Saussure classifies literature as a 'second order* system,

it is a legacy of his contribution that the medium becomes

the focal point of the study of art and language the primary

concern of the study of literature* The Russian Formalists

sharpens this focus on the medium by concentrating on the

reflexive use of language in literature. So the poetic

function is characterized by the dominant focus on the

message* But the literary use of language is also a kind of

discourse which partakes of other functions such as the

pragmatic andj the interpersonal ones* This dissertation

attempts to bring the Formalist approaches and discourse

analysis together in the stylistic characterization of the

literary use of language*

VI
The second kind of questions are of pedagogical nature:

What are the problems of English teaching in Hong Kong? How


should language and Literature be taught to the second

language learner? How are these two subjects related? Why is

the student's language standard falling although the time

and effort spent on it is greater than that of other

subjects ? Why is the number of Literature candidates

dropping? What place might the stylistic approach to

literary language have in both language and Literature

teaching? This dissertation attempts to illustrate and

recommend the integration of the teaching of language and

Literature through the stylistic approach to both the

literary and non-literary use of language.

VII
TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE :
THE LITERARY USE OF LANGUAGE: A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 1 - 28

CHAPTER TWO :
THE USE OF STYLE : A PRACTICAL ANALYSIS 29 -52

CHAPTER THREE :

TEACHING LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 53-82

NOTES 83 -85

APPENDIX ONE 86 -97

APPENDIX TWO 98 -103

APPENDIX THREE 104-120

BIBLIOGRAPHY 121-124

VIII
CHAPTER ONE :

THE LITERARY USE OF LANGUAGE : A THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

If there is such a thlag as literature, there must be


literary language, for literature is something that is
expressed and recorded in language, be it spoken or written.
Then the term literary language seems tautological* But in
view of the protean nature of language, the complexities it
develops through changes brought by its currency and
endless theories about it,as well as the pedagogical
division between literature and language as subjects/ the
attempt to characterize literary language may not only be
fruitful, but needed. The investigation can throw light on
the basic system of language within which literature is
situated* This kind of dialectic relationship can be
examined in stylistic analysis, from which it is hoped that
pedagogical implications can be drawn for the teaching of
language and of literature*

The Saussurean concept of the sign may provide a point


of entry* Underlying it is the basic principle that
languages are systems of signs which are made up of two
elements, a sound or graphic image, called a *signifier*,
and a concept, the 'signified** These signs are ^arbitrary*
because the correspondence of the signifier with the
signified is only conventional ;there is no natural or
necessary relationship between the system of signs and the

i
world of objects to which they refer. This arbitrary

relationship points to the *differential* power of language.

Words generate the meaning of objects and articulate our


experience of things by differentiation, ie. the difference
of one sign from the others, corresponding to that of one
concept from the others. Thus, just as the sign *godf
differs graphically and phonemically from the sign *dog*,
the meaning of the concept *god* is generated from its

difference from that of other concepts* The fact that


meaning is identified by differentiation presupposes that
linguistic signs cannot be taken individually* Every sign
functions in relation to the others. Language studies, to
Saussure, are concerned with the totality of this
relationship* With this in mind, he distinguishes langue,
the language system from parole, the individual realization
of the system in actual instances of language. And he places
the importance of langue over parole as the object of
1inguistics.:

Language study before Saussure is more historical in


that it concentrated on the ways languages change through
time* This became known as Philology or Comparative
Historical Linguistics, which he characterizes as the
Miachronic* study of language* In juxtaposition to this Is
what he introduces as *synchronic study*, which investigates
how a language functions as a system at a particular point

in time* The distinction of these two orientations is


essential as each contributes to different kinds of
knowledge which are complementary to a comprehensive study
of language. Within the framework of the synchronic study,
Saussure distinguishes *syntagmatic* relations, the
relationship that linguistic units have with other units
because they may occur together in a sequence, from
*associative* relations, the relationship between a unit at
a given point within a sentence and a unit with which ,
syntactically, it is interchangeable*

The influence of Saussure*s Ideas outlined above on


linguistics is tremendous, but that is outside the scope of
this essay. My main focus is on the implications of the
Saussurean ideas for the study of literature and the
application of his ideas to the examination of literary
language .

When Saussure launched his ^revolutionary* concept of


the sign, he was preoccupied with the study of language as a
system from a linguistic point of view* He had little regard
for literature or literary language, which he considered
only as a minor parole within the langue* He had not
imagined the significant influence on the study of
literature* Here, I do not suggest that he is the pioneer of
the study of semiology. Plato has warned that art
is thrice removed from the ultimate truth* And Aristotle's
mimetic theory is predicated on the relationship between art
and objects* Despite their different standpoints, both take
account of the referential power of language* But where they
differ in general from Saussure is that they treat art in
the form of literature from a utilitarian or moralistic
point of view> whereas Saussure is concerned with how the
system of language technically and conceptually works. The
concept of the sign is significant in shifting our attention
to the very medium of art, from the preoccupation with using
art as a vehicle for extrinsic purposes or with the
imposition of personal views on it* That the medium becomes

the focal point of the study of art and language the primary
concern of the study of literature is a legacy of Saussure*s
contribution.

Saussure*s concept of the sign does not just apply to


linguistics, for language is only one of the signifying
systems* However, compared with other systems such as ritual
or etiquette, linguistic signs are more complex and
arbitrary: *We can therefore say that wholly arbitrary
signs are those which come closest to the semiological

ideal. This is why language, the most complex and widespread


of systems of expression, is also the most characteristic*
And for this reason linguistics can serve as a model for

semiology as a whole, though language is only one of its


systems* (Saussure,£
If linguistics may serve as a model for semiology, I
would venture to propose that literature may serve as a
paradigm for the study of language. In the domain of
semiology, literature is a ^second order* system which is
based on language* Here we may try to distinguish language
from literature from a semiological point of view* As a
conventionalized system which signifies by differentiation,
language is codified to communicate as accurately and
unambiguously as possible. Effective communication depends
on clear definition and strict observation of the
correspondence between the signified and the signifies* AD
extreme example to illustrate this is the traffic signals of
which the spectrum of colour is sharply demarcated for
^mechanical* compliance* The spectrum of language is larger
as the objects to denote are varied and endless* Each new
discovery or change in concept or relation of things will
effect a refining of the spectrum* And where the material
world of concrete objects is concerned, the spectrum can be
more sharply defined within a language community* There is
no ambiguity between a room and a building or a dog and a
cat* But when it is not the concrete objects but our views
or feelings about them that are concerned, the spectrum is
less powerful to contain the concept* A house is not a home
because the elements which constitute the concept *home* are
abstract and subject to different degrees and kinds of
experiences for consideration* So we may regard language and
literature as a continuum in signification* Language can
become more literary when the thing it signifies is less
concrete or material or when it is pertaining to our views

or feelings* Literary language deals with concepts which


resist ordinary language, concepts which are not adequately
formulated by it.

Saussure distinguishes langue from parole and specifies

that the former should be the linguist's primary concern.


For langue is a set of Aboard deposited by the practice of
speech in speakers who belong to the same community, a
grammatical system which, to all intents and purposes,
exists in the mind of each speaker* <Saussure,pp.13-14X1t is
what Louis Hjelmslev interprets as the schema, norm and
usage. On the other hand, parole is only an individual and
accidental act of realization. *In separating langue from
parole* we are separating what is social from what is
individual and what is essential from what is ancillary or
accidental* (Saussure, p. 14). It is understandable that
Saussure distinguishes langue for linguistic study for it
is an essential, social, homogeneous, conceptual, static,
structured and total system. Linguistics is a science, and
so langue is the system for scientific investigation.

In line with the distinction, I would categorize the


resources of language for ^ordinary* communication to be
langue and the language of literature to be parole. To do
this is not meant to belittle literature. I just wish to
situate the relationship between language and literature in
order that literary language can be characterized- It has
been said that to facilitate communication, the schema, norm
and usage should function unequivocally* Rules of language
as a conventionalized system must be observed* Having
language as its basis, literature starts with the same

conventional relationship between the signified and the


signifier. But it does not necessarily stop within this
relationship* Very often, literature lays bare this
relationship to question, modify, parody or undermine our
conceptualization* To some extent, it challenges the social

hence collective, homogeneous, conceptual, static,


structured and total system of langue* At the same time,
literature is based on language, its challenge is predicated
on the same conventionalized relationship and
conceptualization which underline the system of langue. In
this way, we may postulate that the relationship between
language and literature is dialectical: the individual,
heterogeneous, dynamic and voluntaristic realization of
literary language of parole within the system of langue is
both subversive and generative of that system* Language
changes are initiated in the domain of parole* Many of the
realizations in literary language have been normalized into
the system of langue* But once these are normalized, they

lose their freshness and become more or less cliches* They


are no longer treated as literary* So literary language can
be characterized by the dynamic tension with which it is
related to the system of langue*
And by itself, literary language is a reflexive medium;

it is characterized by the conscious use of its very medium


to reflect on and question our arbitrary and
conventionalized conceptualizaton* In this way, it also
creates tension in the relationship between the sign and the
concept. This tension unsettles our strict adherence to
this conventionalized relationship and hence language is
made problematic and we may gain different perspectives
of ourselves and the world* On the other hand, currency of
ordinary language tends to reinforce and stabilize the

relationship between the signified and the signifier* A

usage once widely accepted will become a norm, and rules


then will be derived to consolidate the norm* So when
language is a ^rule-governed behaviour1* there is a tendency
to take the arbitrary relationship for granted and hence our
perception may be enclosed within the conventional system
which Fredric Jameson (1972) calls the *prison-house* of
language*

Although Saussure does not provide a solution to this


situation, his concept of the sign has already pointed to
the problem* It is his idea of the arbitrary and
differential nature of the sign that erodes the mimetic
theory of art, so that language functions not so much to

reflect reality as to shape our perception* Jonathan Culler,


in his introduction to Saussure's Course in General
Linguistics, writes: *He helps us to understand the role
played by distinctions which structure our world and the
systems of convention by which man becomes homo significans:
2
a creature who gives things meanings*. And it is through
Saussures's focus on the sign as a system of relations that
people begin to view language as an organizing structure.
Traces of Saussure's influence can be found in subsequent
literary theories of the Russian Formalists and the Prague
Linguistic Circle. I would try to read their ideas in the
light of Saussure* basic concept in order to further
characterize the nature of literary language, as well as to
formulate stylistic analysis.

Formalism is essentially the study of literary


language. Unlike the Anglo-American New Criticism which also
explores what is literary in texts. Formalists do not
endorse moral or cultural values of the aesthetic form.
Literature is only a special use of language* It is as the
leading figure of The Society for the Study of Poetic
Language, Viktor Shklovsky, defines it,*the sum total of all
3
stylistic devices employed in it*. The devices, which
include sound,' imagery, rhythm, syntax, etc., are
interrelated, to Meform* ordinary language giving an

'estranging* or Mefamiliarizing* effect. The concept of


defamiliarization is predicated on the arbitrary and
conventional nature of the linguistic sign. Communication
depends on taking this nature for granted, so in the
^routines of currency, our perceptions of the world are
conditioned and "automatized*. Literature
Roman is to
4
Jakobson ^organized violence committed on ordinary speech**
t
It alienates or estranges* the conventionalized
conceptualization of ordinary language so that we may gain a
different perception and fuller experience of reality* The
Violence* is committed through deviation which is
'organized* formally at different levels of the devices from
the backdrop of the norm* The 'literariness* of a text is
structured in its differential relations with other texts*

It must be pointed out that the Formalists treat poetry


as the quintessentially literary use of language* Although
they have used Gulliver*s Travels and Tristram Shandy to
illustrate the devices of defamiliarization, most of their
examples are taken from poetry, which they think of as
'speech organized in its phonic texture** For one thing,
poetry is written to be read and spoken* it is closer to
speech than to writing,
which Saussure considers 'as an
5
imperfect and derivative representation** Secondly, many
of thefeatures which are characterized as 'literary* are
6
phonological rather than graphical, and these features are
more condense in poetry than in prose* Moreover, we must
remember that literature starts from the oral traditions and
is constantly influenced by the oral culture of the time*
These may explain why the Formalists tend to identify
'1iterariness* with poeticalness and speak of poetic
language as literary language.

10
There are, of course, critical objections to this: *To
think of literature as the Formalists do is really to think

of all literature as poetry. Significantly, when the


Formalists came to consider prose writing, they often simply
extended to it the kinds of technique they had used with
poetry* But literature is usually judged to contain much
besides poetry — to include, for example, realist or

naturalistic writing which is not linguistically self-


conscious or self-exhibiting in any striking way <
Eagleton, p*6 )* This criticism is predicated on the
traditional categorization of genres in literature, which
has been found unsatisfactory in critical vocabulary* The
black and white distinction between prose and poetry is hard
to establish* A prose work, for instance, Virginia Woolf's
short story Kew Gardens is poetic, whereas many poems,
especially those modern ones are prosaic* Poeticalness or
literariness is not unique to poetry , it is found in prose
,as well as in non-literary writing* The difference between
all these, I must point out, is only in degree but not in
7
kind* And the degree is also related to its function*
Deviation is one prominent but important characteristic of
the literary use of language* The compactness of poetry
enables one to feel the tension between the deviation and
the norm more succinctly and condensely. And comparatively
there are more restrictions in poetry form, that means there
is a greater range of deviation* In characterizing literary
language, I shall start by examining deviation in poetry
because it is obvious and objective* Moreover, it has great

11
pedagogical implications, which I shall explain later. But I

do not follow the Formalist line strictly throughout. There

is a point in Eagleton's counter example, ie* 1iterature


includes realist and naturalist writing which is not
linguistically self-conscious* There are some other criteria
which make people regard this kind of writing as
literature. And I shall discuss the limitations of Formalism
and explore other criteria. Here, to be fair, the Formalists
speak only of literariness not literature, let alone all
literature* For a theory to apply to all w i l l be trivial
even if it is true* And I must point out that my essay does
not presume to define literature as Eagleton does, my focus
is only to characterize literary language*

If defamiliarization is an important characteristic

feature of literary language, there is a point to identify


*1iterariness* with poeticalness, to treat poetic language
as the paradigm of literary language* First, we must clarify
the purpose of defa»iliarization* It is observant of
Eagleton to spot the London Underground Notice: *Dogs must
be carried on the escalator1 or another notice: ^Refuse to
be put in this basket* and find them ^estranging *
(Eagleton, f»p*6- 7 )* But the Formalists have not asserted
that estrangement as the sole' property of literary language*
They only emphasize the purpose of estrangement is to *lay
bare* the working of language in shaping our perception*
Literary estrangement is a kind of reflexive use of

language* Shklovsky in *Art as Technique* (1917) writes:

12
The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as
they are perceived, and not as they are known. The technique
of art is to make objects *unfamiliar*, to make forms

difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of


perception, because the process of perception is an
aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way
of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is
not important*

This is a step further from Saussure's laying bare of the


arbitrary and conventional nature of the linguistic sign by
pointing back to the working of the system of the sign* What
t
Eagleton seizes* as Estranging* must be perverse for he
has taken the two instructional notices out of context to
wilfully impose a literary reading on it. Notices are
written to give clear instructions. They are comparable to
traffic signals, operative on the unquestioned compliance
with the correspondence between the sign and the concept.
*Red* simply means *stopf. It is a practical joke to disturb
the order or replace the filters of the lights. Writers of
literature may sometimes play this kind of joke though not
* practically *, their purpose is to draw our attention to

the medium which affects our perceptions. One very


interesting example can be found in Tristra^ Shandy« which
is interpolated with sign-posts of pointing fingers, Gothic
script, serpentine lines, blank lines, and blank sheets,
these signs function differently from instructional signals

13
such as road signs. So by all means, language for
communication has to be plain and direct. And the context of
its use eliminates all ambiguities.

The context is important in distinguishing what is


literary from what is not. Addressing this question,
Eagleton writes:

But what if I were to hear someone at the next pub table


remark ''This is awfully squiggly handwriting!1* Is this
* % literary** or **non-literary** language? As a matter of
fact it is **1iterary'* language, because it comes from Knut
Hamsun's novel Hunger The context tells me that it is
literary; but the language itself has no inherent properties
or qualities which might distinguish it from other kinds of
discourse *

As a matter of fact, this is not literary language even


if it is part of the novel. Whether the language is literary
or not has to be seen in relation to other parts or levels
or structures of the text as a whole* We cannot isolate one
or two sentences to decide whether it is literary. If
deviation constitutes one of the qualities of
*1iterariness1> there must be a normative framework from
which the language deviates. If every sentence or unit were
deviant, there would either be no communication or all
'automatisation' * Not every line or unit in a novel or a
*
poem is literary. It Is not coincident that literary

14
critics throughout literary history chose the same unit be
it Chapter, Canto, Stanza, Paragraph, Episode, Scene, and
even line or word to analyse in elaboration* And within a
literary period, some authors are considered greater, some
lesser. Even among the works of each author, some receive
more critical attention, some less. This may explain that
some part is more literary than the others although
different critics do see it in different lights. At least,
the use of language in a special way through deviation and
foregrounding is one characteristic which makes it literary.

Let us come back to Eagleton's conclusion :*The


context tells me that it is literary; but the language
itself has no inherent properties or qualities which might
distinguish it from other kinds of discourse. ..**There are
two contexts which Eagleton gives. The first one is he
himself at the pub table, hearing the quoted line. I presume
that he would not choose just this line for critical
analysis. Of course, the first context does not make sense
of just one such line. It makes more sense if it were not
the pub table but the teacher's desk or the manager's
office. Still these relevant contexts cannot tell whether it
belongs to a literary framework* The second context, ie*,
the novel Hunger still cannot tell if the line is literary*
It can only tell the line is a part of the larger literary
framework* To be a part of this framework is not necessarily
»
literary. He cannot assume that the context , l^e. the name

15
of the novel can identify any sentence belonging to it as
literary. In testing whether the line is literary, Eagleton
seems to restrict the word context to just the name of the
novel or the knowledge that the line comes from a novel:
*Qne answer to the question of how I know that this is
literary is that it comes from Knut Hamsun's novel
Hunger1 (Eactleton«p.6>. Literary context means more than

that* To test whether one line is literary by taking it out


of the whole work is more perverse than the Formalists, who
were accused of analysing the structure independent of the
social and political context*

In fact, there is no need to do that perverse test in


order to conclude that language has no inherent properties
which might distinguish it from other kind of discourse.

The linguistic sign is arbitrary and conventional. But


language signifies by differentiation, and it has to be seen
in relational terms as a whole* What distinguishes one kind
of discourse from another is the use of language* This of
course includes functions, structures and context, which
have to be related in whole* And the distinction is seen in
a continuum* There can be no such thing as pure language or
^discourse* of any kind* The piece of advertisement that
Bloom reads in Joyce's Ulysses cannot be taken out of the
novel to characterize as literary because one knows it is
from Joyce* Joyce's pen does not endorse every sentence it
t
wrote as literary, rather, in this case, he makes it read as

16
an advertisement which may appear on a newspaper and he

means us to read it as such* but not as an imaginative

literary advertisement in a fiction* Literary language is a


\
complicated subject because it is not a fixed entity; it can

draw on almost anything,and at the same time devices common

to literary language can be easily found in many kinds of

writing or discourse. This does not mean that there is no

way to characterize literary language, we may proceed on

along the line of the Formalists and the Prague Lingusitic

School to analyse its strengths and limitations.

The early phase of Formalism has been generally

attacked for treating poetic language as all deviation* This

may be attributed to Shklovsky's concept of art as device

which focuses mainly on the defamiliarized forms of language

within a text* Latey Formalists, such as Tynyanov and

Jakobson and the Prague School, here represented by

Mukarovsky, attempt to answer the charge by extending the

concept. Instead of seeing the text as a set of devices,

they treat it as a functioning structural system. Structure

includes all elements of the text in reciprocal relations*

It applies to all forms of language, be it defamiliarized

or not* It is the text in the totality of relationships* To

see the text as a structure is to shift the attention from

the medium as the operation of literary devices to the

relationships underlying the medium as a structural system.

This is reminiscent of the Saussurean signs which function


*
in a system of relationships.

17
In Jakobson's 'Closing statement: linguistics and
8
poetics 1 , structure can be analysed in six functions which
correspond to six factors: the focus on the addresser
constitutes the emotive function; on the addressee the
conative function; on the context the referential function;
on the code the metalingual function; on the means of
contact the phatic function and on the message the poetic
function* And the concept of *the dominant* is defined as
*the focusing component of a work of art: it rules,
determines, and transforms the remaining components*. Under
the system , all functions can be present in a text. The

relative predominance of one will relegate the others to the


background* So if the poetic function predominates, the
message will be characterized as 'literary* or Aesthetic1 *
This is seen in differential relation with other functions*
Under this theory, the word literary becomes a relative
term, there is no absolute distinction between one kind of
discourse from the others*

Within the poetic function, there is a continuing shift


in the relationships among the various elements which
registers the change in poetic forms* Thus, archaic diction
and word order are ^elevating* in epic poems but can be
ironic or even pedantic in modern poetry* The aeo-Classical

poetic diction is frowned on by Wordsworthi who considers


that *A poet is a man speaking to men'* To the Romantics
like Wordsworth this poetic diction has become

18
^automatised ^ so a *new* language must be sought in order

to restore *the glory and the freshness of a dream*. The

shifting dominant operates not only in individual texts and

authors, but also within literary periods* Jakobson even

applies the concept of the dominant to the interrelationship

between literary and non-literary systems. The dominant of

Renaissance poetry is to him related to visual art; of

Romantic poetry to music and of Realism to verbal art. These

generalized observations may constitute an interesting topic

in synchronic semiology. But my concern is how the concept

of the dominant helps characterize literary language.

The concept of the dominant is developed from the

principle of defamiliarization in which the language of a

text is ^deformed* or ^violated* at one level or another

constituting a shifting of relationships in the structure.

This shift in turn upsets our usual conception of language,

hence we are estranged from our fixed perception which is

derived from this conception. The dominant in a text draws

our attention to the dynamic relations or tension between

the defamil iar,ized and the ^automat ized*« Literature is not

constituted of all or only defamiliarized language. The

focus on the message itself helps express a poetic function.

The word message is not equivalent to the content, which is

traditionally opposed to the form. It is the utterances

derived from the intentional and systematic working of the

interrelationships as a whole in a text* The dominant is a


«
structuring principle in which the message is embodied. It

19
is analogous to foregrounding, which is a basic technique of
visual art. And again, these two concepts are based on the
differential relationships of the sign.

The concept of the dominant or foregrounding is


powerful in registering the dialectic relationships between
literary language and the langue* The langue constitutes the
background from which the deviation of the linguistic
components at different levels can be foregrounded* This
explains why many linguistic components at certain levels
do not deviate from the norm. It is also to be noted that
when the deviant elements become established or
^automatized ^ they will constitute a normative background
from which new deviations can be foregrounded. This can be
analysed diachronically by comparing the difference between
the neo-Classical and the Romantic poetic form and diction,
or by tracing how the Sonnet form was deviated from the time
of Petrarch through Spenser* Sidney, Shakespeare, Donne to
the Romantics* And a comparison of the sonnets of Wordsworth
and Keats may throw light on synchronic deviation* So the
literary form or structure of one period may constitute a
normative background from which the following generations
can deviate, and within a particular period, the same
literary form may be deviated in the works of different
authors. But above all, deviation is usually intentional

and systematic.

20
It is interesting to introduce the *psychocritical'
approach of Harold Bloom to explain intentionality of
deviation. According to Bloom, poets after Milton have to
struggle in the ^anxiety of influence* to create an
imaginative space by 'misreading* their poetic fathers. This
is seen in the psychic defences crystallizing in their
poetry as tropes which include irony, synecdoche, metonymy,
hyperbole, metaphor and raetalepsis* These tropes enable them
to *swerve' from their predecessors in order to justify a
new poetic direction in form or diction; to misinterpret
their poems; to treat them as fragments* and even to *turn

against the Self 1 * Synchronically, Bloom analyses how


Shelley's Ode to the West Hind struggles against
Wordsworth's ^Immortality* ode < See Harold Bloom, ft Map of
Misreading. OOP, New York, Toronto, Melbourne, 1975 K
Bloom's *psychocritical' approach provides the impetus of

changes in literary traditions* Seen from a psychological


point of view, the relationships between the texts of
fathers and sons he analysed register an extreme kind of
tension which underlies the dynamics of deviation* But that
is a psychocrit,ical reading of artistic creativity. And the
anxiety of influence as well as the psychic defences put the
*sons* in a passive and involuntary position* What I try to
show through Bloom's reading of the Romantics is that an
author must be conscious of the influence of the traditions
before him* Whether he is imitating or deviating from his
predecessors or contemporaries, there is an element of
#
intentionality.

21
The concept of the dominant presupposes a systematic
deviation* In the words of Mukarovsky, *The systematic
foregrounding of components in a work of poetry consists in
the gradation of the interrelationships of these components,
that is, in their mutual subordination and superordination*
The component highest in the hierarchy becomes the dominant*
< Mukarovsky,pp.17-30 >. This can be taken as a step forward
from the differential relationships of the Saussurean
concept * And Deconstructionist critics may accuse it as
logocentrism, especially when Mukarovsky asserts that * The

distortion of the norm of the standard is , however, of the

very essence of poetry* (ibid >* I do not accept this


assertion although I consider the concept of the dominant
very powerful in characterizing literary language* I think 1
have made it clear that it is not the distortion but the
dialectic relationship or dynamic tension that constitutes
what is literary in language* And as for the dominant, I
think Mukarovsky has privileged it in value terms when he
states: *A11 other components, foregrounded or not, as well
as their interrelationships, are evaluated from the
standpoint of . the dominant. The dominant is that
component of the work which sets in motion, and gives
direction to, the relationships of all other components1 (
ibid ). The background and the foreground, as well as the
norm and the deviant are equally important because they
interact to produce an aesthetic perspective* To evaluate
everything from the standpoint of the dominant is to upset
«
the interrelationships which are held in a kind of dialectic

22
balance* Let me put it in this way: if we take the norm in
the background as the thesis and the deviant in the
foreground as the antithesis, the privilege of the dominant
will destroy the dynamic tension and simultaneously turn
the dominant into a kind of synthesis which constitutes as
the 'super* norm at the same time, so that the deviant is
'automatized* in the very process of privileging it*
Diachronically, the deviant of a period may constitute the
norm of another period as a point of deviation* But for the
deviant to be 'automatized* synchronically within a work of
literature will offset its *1iterariness; € To me, the
gradation of the dominant is a structuring principle which
aesthetically organizes our perspective* The dominant can
help focus a hierarchical structure of interrelationships,
but this hierarchy has to be seen in spatial and temporal
terms. So by systematic deviation, I mean how the deviant
and the norm are syntagmatically and diachronically related*
It is these dialectic relationships which constitute the
'literariness* in the language* And it is this dynamic
tension which may shift and renew our perspective in the
relationship between the sign and the concept. That is why
literature has such ever renewing and protean potential
which makes it generative of different interpretations*

I must emphasize that I consider the gradation of the


dominant as a structuring principle seen in spatial and
temporal terms not in value terms* Mukarovsky's privileging

23
of the dominant tends to upset the dynamic relation between
the norm and the deviant, and leads to a preoccupation with
the latter. Jakobson tried to shift the perspective by
structuring the message from deviation to a kind of

Convergence' of the poetic text. The poetic function, he


defined, ^projects the principle of equivalence from the
axis of selection into the axis of combination** However,
Jakobson still applied the gradation of the dominant in
value terms to make the poetic function predominate over all
others*These may result in stabilizing literary language and
differentiating it from non-literary one more in kind than
in degree. M.L. Pratt puts the point clearly;

The projection principle, if it is strictly interpreted,


places*the poetic function in rather special relation to all
other functions taken together. On the one hand, the poetic
function requires the participation of at least one other
function in order to give rise to a message at all. On the
other hand, without the participation of the poetic
function, the other functions or any combination of them
presumably, produce utterances in which the principle of
equivlalence remains in its * € usual** place, in the axis of
selection* The poetic function transforms this
conf igurat i on *
(Pratt, Toward a Speeph Act of LiteraryDiscourse»p,32)

24
The privileging of the poetic function gives rise to
the poetic/nonpoetic opposition and is resulting in a kind
of 'Poetic Language' fallacy. However, it is fair of Pratt
to. point out that Jakobson's methodology and that of the
Formalists work successfully within literature. She
acknowledges that f the projection principle and the ideas of
dominance and focus on the message can be profitably and
appropriately used to address the question **What makes a
verbal work of art a verbal work of art?" * although *they
cannot answer to the question Jakobson poses: **What makes a
verbal message a verbal work of art?3" *(Pratt,p.36> My
essay does not presume to pose such question. I have tried
to use some of the Formalists* ideas to characterize the
literary use of language* I do not privilege the dominant of
the deviant and of the poetic function* To me, the
relationship between literary arid non-literary language is
dialectical but not in opposition* So there are similarities
as well as differences between them. There is not only one
way of characterizing literary language although the
Formalist model I adopt and modify is basic to start with*
There is a point for Pratt to say that though the Prague
School regarded their theory as * functional* , they were
like Saussure, ^almost uniquely concerned with the function
of elements within the lingusitic system rather than with
the functions the language serves within the speech
community* (Pratt, p*7>. I consider these two kinds of
function not exclusive, although the Formalists emphasized
*
the first kind to the neglect of the second one. In

25
characterizing the literary use of language, I shall proceed

from the function of the first kind to those of the second.

I believe this is the right procedure as my focus is on the

use of language*

To extend the function as elements within the

lingusitic system to the functions the language serves

within the speech community is to treat literature as a

social discourse* Still, I do follow the Formalist

methodology in givi»g primacy to the function of the first

kind in critical procedure* But this function is related to

the wider language functions of the speech community, and so

the literary use of language must be explained with

reference to this larger perspective* We may view this

perspective as a background from which the use of literary

language is foregrounded. They are in a dialectical and

reciprocal relationship* To isolate the literary text as a

discrete object with its inherent formal properties and

rules is to upset this relationship. And the Formalists were

accused of doing this for their preoccupation with the

message and disregard of the social context in which

language is used* Roger Fowler finds Jakobson committing the

Objective Fallacy:

By separating out the six ^constitutive factors in any

speech event" and identifying the poetic function as

focussing on one of them—MESSAGE* i.e. overt linguistic

26
form or surface structure—Jakobson encourages neglect of
other factors—pragmatic, referential, metalingu1stic.... The
linguistic model on which it is based contains the elements
of a communication theory of language, accommodating as it
does referential and interpersonal aspects of language use:
they are simply given low attention when Jakobson
hierarchizes the factors to place MESSAGE at the top for the
^'poetic function".

(Fowler, Literature as Social Discourses* 187)

The focus on the message as the poetic function is more


prominent in some kind of literature but not all. Realist
writing may place more emphasis on the referential aspects
of language* Nevertheless, I do hold that the focus on the
message is an important starting point when the analysis of
the literary use of language is concerned* I consider it
basic and give it a procedural primacy* But I shall relate
the message to other factors and situate the poetic function
in the wider framework of the language functions* To do this
is to contextualize the message and analyse the literary use
of language as a kind of discourse*

Discourse , in short, is the ^speech participation and


9
attitudinal colouring imparted by the author** Every
utterance presupposes a speaker/1istener relationship* And
the relationship is special in literary discourse because
literature can be read at a far distance in time and place

27
from its origin and that the speaking I is not understood as

the author and the you is not always the listener*

Nevertheless, there is speech participation and the attitude

of the author can be identified in the literary use of

language, which also partakes of pragmatic and interpersonal

functions* Thus, by introducing the discourse elements, we

extend the poetic function of literary language proposed by

the Formalists* We believe that the poetic function and the

pragmatic as well as the interpersonal ones are not

exclusive to each other* Rather, they are usually found

together in literature, and it is their complementary

relationship that also characterizes the literary use of

language. I shall try to illustrate this integration in

chapter two, in practical analysis of literary texts*


CHAPTER TWO :
THE USE OF STYLE : A PRACTICAL ANALYSIS

The theoretic basis which we predicate to characterize


literary language points to the kind of stylistic analysis
we are going to formulate. The study of literature must
start from the very medium in which it is written. In the
systems of the Saussurean sign, literature belongs to a
*second-order* system which is based on the system of
language. It is , in short, a special use of language. And
this special use of language is formulated in the concept of
the dominant by the Russian Formalists* In this essay, I
have adapted some of the Formalist theories in
characterizing literary language, and it seems logical to
instance their practice , eg*, Jakobson's analysis of
Shakespeare's Sonnet cxxix, *Th*Expence of Spirit* (1970) as
a model of stylistic analysis* I have decided not to do so,
not because their analysis is irrelevant in the explication
of their concepts, but because of my reservations about
their practice.- Roger Fowler, in his Introduction to Style
and Structure in Literature, criticizes ;

The effect of Jakobsonian analysis seems to be the


transformation of the literary object into a quasi-spatial
structure, diagrammed by linguistic categories; a
construction
< apparently more complex than the original (but
not actually so ), and certainly lifeless in comparison with

29
the original.*.. The analysis is very distant from the
interpretation ; the poems become, paradoxically

,meaningless when exposed to a technique which is supposed


to reveal meaning.

There is a point in this criticism especially as far as


the effect of their analysis is concerned. It often gives
the impression that it is too complicated and mechanical.
That is why Fowler finds it ^lifeless*. And for our purpose,

ie. teaching English in Hong Kong, their analysis is too *


technical* to be attractive. But to be fair to Jakobson and
other Formalists, their analysis does not purport to reveal
meaning extrinsic of the form nor does it offer to prescribe
interpretation* It is essentially to show how different
linguistic components are structured to express the message
in literature* In other words, it tries to show what is
literary by examining how language works on the principle
that literature serves no other purposes except pointing to
its structure. As has been said , the focus on the
message constitutes the poetic function. This can lead to a
renewed perception of reality because by focusing on the
*act of expression* or in simple terms, the special use of
language, we are made aware of the system of signification
in which reality is articulated. However, in actual
analytical practices, the Formalists did not emphasize or
work out this potential perception. Instead, they

concentrated on the technical structuring of language in

30
IP
literature. That may explain why they were accused of

isolating the text to analyse it independent of the context


or reality. In formulating a stylistic analysis, I shall try
to develop this potential perception by situating the
message in the ^speech participation* between the addresser
and addressee, as well as relating the poetic function to
the wider language functions of society.

The Formalists and the Prague School have been also


generally criticized for their preoccupation with the
deviant and with innovation in literary language. It is
true that Jakobson in response to this criticism has
accommodated in his later work, a different Empirical
linguistic criterion1 to structure the message in the
^convergence* or ^equivalence* rather than the deviation of
the poetic text. However both the concept of deviation of
the Prague School and Jakobson*s principle of equivalence
function to focus our attention on the linguistic message,
the act of utterance. Style then is a self-referenee, a kind
of reflexive use of language. This concept of style is
essential*to literary stylistics,as the medium should be the
starting point and the focus of any analysis. Our stylistic
analysis will be based on but proceed from this frame of
reference. We find that both deviation and equivalence have
to be analysed diachronically and synchronically. Deviation
aifd equivalence are seen as much as a choice as a constraint
in the total options available in the syntactic, semantic,
phonological, and pragmatic systems. The first three systems

31
cover the range of structural and grammatical possibilities
while the fourth refers to the context in which the choice
is made. This takes account of the audience, topic, genre
and the attitude of the author* So our study of style
involves historical perspective, social decorum, formal
restrictions, as well as interpersonal functions. It is the
combination of these aspects which constitutes the style of
1i terary language *

Every use of a language presupposes a choice, and each

choice is affected by the purpose of the use of a language*


According to Randolph Quirk, *every particular use of
English is to some extent reflected in and determines the
form of the language that is used for that particular
purpose* (Quirk, p*2t ^Practical use of ordinary language
subordinates the choice for effective communication. So
following the rules of grammar as far as possible can be the
basic condition for such purpose. The question of choice is
then comparatively less problematic and the form of the
language may be less varied* On the other hand, literary
language can draw on anything from the common core of
language irrespective of the context, and it is not often
made to serve extrinsic purposes, so it can be less uniform*
The question of choice becomes more significant: it is the
choice which characterizes literary language. Style in the
use of literary language is decisive; it is a matter of

decision, and StylistIcs is the study of choice.

32
Choice involves volition, it is a conscious act of the

expression of freedom from constraints. The tension between

freedom and constraint underlying all linguistic performance

is greater and more dynamic in the literary use of language.

And this intensity is expressed in T.S. Eliot's * Burnt


Norton*:

Words strain.
Crack and sometimes bred, under the burden.

Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,


Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,

Will not stay still.

Since literature is a written record of the use of

literary language in the past, a historical perspective is

essential. Literary traditions constitute a normative

background of constraints from which the expression of

freedom is foregrounded. But not every act of expression is

a break from the past for freedom. Coleridge deliberately

employed obsolete forms to *estrange* his work:

He holds him with his skinny hand,

*There was a ship,' quoth he,

'Hold offt unhand me, grey-beard loon!'


Eftsoons his hand dropt he.

C S. T. Coleridge, *The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'I)

The archaic forms give a 'period* feeling which generates a


*
tension in the contemporary perception brought about by the

33
linguistic signification. These forms defa.iliarize the
world of reality to capture a supernatural mysterious
experience. To share this experience, the reader has to
readjust the conventional relationships between the sign and
the concept, hence a renewed perpection may be brought
about. Sometimes, the use of an archaic word in a * modern'
sentence can point to an attempt to generate a sense of
timelessness:

From a dark courtyard came a soend of oaths and blows,


followed by shrill screams, and , huddled upon a damp door-
step, he saw the crooked-back forms of poverty and eld.

(Oscar Wilde, Lord Arthur Savtie's Crime,


ch,.2)

With changes in language, what is normal in a period


may become archaic In another. The noun *wind* was
pronouned like the verb *wind* in Shakespeare's times:

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,


Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude
(As You Like It II, vii)

It became archaic when Shelley used it to address the Wind:

O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
(*Ode to the West Wind')
*

The deliberate archaism of Shelley is not only justified by

34
the fact that it is used within the context of an

apostrophe, it also may evoke echoes in meaning of the


winter wind in Shakespeare. And the tension is felt in
Shelley*s extension of the connotation of the wind to
include its generative function in its destructive power.

Choices in the literary use of language are not made at


random. Coleridge has defined in his Table Talk that prose
t
is words in their best order; poetry , the best words in
the best order1* Whether it is the best or not has to be
assessed by its effects and the effects have to be seen in
comparison* Stylistics is a comparative study of the
effects of the choice made in the literary use of language*
ft diachronic perspective will furnish the background from
which we locate traces of deviation, and a synchronic study
will help us to evaluate the effects* This can be most
simply studied in items of lexical choice , and the pronoun
*thou* may serve as an example* The *thou* as second person
singular in subjective case was opposed to *you* as second
person plural in objective case in an earlier state of the
language. In modern English, *thou* became archaic and *you*
is used in both singular and plural subjective as well as
objective cases* A synchronic analysis will yield the
effects of *thou* in Twelfth Night; *Taunt him with the
licence of ink: if thou thou'st him some thrice, it shall
not be amiss*. Here, Sir Toby uses *thou* appropriately to

address his friend of the same social level, Sir Andrew. But
it becomes insulting when it is used to a mere acquaintance*

35
The insult is foregrounded not only through repetition

('thrice'); the effect is made more urgent and immediate

when the pronoun is inflected to a verb* The clash of

contexts in which the 'thou* is used creates a tension which

way unsettle our conceptualization of language. A similiar

effect can be found when Edward Coke prosecuted Ralegh for

treason: *A11 that he did was at thy instigation, for I thou


thee, thou traitor 1 *'

A comparative study of *thou* and *you* will illustrate

how language is consciously used in literature to create a

certain effect which is to be interpreted as meaning* In

Shakespeare's Othello, lago is addressed by all his seniors


t
as *thou* j and he addresses them as you t ; Othello endears

Cassio with *you' f but it is changed to *thou* on his

dismissal: *Cassio, I love thee, But nevermore be officer of

mine* (II* iii). Othello addresses his father-in-law as

*you*, but he is snubbed with tthou* in return. Othello and

Desdemona address each other with ^you^* But Othello

switches to *thou* at moments of great affection and of


12-
violent anger* The nuances of meaning reflect that the

choice is deliberate and decisive* The interplay of *you*

and *thou' highlights the style of literary language*

Diachronic study of *thou* and *you* registers the

change in the relation between literature and language*

/Thou* has become a literary convention and *you* a norm in

the langue. But as a literary convention, the *thou* was

36
used differently. Shakespeare used it in his sonnets to

convey affection for the beloved; here it communicates

intimacy. However, in Romantic poetry, it suggests distance:

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!

No hungry generations tread thee down

CKeats, Ode to a Nightingale*>, and

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,

Thou foster-child of silence and slow time

( Ode to the Grecian Urn ), and

What thou art we know not;

What is most like thee?

CShelley, To a Skylark)

The *thou* here belongs to the poetic mode of apostrophe, it

functions to set these apart from the ordinary discourse.

Within the poems, it serves to estrange the relation between

the addresser and the addressee* In this case, the use of

*thou* points to the alienation of the poet from the world

and nature, it may suggests the failure of poetic

imagination in unifying the object with the subject. The

arachic *thou* is chosen to register the relationship

between the addresser and the addressee. And this

relationship creates the ^speech participation* between the

poet and the reader.

Beyond lexical choice, decisions about prosodic

37
features can also be seen as stylistic markers. The act of

putting words into a certain pattern implies a decision. And


these patterns are more obvious and condensed in the genre

of poetry, which may consist in rhyme, alliteration, meter

and stanzaic form* The use of rhyme does not necessarily

make a stanza of lines poetic* The deliberate rhyming

jingles of advertisements are no poetry* But as a literary

convention, the function of rhyme is more than mnemonic or


ornamental* The rhyme scheme in Shakespearean Sonnets is a

structuring principle*The abab cdcd efef gg pattern is made

up of three quatrains and a couplet* In Sonnet 73, *That

Time of Year* ; for example, each quatrain consists of one

sentence and each sentence contains one metaphor* Each

metaphor is predicated by verbs of percept ion:*mayst


t
behold j. seest*^ and *seest>^The sequence of the metaphors

from wintry cold, twilight to the death-bed leads to a

perception, ie* the increase of affection in the awareness

of its preciousness, expressed in the concluding couplet:

This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,

To love tliat well which thou must leave ere long.

The rhyme scheme creates expectations and constraints, which

constitute a kind of challenge to the poet* In this sonnet,

we can see that Shakespeare has created poetry not by

breaking any norm, but by mastering the constraints to

ingeniously fulfil our expectations: the form serves to


13
express the meaning*.

38
Rhyme is obligatory only in some poetic form> still it
14
is used to special effects in many occasions:

Lear* * *

Thy banish'd trunk be found in our diminions,


The moment is thy death* Away! by Jupiter,
This shall not be revoked*
Kent. Fare thee well, King. Sith thus
thou wilt appear,

Freedom lives hence, and banishment is here*


(Shakespeare, King Lear)

The rhymed couplet is foregrounded in the backdrop of blank


verse. The tension derived from the contrast lays emphasis
on the words of Kent* The meaning is highlighted by the
form. And in a contemporary poem:

The price seemed reasonable, location


Indifferent. The landlady swore she lived
Off premises* Nothing remained
But self-confession* €Madam,* I warned,
*I hate a wasted journey—I am African**
Silence* Silenced transmission of
Pressurized good-breeding. Voice, When it came,
Lipstick coated, long gold-rolled
Cigarette-holder pipped* Caught I was, foully*
*How Dark?1 ...I had not misheard *ARE YOU

LIGHT

OR VERY DARK ?*
(Wole Soyinka, Telephone Conversation)

39
The stanza is spoken naturally as a conversation. What makes

it poetic is the use of internal rhyme and assonance. They

fall within important words to reinforce the meaning in a

series of ideas connecting 'reasonable'/ 'Indifferent*

'self-confession' with 'African* „ Notice also the deliberate

run-on lines to foreground the indifferent* and

'confession* * In fact, the poem is full of these run-on

lines, which are patterned to give emphasis to signicant

ideas* The syntactic pauses vary a lot between line-endings

and points within the lines creating a tension which

threatens to break the constraints of stanzaic form*

Tension can also be created in the deliberate mixing of

registers within a text* As we have mentioned that

literature can draw on anything from the common core of

langue, the incorporating of different registers at

different levels are not only often found, they are

consciously manipulated to produce a desired effect:

Today we have naming of parts* Japonica

Glistens like coral in all of the neighbouring gardens,

And'today we have naming of parts*.**

And this you can see is the bolt* The purpose of this

Is to open the breech, as you see* We can slide it

Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this

Easing the spring* And rapidly backwards and forwards

The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:

They call it easing the Spring.

(Henry Reed, Naming of Parts)

40
Here the technical jargons of teaching manuals are adapted

to heighten the literary use of language. A contrast is

created between the destructiveness of the weapon and the


productiveness of the bees. The syntactical arrangement
helps focus on these act ions,so that we have the verbs
and adverbs on the foreground. Repetition of these
facilitates and reinforces the movement. All these

components are structured at different levels to produce a


tension which draws our attention to the difference between
*easing the spring* and ^easing the Spring1,

Mixing of registers was considered a breach of decorum


in prescriptivism in classical literary theory* Besides in
the genre of poetry , we find mixing of registers common and
even essential to drama and the novel* Shakespeare
incorporated the prattling tongue of comic and *low*
characters in his serious tragedies and histories* And
interestingly , the rascal good-for-nothing Falstaff can ape
euphuistically in comic simulation of kingly language to

moralize:

Harry, I do not only marvel where thou spendest thy time,


but also how thou art accompanied;for though the camomile,
the more it is trodden on, the faster it grows, yet youth,
the more it is wasted, the sooner it wears*
<* Henry IV, II, iv)

And in the novel, mixing of registers is subtly

41
embedded in the narrative. In Dickens' s Great Expectations^

the adult, ironical narrative voice is in contrast to the

child's register of the innocent Pip* And in a more subtle

case, the registers in the narrative reveal the character:

He returned to Mercedes and , as he brooded upon her image,

a strange unrest crept into his blood. Sometimes a fever

gathered within him and led h i m to rove alone in the evening

along the quiet avenue. The peace of the gardens and the

kindly lights in the windows poured a tender influence into

his restless heart ---- They would meet quiety as if they had

known each other and had made their tryst, perhaps at one of

the gates or in some more secret place* They would be alone,

surrounded by darkness and silence: and in that moment of

supreme tenderness he would be transfigured.

( J.Joyce, ft Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,ch*2)

On a superficial level, it reminds us of Lawrence's

description of Paul in gons and Lovers* Here, for internal

contrast, Joyce is deliberately using some ^falsely elevated

language* from the kind of * cheap romantic fiction* to

describe an adolescent growing towards maturity*

Mixing of genres is also common in literature* In the

play Julius Caesar, the two most famous speeches of Brutus

Antony were rendered in prose and in verse respectively

to different effects* In Joyce's Ulysses, the central

42
character is presented on different levels:in dramatic form

which serves to envision the fantasy world of the

subconscious; and in varieties of prose narrative form to


depict the mundane world of *real* life.

Literary conventions and decorums such as genres,

registers and other formal components may constitute a

framework in which the use of literary language to certain

effect is characterized. It is clear that they are not

absolute, or definite or unchanged* Just as it is difficult

to fix the deviation, it is also hard to fix the norm. The

two must be seen in relation to each other and stylistic

effects of the literary use of language have to be analysed

in this dynamic relationship* If style is a matter of

decision, the decision embodied in a writer's works not only

reflects his personal style , but also registers its

relationship with the literary conventions and traditions*

Stylistic analysis describes and evaluates the choice of an

individual writer to certain effect in the light of the

literary conventions and traditions* If we apply Saussure's

linguistic terms to literature, literary conventions and

traditions may be compared to langue and individual style to

parole* And their relationship, as it has been said, can

usually be dialectical,as well as reciprocal*

To analyse individual style, Saussure's distinction

43
between syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships is
helpful. The choice of a particular word or morpheme can be

considered the smallest stylistic indicator. Wordsworth's

Preface to The Lyrical Ballads is essentially a refutation


of the poetic diction of the neo-Classical choice. And
although novel combinations of morphemes and neologisms are
found to highlight the literary use of language, they cannot
be taken in isolation. A stanza of poetic diction is not
necessarily poetry; a collection of neologisms is not

literature. The effects of the choice of words must be


analysed in both syntagaatic and paradigmatic relations for
in the use of literary language, syntax becomes more
conscious and deliberate. The ordering of words in a
sentence is basic to foregrounding.

Syntagmatic deviation can be detected and found more


easily and many of its realizations are not ungrammatical*
The catchy line of Keats* 'Tender is the night* sharpens our
sensitivity because it is inverted. And an ungrammatical
deviant syntax is illustrated in curamings's Me up at does:

Me up at does
out of the floor
quiet Stare
a poisoned mouse
still who alive
*
is asking What
have i done that
You wouldn't have

44
In this poem, the prepositional object in the line "Me up

at' is inverted. The auxiliary 'does* that followed is

displaced. And adverbial inversion is found in 'still who


alive\ They are ungrammatical yet interpretable* The syntax
is deliberately deformed to foreground the confusion of the

speaker. The appearance of the subject is mid-grounded to


create suspense in the first three lines and irony in those
that follow*

Foregrounding need not be ungrammatical or deviant*


More than usual orderliness may be as conspicuous as less
than usual orderliness. The effect of Brutus's
justification for the murder of Caesar is built up in a
parallel . structure:

As caesar loved me, I weep for him ; as he was


fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honor him.
But as he was ambitious, I slew him* There is tears for his
love, joy for his fortune, honor for his valor, and death

for his ambition.


(Shakespeare «^Tul ius Caesar« III * i i, 23-29)

Here the parallel structure is building up to a concluding


climax with emphasis, balance and clarity of idea
organization. Notice the regular rhythm up to *I honour
him'* The emphatic 'But' arrests the flow of rhythm to

create a suspense which serves to foreground the logical


concluding climax: 'I slew him'* The short stressed

45
syllables of this line also help create emphasis. The same
idea is repeated in the parallel structure, which is made up
of two clauses. The adverb clause of reason with the main
clause which emphasizes the verb is followed by the noun
clause in apposition. The adjectives in the first clause
correspond to the nouns in the second: * fortunate' to
'fortune1, 'valiant* to 'valour1, and 'ambitious* to
'ambition*. And the verbs are related to the nouns in these
two clauses: 'weep* to 'tears'> 'rejoice* to 'joy'^ 'honour*
to 'honour1 , and 'slew* to 'death*. The connectives 'as* and
'for* function to structure the sentences and to construct
the reasoning. The conclusion, ie. the killing of Caesar, is

made logical and justifiable when it is introduced after


Caesar is praised. Repetition in structural variation helps
foregrounding* It is also interesting to monitor the
responses of the mob to Brutus's persuasion and Anthony's
rebuttal* The addresser/addressee relationships here

constitute a good example for speech act analysis (see

Appendix 3).

The effect of foregrounding can be more striking when


the repeated syntax is deviated and seen in a longer

cohes i ve sequence:

Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among


green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls
defiled .*.. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish
heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs;

46
fog lying out on the yards...; fog drooping on the ....Fog

in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners*..;

fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers

The raw afternoon is rawest, and the dense fog is densest,

and the muddy streets are muddiest And hard by Temple

Bar, in Lincoln's Inn Hall, at the very heart of the fog,

sits the Lord High Chancellor in his High court of


Chancery*
(Charles Dickens, Bleak House» Ch. 1)

The shapelessness and pervasiveness of the fog is dramatized

and foregrounded by the verbless noun phrases, which

constitute the main syntactic units of the text* The

connections between these noun phrases are then

*associative* nottlogical - the reader's eye seems to move

from one disconnected scene to another, catching only


. I*
glimpses of what lies within the fog ^ But the embedding

of these disconnected scenes is not at random, and there is

logic in the *associative* syntactic units* Apparently

disconnected, the scenes in which the fog pervades

paradoxically uncover the bleak plight of the common people

and their living environment* We follow the fog to where it

is densest, to the very heart of the fog. A logical

connection is expressed in the contrast between the inverted

syntax of the last paragraph and the verbless syntax of the

previous ones* In the last sentence, the three adverbials of

place show definite direction* The finite verb *sits* is

47
foregrounded in the inversion of subject and predicate to

create irony and satire. This verb *sits* in a most

prominent position ironically conveys action or inaction of

1istlessness, carelessness and indifference. The

presentation of the Chancellor is structured in syntactic

suspense and in end-focus. The tension derived from the

deviant and the inverted syntax creates an expectation

which is fulfiled only at the end. The effects of the

deliberate and systematic order of words suggest a logical

connection between the Chancellor and the bleak plight of

the people: it is the Chancellor who is held responsible for

their plight* Thus through systematic deviation and cohesive

syntactic patterning, the author's attitude is coloured. The

structure is semantically significant, and stylistic

analysis can lead to interpretation.

Stylistic effects can be analysed in paradigmatic

relations. The use of literary language is marked by a large

number of unusual collocations. Tension is produced between

the expected and the unexpected and hence our usual

conceptualization of language will be questioned and a

fresh perception of reality may be brought. Unusual

collocations are more noticeable in poetry and there are


f
many in Dylan Thomas's verse: a grief ago,* *once below a

time,* Chappy as the heart was long,* *all the sun long,*

*Mt was Adam and maiden** These collocations of paradigmatic

deviance break selection rules but they cannot be considered

48
ungrammatical. They serve to upset our regular linguistic

expectation and heighten the intensity of meaning. There are

other examples of violation of selection rules:

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window panes,

The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window panes
(Eliot
* The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock)

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one:

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods:

For nothing now can ever come to any good*

(ftuden,Two songs for Hedli ftnderson)

The first example gives animacy to inanimate nouns so that

the fog and smoke are given animacy in dramatization* The

second one turns things like the moon, the sun and the ocean

into disposable objects* Both examples make the verbs clash

with the nouns* Tension is created when we situate these

clashes in the usual conventional paradigmatic relations*

The effects are quite estranging. The fog and smoke in the

first song are presented in a kind of caricature giving a

humorous and amusing impression to the reader* Notice the

funny animated attributes of the fog and smoke are seen

from Prufrock's point of view, which reflects his state of

mind* But the humour, which is to some extent satirical

here, is created by the poet, and in sharing this, we enter

into the ^speech participation* or a kind of discourse with

him indirectly through and at the expense of Prufrock* The


second song is expressed in hyperbole bursting forth a

violent fit of emotions on the part of the speaker. Whether

his love is sincere or not, we nevertheless feel the violent

emotional impact. The paradigmatic deviance has a kind of

distancing effect in the choice of language no matter if it

is achieved through exaggeration, personification or

distortion* The meaning is heightened in transference*

Generally speaking, it is a metaphorical use of language. In

linguistic terms, syntactic and lexical restraints

constitute a normative background from which language

deviates syntagmatically and paradigmatically* And Randolph

Quirk expresses it more clearly:

A metaphor involves simultaneously a paradigmatic relation

betwen the literal element it replaces and the figurative

one it introduces, and a syntagmatic relation between the

literal and metaphorical elements in the linguistic

environment.
(Minnis, p.308)

The metaphorical use of language is not confined to

literature* What makes the language literary can be the

tension between the literal and figurative elements in both

the paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations* The systematic*

consistent,reflexive and novel use of metaphor can create

this tension* And the tension can be embodied in the

narrative discourse* In Katherine Mansfield's short story

The Vovaae* the narrative begins on a literal level: *The

Picton boat was due to leave at half past eleven. It was a

beautiful night, mild, starry.**** But when Fenella appears,

50
the narrative switches to a figurative perspective:*Here and

there on a rounded wood-pile, that was like the stalk of a

huge black mushroom, there hung a lantern, but it seemed

afraid to unfurl its t i m i d , quivering light in all that

blackness; it burned softly, as if for itself*' The

metaphorical use of language here conveys a sense of

strangeness seen from Fenella's impression. The words

^seemed* and *as if* colour the modality of the narrator,

who enters into the mind of the character to describe this

impression* Things are defamiliarized and people are

presented as unintelligible figures:

Men, their caps pulled down their collars turned up, swung

by; a few women all muffled scurried along; and one tiny

boy*.* he looked like a baby fly that had fallen into the
cream*

A shilling! She must be going away for ever!.***A huge coil

of dark rope went flying through the air**.*Silently the

dark wharf began to slip, to slide, to edge away from them*

Dark figures of men lounged against the rails* In the glow

of their pipes a nose shone out, or the peak of a cap* or a

pair of surprised-looking eyebrows„

F^nella hardly ever saw her grandma with her head uncovered;

she looked strange*

51
In these examples, the narrative helps defami 1iarize the

world seen from Fenella's point of v i e w . And this world

reflects the kind of uncertainty and insecurity she feels.

These feelings are filtered through the free indirect

discourse, which fuses the narrators and character^ v iewpo int

and colours the author's attitude towards Fenella and other

characters, especially the father. The narrative style

strikes the reader's attention through deviation and

defamiliarization so that he may compare the literary use of

language here with ordinary use of language for

communication. This in turn may create a tension between the

different use of language resulting in our awareness of the

system of language signification in which reality is

articulated. A renewed perception of reality can be brought

about *

Stylistic study describes and analyses the effects of

the tension in the dialectical relationship between the norm

and the deviant. But in analysing these effects, the reader

has to be taken into account. The very condition for a work

to become literature is to have people who read it and

evaluate its effects. The role of the reader is hard to

define, but it cannot be bypassed. In chapter three, I shall

try to situate stylistic analysis of literary language in

teaching institutions and evaluate its pedagogical

implications.

52
CHAPTER THREE ;

TEACHING LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE

Before discussing the pedagogical implications of the

stylistic analysis of literary language, I would like to

outline the situations and problems in English teaching in

Hong Kong* This outline is based very much on my

observations and experience as an English teacher for the

past eight years. I shall restrict my reference to the

teaching of language and literature in senior secondary

levels from the fourth form to the seventh. The reason for

such a reference is that it is these levels in which my

teaching has been mostly involved. Another reason is that I

consider the fourth form to be the threshold for stylistic

analysis of literary language. I have tried it with a level

lower, but the result was not very satisfactory.

Insufficient linguistic competence is the main cause* The

Junior Secondary Education Assessment,which takes account of

the performances in one external examination and two

internal exam mat ions, can also be one of the causes as the

students have to cope with all these important examinations.

The outline applies to Anglo-Chinese schools, which amount

to over ninety percent of all secondary* schools in Hong

Kong* English is used as a medium of instruction in these

schools, but my essay does not address bilingual ism in

language education. It covers English Language and English


i
Literature which are taught in the curriculum as subjects of

53
study. Notice that English Language in the Advanced level is

called Use of English and it is considered the University

entrance requirement. The plan to make English Language as

an A-Level subject is now pending for implementation.

Within the levels of reference, there are two external

examinations: the School Certificate Examination to be taken

at the end of the fifth form and the A-Level Examination at

the end of the seventh. Students will be streamed into

either arts or science class starting from form

four.English language is meant for all students, whereas

EngTish Literature is only offered to arts students. And

this subject has become a minority one: the number of

candidates is not only small compared with that of other

subjects, it is also dropping especially in the A-Level. I

shall try to examine the causes for such situations* It is to

a certain extent related to both the contents and the ways

English Language is taught. So I shall begin by looking at

the situations and problems of the teaching of English

Language first* For convenience, I shall use the term

English to mean English Language and where there are no

other specifications, Literature is meant to be English

Literature.

The teaching of English as a second language occupies a

54
very important position in the school curriculum. Not only
is U the
only 1 compulsory* subject, the class time
allocated amounts to an average of twenty percent of the
18
whole school timetable* According to the Education
Department, the principal objective of the English language

curriculum in the schools of Hong Kong *is to provide every


pupil with the opportunity to develop the maximum degree of
functional competence in English... in those domains of use
which are specially appropriate to the Hong Kong
situation* (Syllabuses for Secondary School: Enol ish. 1982 ,

p*5KThe domains of use include: English as a valuable asset


in the working life; English as the key to communication
with the world outside Hong Kong; English as one of the
languages of government and officialdom; English as medium
of pleasure and entertainment; English as the medium of
communication with other inhabitants of Hong Kong and
Englsih as a tool for study < Syllabuses, pp. 5-7)*

To realize these objectives, a 'Communicative Approach1


was advocated by the Syllabuses* The main principles of this
approach according to the franters of the Syllabuses can be

summarised as follows:

1, The needs and interests of the learner should be of

central concern*
2. Authentic rather than artificial English should be
used*
3* The learner should be involved in genuine acts of

55
purposeful communication,

4. Equal emphasis should be placed on English as a

medium of communication as on the formal


linguistic system of English.

(Syllabuses, pp. 9-16)

These principles are sensible, for at least the new

Approach has reduced some of the drawbacks of the

traditional and the structural approaches, which rest on the

false assumption that 'the learner, having ^mastered1* the


formal elements of the target language in one way or

another, will be able to apply these for communicative


purposes in real situations of language use* (Syllabuses,

p.16)* But when these principles are put into classroom

practice, not only are they open to different

interpretations, they are affected by the nature of the


15
communicative contents and the examinations*

First of all, the interests and needs of the learner

are generally taken to be the utilitarian consideration of

passing the examinations, and for some with flying colours.

There is nothing wrong with this end if examinations are

treated as an objective testing measurement. But the trouble

is that in many cases both teachers and learners tend to

substitute testing for learning. This is understandable,for


the undue importance attached to examination results has

shaped the teaching materials and conditioned the


20
learning/teaching habits to a great extent.

56
Most textbooks are functional especially for
examinations; they are designed and compiled to familiarize

students with the varied examination rubrics and formats*


Even the set texts with their workbooks and listening kits
have serious limitations* Despite their comprehensiveness,
they are merely presentations of different language items
required by the examinations for testing purposes* Those
model test paper series do even more harm than good to both
teachers and students; they usurp the chance for genuine
communication by substituting testing for learning and
teaching* thus giving users a wrong idea of what language
learning is* Students become addicted to them because they
provide something solid such as multiple choice language
items, cliched phrases and expressions for them to learn by

rote for regurgitation. The Examinations Authority's warning


to candidates not to reproduce set sentences or paragraphs
in the examination on composition writing testifies to the
prevalence of this habit.

As for teachers, many of them find these ready-made


units tailored to examinations convenient and ^practical*;
it saves them the trouble of designing materials for their
students* And in many cases, it is hard for these ^homemade*
materials to compete with those *manufactured* ones on the
market. Most students place more trust on the latter because
they are closer to examination questicms*So even if some
teachers do not use them in class, students will buy them
for their own use* Since students prefer testing drills in

57
lessons to authentic learning, teaching something beyond the
syllabus is in many cases unwelcome and even unacceptable.In
this way, language learning lessons can become a kind of

answer guessing and checking routine.. This may explain why


tutorial centres have become increasingly popular with
students. Their business-like examination-effective packages
reduce language to a handy 'commodity* on sale on the
education t market** Their popularity and commercial success
reinforce in the minds of students that language learning is
a matter of passing the examinination by taking a certain
shortcut money-back guaranteed course*

Under such circumstances, genuine acts of communication


are hard to generate in the classroom* What do we expect
students to communicate? What should we teachers
communicate? Let us take a closer look at the course books
besides those 'supplementary* model test paper series we
have just discussed. The most popular course books for the
fourth and the fifth forms are Integrated English published
by the Longman Press and ffew Access of the Oxford University
Press. Both books claim to follow the guidelines of the
Syllabuses for Secondary Schools* I choose Integrated
English Book 4 to analyse since our school has been using
it for six years. And according to a spokesman from Longman
Press, over fifty percent of schools in Hong Kong are using
it for the fourth form* The book is divided into units

and each unit consists of a passage with comprehension

58
questions; a Language Review section in which grammar is

taught and other items* The passages seem to have been

selected at random; they are not stylistically sampled. Nor


are they grammatically related to the structures that are
taught in the Language Review Section. They are at best used
for comprehension drills. The language in these passages is
to a certain extent not authentic. It is stylistically
uniform , written with a controlled vocabulary for *easy*
reading. Some dialogues and interviews are included, but not
even one of them is authentic speech in written form. Very
few passages are extracted from authentic sources of
different styles, registers, or types such as expository,
narrative or argumentative writing. So they limit students*
exposure and fail to motivate them to read and discuss them*
They are uninteresting teaching materials which are not much
use for communication in the classroom* Very often, the only
interaction occasioned by these passages between the teacher
and the student is in checking and answering comprehension

questions.

The Language Review Section teaches grammar and


structures with inadequate context* Rules of grammar are
explained but illustrated in single sentences* Exercises and

drills that follow, as well as those in the Work Book, do


not encourage genuine acts of communication < See Appendix
2). The questions or drills are artificial, they are not

related to students* experience* So following the examples

59
or formulas given, students can reproduce meaningless or
uncontextualized but grammatical sentences. They are not
motivated to apply what they have learned to express
themselves with a purpose.

These teaching contents taught in General English


lessons do not provide much chance for the teacher and
student to communicate in using English realistically. The
kind of English found here can be characterized as
*textbook* languagej taught especially for examinations*
Long and singular exposure to this kind of language will
mould students* predilection while the mechanism of testing
and drilling conditions their response. That may explain why
many students,who started to study Literature only in form
four, told me the kind of language they found in Literature
is different* Also they found it difficult especially in the
first term, but after that most of them said that in talking
about Literature, they were really using language to express
themselves which they had seldom done before. But for those
who do not choose Literature, it is more difficult to

encourage them to read even a modern unabridged short


story although they have the language competence to do so*

This may lead us to postulate that the kind of English they


are exposed to and the exercises they have been doing might
<
not be congenial to the study of Literature. Of course, I am
not so crazy as to demand that English should be taught to
prepare students to read Literature. What I found from my

60
teaching experience and from consultation with other more

experienced teachers is that an average form five graduate


is ill-equipped in language competence for either further
study or for work. It is these problems which the
implications of the stylistic analysis of literary language
address.

Most teachers and students w i l l experience a gap in


English teaching between form five and form six. There is a
good reason to call the A-Level language * Use of English*
because students have to actually put language to use as a
tool for study* The teaching contents aim to train them to
listen to lectures; take notes; read and adapt reference
materials; discuss and present the knowledge of the subjects
they study. It is obvious that the kind of language and the
habitual attitude to it they acquired in the fourth and
fifth forms are inadequate and to some extent unrelated to
what they have to do in forms six and seven* Many teachers
of the sixth form often hear their students complain that
they cannot take down the main points in lectures. And in
reading references, they confess that they do understand
each word but they cannot make sense of the whole paragraph
or grasp the gist of the chapter* In writing , they have
difficulties in expressing their attitudes and opinions; in
analysing the causes and consequences of a historical event;
in explaining the demand and supply theory; in formulating a
t
physical change or a chemical reaction, etc.

61
In the world of work, the gap may be wider. The kind of
training most fifth form graduates and many seventh formers
received does not give them either competence or
w
confidence. They seem to be at a loss beyond the classroom
or examination context. Most of them have to start learning
how to use language in relation to their work, although the
language foundation they have built up helps them to some
extent. The popularity of language institutes, extra-mural
courses and adult evening courses may point to the problems
of their previous training* My experience in teaching one of
these courses taught me that students came not just to
learn business language or language related to their work.
They wanted to consolidate their language foundation and to
learn how to put what they had previously acquired to
practical use. And those whose work does not require the use
of language will probably not read or listen to or write
anything in English* The time, efforts and money they spend
on learning English to some extent do not pay* This kind of
English education does not extend beyond schooling, let
alone for life I A stylistic approach to the study of

language may help here*

The teaching of Readers is supposed to develop


students* interest and habit in reading English. And many
good Readers can provide communicative contents in the

cLassroom and beyond it if they are meaningfully approached*


But the situation is not encouraging* Despite the fact that

story books are put on the syllabus and that one or two

62
periods are allocated in the timetable for them, they have

often been either neglected or treated lightly or

inadequately by both teachers and students* Many teachers

have admitted that they really do not know how to use

Readers in class.As a result, during the lessons, many just

read and explain a few sentences or difficult words and ask

some students to read and check the questions attached to

most Readers. Many of these questions are factual ones on

the story-event level asking WHAT instead of WHY and HOW.

And as a follow-up exercise, students are asked to write a

book report, but many just retell the story without any

personal opinions or interpretations* There are many

training courses or seminars for teachers on how to teach

English in terms of grammar and structures, but as to the

course on the teaching of Readers the need is urgently felt

(Refer to Appendix 3 ) *

In short, negligence or wrong approaches not only kill

students' reading interest but also deprive them of the

chance for genuine acts of communication* Moreover, it

breeds in them a misconception of the study of Literature*

This partly explainswhy many students have the misconception

that Literature is not only difficult but uninteresting*

They have not the chance to be exposed to Literature in an

^authentic* encounter* It is also one of the reasons why

the number of Literature students has been dropping*

63
Having outlined the situations and problems, we may

then ask how the stylistic analysis of literary language is

related to English teaching in Hong Kong. I shall try to

examine the relations with language teaching first because


these seem less obvious*

We have in chapter one proposed that literature may

serve as a paradigm for the study of language* This is

because one of the essential characteristics of the literary

use of language is its reflexiveness* By drawing our

attention to the message as a self-reference, it makes us

aware of the linguistic signification which depends on the

conventional relationship between the sound/graphic image

and the concept,i*e*, the signifier and the signified*

Stylistic analysis of this conscious and reflexive use of

language affirms as well as unsettles this relationship

because any breaking of the convention has to be seen and

understood on the basis of the convention*This has important

implications for the study of language because it rectifies

our misconception of language as something given and fixed*

In the context where English is taught as a second language,

the misconception is more serious* Most students study

English as factual and concrete data by rote learning. They

like to memorize idioms, set phrases and cliches and put

them in their writing irrespective of style and

appropriateness* They are not actually expressing

themselves; they employ these set phrases in the act of

communication* Using language in this way thus is a kind of

64
surrogate experience; the communication or expression cannot

be authentic. This may be due to the fact that they are

not exposed to different stylistic use5 of language and that

they have been trained to treat English as a subject like

other subjects to be studied for examinations* Stylistic

analysis of literary language can make them treat language

not as a kind of factual data or fixed entity, but as a use;

a medium of signification for communication*

The concept of style as deviance has also teaching

implications. Many people have reservations in exposing

students to works of literature for fear that they will

follow the deviant or ungrammatical examples which are often

found in them. This kind of fear is based on the wrong

concept that language is acquired in bits and pieces out of

context. And the fact that students have been exposed to


t
correct grammatical language model* in text books over ten

years does not guarantee that they can use language

grammatically, let alone realistically* Despite incessant

drills in grammar and structure, they keep on making

grammatical mistakes carelessly and unconsciously. Their

language also deviates from the norm. It is instructive to

compare in context the deviant and ungrammatical sentences

in a work of literature with those in most students*

writing* Students do not deviate consciously or

deliberately to achieve a certain effect* But why do they

deviate from the norm? Lack of competence can be one factor.

65
Another more subtle factor may suggest that singular

exposure to the norm in langue does not necessarily entail a

correct grammatical use of language by an individual. Just

knowing what is right or grammatical is not enough because

language is not a fixed entity. It is more appropriate to

speak of degrees of grammaticalness* Deviation and norm are

only relative terms.So instead of just telling students what

is right or grammatical, we must show them the effects of

using or deviating from a certain normative grammatical

structure. This w i l l develop in them a sense of purpose and

volition in using language* With that in mind, they can be

initiated to analyse their actual use of language, i.e.

parole, in the light of the norm in langue* In this case ,

the teaching implications of the stylistic analysis of

literary language become obvious*

We have in chapter one considered the literary use of

language as a kind of parole in dynamic and dialectical

relation with the langue* Deviation and foregrounding in

literary language sharpen students* sensibilities in the

conscious use and choice of language* Stylistic analysis

registers this relationship to describe and evaluate the

effects of the choice* Through practice in stylistic

analysis of literary language, students become more

conscious of grammar, and the learning of it is made easier

and
4
more interesting*This is because the literary use of

language provides a meaningful and interesting context in

66
which grammar is understood and learned. Grammar then can

become challenging and creative but not absolute rules when

students are encouraged to use it with a sense of purpose


and direction to create a certain effects in communication,

i.e. to develop their own style in an i1locutionary act of

utterance. It may be wrong for some teachers to assume that

students should not be encouraged to develop their style

before they have mastered the grammar. So they tend to drill

them with grammar exercises and overmark their grammatical


mistakes in writing. Some even stop them during their speech

to correct a minor mistake in grammar* As a result, students

are using grammar but may not be expressing themselves. Fear

of making a mistake leads them to memorize set phrases or

sentences and even paragraphs in examinations. Fear also

makes them falter in conversation. Anyone who has been an

examiner in the School Certificate Oral Examination will

notice this problem. In short, grammar and style, norm and

deviation are interrelated* We cannot teach grammar without

analysing the purposes, functions and effects in the use and

choice of language

Another essential characteristic of literary language

which has teaching implications is discourse. In fact, every

message can be treated as a discourse in the general sense

of the word* The traffic message *STOP* implies that the

addresser (the police force) is giving a prohibitive

instruction to the addressee (all motorists)* Literary

67
discourse can be more problematic and complicated because

the illocutionary meaning is often not straightforward and

the relationship between the addresser and addressee can be

more difficult to pin down. So stylistic analysis of

literary discourse can be challenging and stimulating* How?

The kind of messages that students are exposed to in text

books and Model Test Series is mainly factual * informative

and even out of context. They are mostly stylistically bland

and uniform. There are very few messages which register the

writer's point of view. Most questions in composition and

precis writing do not touch on attitudes or individual

opinions. As a result, most students use language on the

propositional or locutionary level* They seldom express

their attitudes in writing because they are not required to

do so and they do not know how to. Given, for example, an

editorial from a newspaper as a precis writing practice,

most students can at best only list all the relevant points,

but they cannot arrive at a conclusion as to grasp the

viewpoint and attitude of the editor. They do not feel the

illocutionary force of a message*

A stylistic analysis of literary discourse can be

useful here. In chapter two, we have illustrated in detail

how unusual collocations, deviant syntax and modality in

free indirect speech, etc. create the tspeech participation

and attitudinal colouring * of the literary discourse. A

story can be treated as a kind of communication content* The

68
addresser/addressee situation is created to involve the

reader in discourse with the author. The point of view of an

author can be seen from his attitudes towards the

characters. And these attitudes are embodied in the choice

and patterning of words. A stylistic analysis of literary

discourse activates the reader's role. It sensitizes him to

the 'voice* of the author in the narrative and engages his

response to it. Reading then can become an active speech

participation* Through this practice, students are not only

stimulated to get into the illocutionary meaning of a

message, they are also motivated to express their attitudes

and individual opinions. They then have something authentic

and meaningful to communicate in the classroom or in their

writing, instead of being passively receptive of what the

teacher and the book say* To see language use as discourse

is to consider that all language acts really are

*situational*.

Having said all this, I hope I have not given the

impression that- only stylistic analysis of literary language

has pedagogical implications for language teaching in Hong

Kong. Let me propose the kind of text book for language

teaching in order to clarify my standpoint. The book should

be stylistically compiled. It should include authentic

passages of different styles and registers, e.g., business

Betters and memos, advertisements, news reports, jokes and

humour, historical writing, technical writing, legal


documents, religious and philosophical writing, authentic

conversations and speeches, linguistic description and

terms, as well as literary works and criticism, etc.

Grammar can be taught within the context of the stylistic


analysis of these passages. In this way, students are

exposed to different actual use5of language for different

purposes in different circumstances. It becomes really a

tool for study, a medium of genuine communication and of

pleasure and entertainment, as well as a valuable asset in


the working life*

In fact, I have tried out most of these passages of

different styles with my students in language classes and

found varying degrees of success* Above all, the stylistic

analysis of literary language is most successful and popular

with most students* In the summer of 1986, I was invited to

speak on the use of literary materials in language teaching

in the English Language Teaching Methodology Course

organized by the School of Education of The Chinese

University of Hong Kong Csee Appendix 2)* There were fifty


j
teachers of English fro» different schools in Hong Kong

present* After the talk, we formed an informal group to

share literary materials for language teaching* I was also

asked by the organizer to speak again and to make a video

recording of my students* demonstration. This suamerC1987),

I was invited to do this in a camp organized fay the

Secondary School English Teachers Association and sponsered

by The British Council* There were fifty teachers and a

70
hundred students from fifty different schools participating

in the carap. Details and findings of these talks are

analysed (see Appendix 3)*

As to the teaching of Literature, we have analysed that

the present kind of language education seems to give

misconceptions about and prejudice against Literature to

students* Many schools offer Literature at form four level,

some may start at form three, and only those more well-

established ones start at form one* As to the teachers,

most of them who take the lower forms are not Literature

majors* I remember the teacher who taught me Julius Caesar

In form three was a P*E* teacher; the one who taught me at

form five was a History Major and the one who taught me at

form seven was only an English Major who had not studied any

Literature at all* I am talking about two schools already*

(After all, there are not many schools offering this

subject)* The one where I finished my fifth form Literature

education still cannot offer A-Level Literature because it

cannot find a Literature major* And the one where I finished

my A-Level immediately closed the subject for nobody was

willing to teach it* We were the last batch of Literature

students there*

There is a shortage not only of students but also of

71
teachers and the situation is in a kind of vicious circle.

The three Colleges of Education which train teachers of the

lower forms do not offer any Literature course. The

Institute of Language in Education offers refresher courses

to teachers, but all these are concerned with the practical

teaching of language. The School of Education of the Chinese

University of Hong Kong has no Literature course to offer.

And the only teacher course of the subject is offered by the

Department of Professional Studies in Education of the

University of Hong Kong* It is only a minor course and there

were less than twenty teachers enrolled in 1987. It is

understandable that the major emphasis of the teacher

training institutions is on language teaching in view of the

small Literature candidature* But there is a tendency to

exclude literary materials from language teaching* The word

Literature scares many teachers and most students* Stylistic

analysis of literary language can dispel this fear and

prejudice *

We have analysed in detail that literary language is

different in use but not in kind from language in general.

So we speak of the literary use of language in Literature*

And in our stylistic analysis, we place the procedural

primacy on the use of language seen in the form or structure

of a work, which is described in linguistic terms and from a

linguistic orientation* This approach does aot present

72
problems to teachers who are language majors* It amounts to

an extension of their usual use of language. So I would

recommend this approach to language majors who have to teach

Literature below the A-Level* This approach has also been

proved effective in teaching Readers or in using literary

materials in language teaching. I propose it to be

accepted and used as one of the language teaching

methodologies within the 'Comraunicative Approach* of the

English Syllabuses in Hong Kong*

For the Literature majors, teacher training is needed.

It is true that they could cultivate intuitive judgement and

critical intelligence in their undergraduate studies* The

kind of literary criticism they have practised might not

be suitable for the students at secondary levels* There is a

tendency for untrained teachers to substitute their own

criticism and interpretations for their students* authentic

experience of literature. This tendency becomes a practice

especially when both teachers and students are under the

pressure of examinations* But we cannot shift the

responsibility to examinations*

There are adverse effects in teaching ready -made

interpretations to the students. Students do not know how

these interpretations are arrived at or on what literary

theory it is based* Many a time, the kind of language of

these interpretations is more difficult than the work

itself. As a result,students have to swallow it by rote

73
learning. It stifles individual response and creativity.

Students have no confidence to say what they feel because

the teacher's notes and the critic's comments are

authoritarian. And because they have not been trained to

express themselves in their own words, to do it in

examinations w i l l expose their weaknesses* Moreover, their

own views or opinions on a work have not been acknowleged by

their teachers, and to express them in examinations is a

risk. As a result, they are inclined to incorporate their

teacher's notes as well as some critic's comments

into the answers. For those whose language is weak, we can

find many awkward graftings of undigested phrases and

sentences. And for the others, we may still be able to trace

the sources of these notes* It does not take too long for an

examination marker to identify the same patterns of notes

appearing each year. There are some well-established schools

whose teachers instruct their students never to lend their

notes to others. This elitist attitude of monopoly is based

on a wrong concept of the study of Literature.

Literature is open to all who have the basic linguistic

competence. And in teaching Literature in the secondary

levels, we should sharpen students* sensibilities to the

use of language ; foster their sensitivities to engage in

Discourse with the author, as well as develop their

abilities to express this experience in their own words.

74
Intuitive judgement and critical intelligence may come only

after long exposure to literary texts in authentic


encounter. It w i l l not come from exposure to ready-made
literary criticisms and pre-digested interpretations. So to
spoonfeed critical insights to students is to make the study
of Literature a surrogate experience. The teaching
implications of the stylistic analysis of literary language
become obvious here. First of all, the procedural primacy
given to the message or form is important* Many students
tend to treat literature as a fixed entity, they look for
themes and contents irrespective of the language.

I remember the only thing our fifth form teacher did,


when teaching Animal Farm , was to give us notes on the
blackboard on the Russian Revolution and the evils of
communism. Literature was then studied as historical facts
in the service of a certain ideology. This can be an
opposite extreme to the Formalists. To avoid both extremes,
we may start by focusing on the allegorical use of language
and the effects.Not ice the stylization of human speech in
each animal-character can be treated as a kind of deviation
and foregrounding* We can then engage the students in
discourse with the author by attuning their sensitivities to
the polyphonic voices of the animals. Then students can find
out the author's attitudes by analysing the characteristic
speeches of each animal and the kind of relationships
t
between them which the illocutionary force of these
speeches convey. A very interesting speech act analysis is

75
to examine the Major's and Squealer's speeches,as well as
the responses of other animals. Only at the v£ry end of the

teaching procedure should we situate the allegory in a power


relationship, politics and ideology. We should not
necessarily fix it to be Russia at first. Let students
relate it to their own experience. Maybe it happens in some
aspects among their family members, their classmates, or
they may find aspects of this situation in the capitalist
society of Hong Kong.

The procedural primacy given to the message or the


utterance, i.e. the use of language is cardinal. Many
teachers, for fear that the students do not understand the
theme of the story, tell them the meaning of or the key to
the fable before they start teaching the book. This can kill
their interest and imagination. We must remember that one

characteristic use of literary language is to create our


expectation and keep it in suspense or frustrate it. The
tension between expectation and frustration can be embodied
in the special and conscious use of language. To tell them
what the content of the book means is to deny them this
literary experience. As a result, we can find many students
summarising the prescribed meaning of the story in

examinations*

*
And in poetry , many students have a tendency to
paraphrase a poem in answer to whatever examination

76
questions. This might partly be due to the fact that some

teachers paraphrase poetry and Shakespeare's plays by way of

explanation. To do it w i l l lose the total effects of the use


of language. In this case, the concept of deviation and
foregrounding can help the situation. By drawing students'
attention to the choice of words; unusual collocations;
deviant syntax; special features of prosody, they can
experince the tension between the deviation and the norm, so
that they can analyse the total effects of the stylistic
choice in the light of the linguistic constraints.

The stylistic analysis of literary language has also


implications for syllabus design. We understand that
Formalism favours a certain type of texts and we have tried

to avoid this bias by introducing the discourse element as


one important characteristic of literary language. This is
not contradictory, for we have made selective use of

Formalism. We give procedural primacy to the focus on the


message in foregrounding* This can also be justified by the
fact that as secdnd language learners, we lack the cultural
background which the first language learners have* In this
vacuum, both teachers and students feel an urgent need to
find everything that has been written about the work or the
author. Critics* commentaries and interpretations find their

ways in Naturally*. So before they actually read the work,


they might have read a lot of books about it. Our stylsitic
analysis may turn the lack of cultural background into an

advantage, if we can make both teachers and students feel

77
safe and secure that they w i l l not miss anything in
confronting the text on their own feet. That means it is

better to choose works which appeal to them and are Closer*


to their experience*

To take an actual example, the choices, Great


Expectations and The Crucible on the current School
Certificate Syllabus, might better be replaced with All My
Sons and Hard Times. This is because many students and
teachers do not like them. Why? The Crucible is too remote
from their experience and so they feel more insecure. As a
result their need to consult secondary texts is greater. By
r
remote% it is not necessarily meant in terms of time and
space* Many Shakespearean works appeal to us, and one of the

reasons may be the kind of Universal' experience we share.


Hard Times can be more relevant to us because it addresses
some of our problems in society and schooling to a certain

degree. And the use of language in Hard Times is


comparatively more interesting for stylistic analysis* It
seems we have set two criteria for the choice of texts; one
is the use of language and the other is discourse. It must
be pointed out that they are not two different things* They

are integrated in the text of a literary work. Let us


analyse each criterion and its teaching implications.

There are good reasons to prescribe texts which are

78
stylistically more experimental in the use of language to

focus on
the message at this level in the second language
23
learner situation.' We do not deny the cultural values in

teaching Literature, nor do we neglect the critical

intelligence that one may develop by being exposed to great

works. But one must get students interested in them first

before these ojectives can be realized. To get them

interested, they must first be able to really understand the

text themselves. Language is the first barrier to them* So

the use of language in the text must be the initial focus of

their attention. Texts which are stylistically more

significant can be more instructive and illustrative of the

literary use of language. The stylistic approach to these

texts will enable them to locate their obstacle to

understanding and to help overcome this by mobilizing their

potential competence in the long years of language training

they have received. It helps integrate the teaching of

language with Language teaching.

A typical- Hong Kong student has already been studying

English for twelve years when he reaches the fourth foriu As

a second language learner, the kind of training he received

has equipped him at least with the basic knowledge of

grammar, its rules and terms. He has also been trained to

use language, although in a restricted way within the

examination context. The stylistic approach and the literary

texts we suggest can help them take advantage of this

79
knowledge and extend their use of language. Being conversant

with grammar rules and terms, they are more ready and better

prepared for training in linguistic description, which is

basic to stylistic analysis* On the other hand, the dominant

or foregrounded (not necessarily deviant) stylistic features

in the texts can be illustrative of the interesting and

meaningful use of grammar in action. In this way , language

and Literature teaching reinforce each other.

When language is changed from being a barrier to become

a focal point of interest, students then are ready for the

the second stage of stylistic analysis, i.e. to evaluate the

effects of language use. At this juncture, the discourse

element can be introduced* As we have said, the literary use

of language presupposes a choice and an intention, which, to

some extent, implicate the author in the act of utterance or

expression* And the act of expression presupposes an

audience, at least an implied or imaginary one* So we way

say that the literary medium or message involves the reader

and the author in a kind of communication* To participate in

it, the reader cannot just remain on the locutionary level

of the use of language* He must be initiated to perceive the

illocutionary meaning of the act of speech* This means he

has to situate the language of the speech act and its

effects* Cultural and social references may now be brought

in to the students, so that they can relate the use of

language to the effects in context* As a result, they may

80
discern the attitude or point of v i e w of the author. Some

ideological implications of the work may be brought to light

and the author's intention if discoverable may be an


important factor* In this way, we can say they are in active

speech participation and communication. Only when this is

done can students start to appreciate the cultural values of

Literature and to develop critical intelligence. And these

objectives can be fully accomplished in university.

Coming back to the second criterion of the syllabus

design at the secondary levels, the teaching implications of

choosing texts which yield a more interesting discourse

analysis have been made obvious* But these implications are

also related to language teaching* A true communicative

language syllabus cannot do without communicative contents

and approaches* The literary use of language can provide a

good communicative content, whereas the kind of stylistic

analysis we have characterized can be a practical and useful

approach* Moreover, the method of stylsitic analysis of the

literary of language can be applied to the analysis of non-

literary language* The learning of language and Literature

can be complementary*

81
To conclude, I do not want to recapitulate the
pedagogical implications of the stylistic analysis of
literary language for the study of Literature and language.

Rather, I shall try to situate these implications in the


future directions in English teaching of Hong Kong, Assuming
that the importance of English does not diminish, the
situation in teaching w i l l not change drastically. But the
gradual switch to the use of Chinese as a medium of

instruction in many secondary schools w i l l obviously cause


the standard of students' English to drop further*26
Although many special arrangements proposed in the
Education Commission Report No. 2 <pp* 28-31) have already

been implemented to improve the situation, their efficacy


can only be evaluated in due course* From my experience and

the student's point of view, because the actual use English


is reduced, the study of it as a subject will be
affected. I find at least ten to twenty percent of students
in schools of average standard may suffer an injustice. This
is because they have the language potential to specialize in
either linguistics and/or Literature. And the reduced use of
English can affect this potential. So to reinforce language
teaching when English is being phased out as a medium of
instruction, I propose that the implications we have
discussed in stylistic analysis of literary language should

be considered in any planning of the future directions ia


Eriglish teaching of Hong Kong. These implications are not
only relevant to the ten to twenty percent of students, they
may be a vital key for ,solving the problems in the whole

system of English education in Hong Kong.


NOTES

CHAPTER ONE

1* Saussure, pp.14-15.

2. Saussure, p.XXV.

3. Refer to Shklovsky, ViktorC1917). "Art as Technique*4"

Translated in Lemon and Re is, Russian Formalist

Criticism; Four Essays, 1965, pp.3-24*

4* Quoted in Eagleton, p.2.

5* Quoted in Culler, p.110

6* Refer to Chapman, Linguistics and Literature» p.36.

7* The focus on the message is one important function of

many literary texts.

8* Refer to Jakobson, Roman (1960), *'Closing Statement:

Linguistics and Poetics.** In Sebeok, Style in Language,

1960, pp.3.50-377*

9. In Fowler, Linguistics and the Novel» p.72.

CHAPTER TWO

10* I presume that the Formalists were unwilling to let

literature degenerate into a vehicle of political

propaganda *
1 1 . Examples quoted in Chapman's Linguistics and Literature,
p. 23

12. More examples are found in Chapman's The Language of


Literature, p*103

13. A detailed analysis of this sonnet is found in Fowler's

*Language and The Reader: Shakespeare's Sonnet 73'

collected in Style and Structure in Literature, ed.


R.Fowler, p.79-122. ch.3.

14* A detailed analysis of prosody is found in Helen Kwok's

*The Language of Poetry and the Concept of Linguistic

Deviation* Cnot yet published), pp.13-15.

15. This example is quoted in Chapman's The Language of

English Literature ,p94.

16. My detailed analysis of their speeches is found in

Appendix 3.

17* Leech, Deuchar, Haagenraad, English Grammar for


Today, p.160. ch.10.

CHAPTER THREE

18. By compulsory, I do not mean in legal terms. Every

Chinese student takes up this subject* Failure in this

will disqualify him from studying form six. And failure

in A-Level English will disqualify him from entrance to

the University.
19* A detailed analysis of the Communicative Syllabuses is
found in P.O. Reynolds' 'COMMUNICATE - WHAT?*(not yet
published).

20. Accesses to further studies and work opportunity are


based on examination results. Salary scale especially
in the C i v i l Service even takes the . grades of these
results into account*

21* I am not laying the blame only on the student. Teachers

do share the resonsibility and they can


take initiative to rectify the situation* There are not
too few teachers trying this in different directions.

22* The NEW 1989 Use of English Examination proposed to

include The Work and Study Skills Component. For


details, refer to Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination,
Examination Circular Ho* <9> 86/87*

23* It must be pointed out that every text can be used to


illustrate the use of language. The difference is a
matter of emphasis and degree* After all, stylistics is a

comparative study*
APPENDIX ONE:

USING LITERATURE IN LANGUAGE TEACHING

Explanatory Notes:

This is one example of using Literature in language


teaching. Act 111,11,13-115 of Julius CaesarCsee p S7 > was
shown on video in a form four language class* Main stylistic
features of the two speeches were discussed. As a follow-
up assignment, students were asked to use the structures,
styles and techniques found in these two speeches for
creative writing. The purpose was to encourage them to apply
what they had learned to express themselves. And the two
scripts, BEAUTY SPEAKS and THIEVES SPEAK IN COURT were the
result of their efforts* They staged three performances
based on these scripts:

1. In the school hall for all students of the school in 1986

2. In the Summer Course in English Language Teaching


Methodology 86

3. In Camp Leap 87

All their performances were we11-received. And many


students and teachers were very interested in the scripts
they wrote*

Contents of Appendix One:

1 * Extract from Julius Caesar

2. Beauty Speaks

3* Thieves Speak in Court


S- i ~

L last.
. e patient till the * 4. CIT. Twcrc best he speak no harm of Brntui
here,
Romans, countrymen,' and lovers! Hear me for my 1, CIT. This Caesar wa> a tyrant. ;
for m';n*nK Sllcn
>"that Xou "lay Hear. Believe me c
3- "*- - Nay, that's certain
for mine honor, and have respect to mine honor, 15 We arc blest that Rome is rid of him. ^*
that you may believe. Censure0 me in your"wisdom 2. CIT. Peace! Let us hear what Antony can say
?^youlscnscs
an '.
lhat ou ma thc
in this >' y »*»' ANT. You irrmlc Romans * .
off Caesar £ I sayasscmbl
A •s, to him y- any'lovedwto
that Brutus'
^AJ.L. ^ Peace, ho! Let us hear him
\rAN*T. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend rnc your
cars.
Caesar was no less than his. If then that fncnd 20 I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my The evil that men do lives after them, * ^
answer — not that I loved Caesar less, but that I The good is oft interred with their bones.
loved Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were liv- - So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
ing, and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, Hath told you Caesar was ambitious.
to live all freeman? As Caesar loved me, I weep 25 If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was And grievously hath Caesa*- answered it. 85
valiant, I honor him. But as he w^s ambitious, I slew Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest —•
him. There i$ tears for his love, jcy for his fortune, For Brutus is an honorable man,
honor for his valor, and death for his ambition. Who So arc they all, all honorable men —
is here so base that would be a bondman? If 31 Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
any, speak, for him have I offended. Who is I\ere so He was my friend, faithful and just to me. 90
rude0 that would not be a Roman? If any, speak, But Brutus says he was ambitious,
for him have I offended. Who is here so vile that And Brutus is an honorable man.
will not love his country? If any, speak, for him He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers0 fill.
have I offended. I pause for a reply. 37
Did this in Caesar sccrn ambitious? - 95
ALt. None, Brutus, none. When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept—
'BRU» Then none have I offended. I have done no Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
more to Caesar than you shall do to Brutus. The Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
question of his death is enrolled0 in the Capitol, his And Brutus is an honorable man.
glory not extenuated, wherein he. was worthy, 42
You all did sec that on the Lupercal 100
nor his offenses enforced,0 for which he suffered
I thrkc presented him a kingly ctown.
death. * Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?
[Enter ANTONY and others, with CAESAH'S body.}
Here comes his} body, mourned by Mark Antony, Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,
"who, though He had no hand in his death, shall re- And, sure, he is an honorable man.
ceive the benefit of his dying, a place in the 47 I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, *°5
common wealth ~ as which of you shall not? With " But here I am to speak what I do know.
this I depart — that, as I slew my best lover for the You all did love him once, not without cause.
good 'of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself What cause withholds you then to-mourn for Kim?
when it shall please my country to need my death, j' 0 judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,
ALL. Live,'Brutus! Live, live! * 53 And men have lost their reason I Bear with me,
1. CIT. Bring him with triumph home unto his My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, n*
house. And I must pause till it come back to me. J] ^
2. CIT. Give him a statue with his ancestors. i. CIT. Mcthinks there is much reason"in Hs say-
3. CIT. Let him be Caesar. ings.
z, CIT. If thou consider rightly of the matter,
4. CIT. . Caesar's better parts
Caesar has had great wrong.
ShaH be crowned in Brutus. 3. CIT. - * Has he, masters? - "5.
1 fear there will a-worse come in his place*
4. cm Marked ye his words? He would not take
the crown,
j>4.g«i«r»l eoBwt: iwUfc treasury; BL. treasure dint*
no. B*af with n*t U patient will* me.
BEAUTY SPEAKS

MCI: Fans, watchers of beauty, tasters of tastes. Would you

please lend me your ears, your eyes and your noses. You are
going to taste the beauty, sense the intelligence and share
the energy of our semi-finalists.

MC2: Yes, censure them in your wisdom and awake your senses
that you way be the better judge of our fantastic beauty
contest * Many people say that holding beauty contests is
meaningless. Some even say that our contestants are too
common, naive and stupid, all are idiots! But after the
beauty speaks, they will change their mind* As they will
find our contestants who are filled with intelligence from

hand to mouth and with beauty from head to toe.

MCI : So they will all believe that holding beauty contests


is not meaningless; it is full of sound and fury and
signifies many things* It is just little ado about everything,

MC2: Coming is our first semi-finalist, Miss Moneycar. Glad


to meet you , Miss Moneycar* Would you please choose an
envelope. What do you suggest for the prizes to the winners

of this contest?

Moneycar: Money and car, of course! But the money must be in

cash*
MCI: Cash! How about cheque?

Moneycar: Not that I love cheque less but that I love cash

more* My favorite hobby is counting cash, note by note and


coin by coin.

MCI: And which type of car would you prefer?

Moneycar: The bigger the better.

MCI: Would you like a van or a lorry?

Moneycar: No, I mean the more expensive, the better. Like a


Rolls Royce*

MC2: Why don't you choose other things but money and car?

Moneycar: Cars are status symbol and money means power.

Money can buy everything, everything in the world! Everything!

MC2: You like money and car and your name just fits you very

much. Was it given by your parents?

Moneycar: Yes*

MC2: Then your parents must know you very much. And there is

no generation gap between you and your parents*

Moneycar: Exactly* As they understand me, they gave me the

name 'Moneycar* . As they like money and car themselves,

they gave me the name, ^Moneycar** As my name is Moneycar, I

love money and car. So simple! Moneycar! I love my name.

MC2: Thankyou Miss Moneycar*

Moneycar: Thanks*
MCI: Coming is our second contestant, Miss Innocent. Miss

Innocent, would you please choose an envelope? Why did you


join this contest?

Innocent: Everyone says that beauty contests are stepping


stone to the tv circle.

MCI: I'm afraid you have not answered my question

Innocent: Not that I want to get into the tv circle less,


but that I want to get more experience*
MCI : Innocent !

Innocent: Innocent! Who is here so innocent to say that I am


innocent! In fact, you are all innocent. You all think this
beauty contest is fair, how innocent you are! Emm* Let me
tell you the truth* There is no fairness at all! Do you
think a contestant can win the contest without someone to
back her up? Or you can say it is very fair. As my father is
rich, he is influential, as he is influential, her daughter
Innocent-ly stands^ fair chance to be chosen with care...

MCI: Miss Innocent is very humourous indeed, thank you Miss

Innocent .

MC2: It's time for our third contestant. Miss Bodily So.

Glad to touch you Miss Bodily So.

Bodily: I'm afraid you made a mistake on my family name.

MC2: Oh excuse me. Is that Bodily Sold? S-Q-OD?

95
Bodily: Oh no! I just want to show my body not to sell it.

MC2: *Show?* But the S-0 *So' is more common.


Bodily: It is because I am not a cantonese.
MCI: Where did you come from?

Bodily: I came from Sochau .

MCI: Oh Sochau girls are very beautiful. But are you afraid
to expose your body?

Bodily: As my figure is perfect, I want to show it off. As I


want to show it, I joined this contest.

MCI: Yes, what kind of fashion do you suggest for the


contestants?

Bodily: The more sexy, the better. So that I can show off my
perfect figure.
MCI: But everybody will see most part of your body.

Bodily: That's the point. I want to be an everybody* Had you


rather that you were a nobody and live a 'dull life than that
you were somebody to live colourfully?

MCI: That means showing off is the unique aim for your joining-

Bodily: To be true to my body, yes!

MCI: Thank you Miss Bodily Show.

Bodily: It's a pleasure*

9/
MC2: Coming is our last but not the least contestant, Miss
Vanity* Miss Vanity,..

Vanity: You want to ask me why I joined this contest* Am I right'


MC2: Yes.

Vanity: Let me see* Er. The other contestant must have told

you that they just want to get experience from the contest*

Right? But for me, the aim is to be famous* Who is here so

hypocritical as to deny she has no ambition? Who is here so

high sounding as to say she does not want honour? My

ambition is not only to get honour but also to become

famous, a famous movie star, a singer, a DJ, an all

rounder* * *

MC2: I am afraid you were not answering my question* The

question is how would you treat your friends if you win the

contest?

Vanity: For those who are rich, I honour them* For those

who are powerful, I flatter them* But for those who are

common and poor, I dispise them*

MC2: E r * * * Thankyou Miss Vanity*

Vanity: Thanks*

MCI: Well, it comes to the most exciting moment * Which will be


our Miss Perfect?
MC2: Our Miss Perfect is Miss Innocent*

Reporter: Congratulations, Miss Innocent* Some says that the

result is unfair* What do you think?


Innocent: Certainty not. The whole contest is very fair,

indeed* And the questions were designed by you audience.


you
Reporter: Why wereAso confident to say that you would win in
the semi-final?

Innocent: Because I am filled with wisdom from hand to

mouth. And I have useful relatives.

Reporter: What do you mean by useful relatives?

Innocent: Just like my aunt, she is a close friend of Mr Y,

and my uncle is the boss of one of the judges. YOU see, if I

were not Miss Perfect, who should take my place?

Reporter: I see* Is there any other reason that you won the

contest? (filling money into the reporter's pocket and

leave)*

Reporter: Moneycar, why do you look so unhappy?

Moneycar: Unfair* unfair!

Reporter: Why?

Moneycar: My great hope has broken into pieces. How can an

innocent girl be Miss Perfect? Such a perfect fool! Perfect,

a great satire!
be
Reporter: Yes,..why can an innocent girlAperfect?

Moneycar: Money! Car! Money Car!...

Reporter: There is something wrong with her*

MCI: I'll send her to Castle Peak.

Moneycar: To the Peak? In a Rolls Royce?

MCI: In an ambulance.
Reporter: Vanity, what do you think about the result? Are
you disappointed?

Vanity: Disappointed! No. Of course not. I have achieved my

goal to become famous. I am now known by over five million


people *

Reporter: What are you going to do then?

Vanity: I am going to marry an honourable man, a rich man,

an influential man *

Reporter: Bodily Show, is it a pity that you can't win the

contest?

Bodily Show: Of course* I have the most perfect figure in

the world, but I can't win it* I feel that the contest was

unfair.We were required to wear the most old-fashioned

swimming suit. I lost the chance to expose my body. The BTV

had all their clothes the sexiest in the world, it is next

to wearing your skin* I should have joined their contest*

Reporter: Don't be upset* You just want to expose your body*

I can invite you to take a set of photos* Then you can show

your perfect figure in our Perfect Magazine * Playman.

Bodily Show: Fantastic ! Art for art's sake! I am prepared

to sacrifice everything*

End

94,
Cast: Thief, Judge, Prosecutor , Millionfacturer and Jury.

P: Mr Judge, this suspect stole one dollar from a

willionfacturer on the second of May, 1986.

J: Plead guilty or not?

T: No, I had'nt stolen it.

P: Even though you deny it, we have our honourable citizen,

Mr mi 11ionfacturer to prove the case. Mr Millionfacturer

please .

M: Swearing I an. What I speak is true, if not, I will be

struck dead by the Thunder God. Okay?

T: (wickedly) Okay!
J: Be serious.

P: Is he the one who stole your one dollar coin?

W: Yes, I saw him steal it in his right hand, then hand it

to his left hand and at last he put it into his right

pocket*

J: Have you got any proof?

M: Proof? As I am a willionfacturer, I provide goods for

society, work for people; as 1 contribute so much* I am

regarded as an honourable man; as I am an houourable man, I

am the proof.

95-
J: Do you plead guilty or not? If not,defend yourself-
T: All right! I plead guilty but...

J: Then why did you ruin your future for such a l i t t l e money?

T: Oh! Not that I love my future less, but that I love money

more. Hmm... and I love all of you more, understand?

J: No! You mean you stole the money for us?

T. In fact, money is for exchanging purpose, and now, I use

my effort to exchange the money. Besides, if I had not

stolen it, other people would do it. Anyway, some need to be

thieves, if not what are you judge and prosecutor here for?

J & P: There is a point*

T: Had you rather I had'nt stolen the money, you all be

either theives or unemployed, than that I stole the money,

you all be honourable men? In fact, I am very great. I save

you al1 *

J: (moved) Go on.

T. As you see luxury goods, you buy them, as I find you

indulge in such materialistic luxuries, I weep for you; as I

wept for you, I want to save you; and as I wanted to save

you, I must steal all your money. You see! I did it for all

the honourable motives in the world.

*J, P, Jury : (moved and crying)


T: Shut up! Who is here so mean as to punish an innocent

man? If any, speak, for h i m have I offended. Who is here so

base that think an honourable man is wrong. If any, speak,

for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.


All: None ...none.

J: But, Mr Millionfacturer is our honourable man* We must


trust him.

L: Mr millionfacturer is an honourable man. As he produces

much luxury, he is honourable; as we enjoy it so much, we

make him an honourable man. But is the luxury free or

innocent? He says he provides goods and work for our

society, so he is honourable. But as producer, he

overcharges his consumers, as boss, he underpays his

workers. In fact, he makes everyone of us his worker; the

luxury he produces makes us labour to the last ounce of our

strength for it* Who is here so dull that he has not used

his brandnamed goods? Who is here so strong that he can

resist the temptation? As the suspect has only stolen one

dollar, we condemn him* But Mr Millionfacturer has been

stealing most of our income, should we honour hi»? So if we

say the suspect is guilty, then Mr Millionfacturer is more

guilty* Yet, Mr Millionfacturer proves our suspect is guilty

and he is an honourable man* Our clever jury, which is the

'real thief?
Jury: Mr Millionfacturer should be guilty of making our life

poor in luxuries while the suspect has delivered us from

'evil,
T: (wickedly and triumphantly) Ha ha ha—.

97
APPENDIX TWO :

TEACHING ENGLISH THROUGH POETRY AND DRAMA

Explanatory Notes:

This Speech was delivered in the Summer Course in


English Language Methodology 86 organized by the School of
Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong* There were
fifty teachers present. They were very interested in the
materials and approach* We formed an informal group after
the Speech and we still meet often to
share experience and teaching kits< most of them were
literary ones) in language teaching.

Contents of Appendix Two:

1. The script of the Speech

2* Samples questions of a workbook and a reader

98"
Good morning, dear colleagues. Maybe, you have already
read my article on A Practical Literary Approach, let me
clarify a few points before sharing my experience with you*
First, I am not against grammar or drills or grammatical
drills* They are indispensable but their efficacy depends
very much on how and when we use them. What I find
uncreative and unprofitable are those uncontexualized
exercises which are not related to both the teacher's and
the learner's experience. Many of those drills on language
workbooks, questions at the back of readers, and multiple-
choice items belong to this category. Example from
workbooks- please refer to p. )O3 * Students may just
reproduce mechanically meaningless but grammatical sentences
on the formula provided. Example from readers-please see the
same page. Most of the questions ask What and How. They can
only familiarise students with the action of the story and
enable them to paraphrase the contents. They do not appeal
to their experience or elicit personal responses. As for
multiple-choice items, it is too obvious to quote example to
show that both teachers and students may take testing as
teaching*

So, in short, what are the points of doing and marking


such exercises? Is it enough just to make sure that the
students have read the story or acquired some vocabulary by
doing the exercises on p- §^3 ? Perhaps, we might
personalize the context of the questions. Thus in Section 1,
we may ask: What do I need to pass the exam? or What does HK
need to remain stable and prosper? And in Section 2, we
may following question 1 ask: If you were caught doing that,
how would your parents punish you? Or we may ask them : Is
Tom naughty, but do you like hi», Why? If we want to drill
students, we must first get them interested and involved in
the things they learn. This can be done by appealing to
their experinces, enlarging their sensibilities and
challenging their understanding* And here, poetry and drama
with their audio-visual impact can be very impressive, thus
useful.

For poetry, we way start with some songs which are


poetic and neaningful* Many songs are catchy and popular
with youngsters, they are potentiallly productive if we make
good use of them. However, youngsters are enthralled
more by the melody and the singer than by the words, they
don't know and they are seldom guided to find out the
weaning of the songs. In addition, most song series like
Mister Monday and English Through Songs on Newspaper
t:oncentrate on structural drills in tenses and aspects. The
approach »ay not be appealing and most of the songs are not
familiar and meaningful to students. Thus,to make full tise
of songs in teaching, we must guide students to analyse and

99
appreciate the lyric. Only after their responses have oeen
initiated and developed can simulation of structure and
grammar be started. And it w i l l be productive if the
sentences are simulated to e l i c i t and express authentic
experiences and feelings.

Maybe, let us listen to the first song, Scarborough


Fair (the lyric is in Appendix 3).

Most students have no difficulties in finding out the


subject matter* The what question is not a problem* But the
more essential task is to sensitize them to the experiences
of the soldier* This leads us from the contents to the
techniques of the song or we may say poem. How does the
writer present the cruelties of war? How effective is this
presentation? Why does it cut a deep impression on us? Let
us listen to the song again, and at the same time, I have
produced a set of slides to highlight the theme and its
presentation*

First, we may guide students to see the narrative


structure* The song does not narrate a story in a straight
chronological order* It dramatizes a theme hinging on the
interplays of the present with the past; the now with then;
here with there* Contrast is here basic to the structure*
The setting of battlefield stands in great relief to the
background of home* The cruelties of war and the
helplessness of the soldier become more striking and
oppressive amid the spices of the kitchen and the warmth of
home* Repetition serves to reinforce this impression and
effect* The line * Parsley, sage, rose mary and thyme*
reiterating in every stanza sends out the scent of sweet
memory* It revives the soldier who has become numbed and
stupefied following mechanically the order of the generals
to *fight for a cause that they've long ago forgotten**
These herbal spices are both healing as they help restore
the senses to the soldier, and soothing as they bring him
back sweet memory of his love* However, she can only be a
true love to mourn for him as he can sleep ^unaware of the
clarion call* only in his grave*

If students are moved to put themselves in the position


of the soldier, their sympathy will be enlarged and their
'sensibilities sharpened* They will begin to analyse the
techniques in presentation, such as the use of contrast,
repetition, imagery and even counterpoint in music* Their
power of appreciation w i l l be increased*

100
Maybe, we listen to another song, The Impossible Dreai
(the lyric is in Appendix 3).

What are the teaching points of it. Very obviously, we


can teach students word formation as prefix and suffix. We
have here eg, right, rightable and unrightable, etc*
Moreover, we can teach them the use of to-infinitive* But
I'll concentrate on the rhythm of the song* It is the
rhythm here which invigorates the whole song and adds
intensity to it. It starts slowly and softly with *To
dream*.** Listen to the attack of the verbs that follow: *
To fight, To bear*.**, each becomes forte or stronger
building up a momentum until it reaches the cadence of the
first stanza where the beat slows down.

In the second stanza, the momentum picks up again with


* To right, To love, To try.*.* But this time it carries
onto the third stanza: *This is my quest*.** until it
reaches the climax in the line: *To be willing to march into
hell for a heavenly cause.* Here the intensity of the man's
w i l l is at the peak where the theme of sacrifice is
glorified*

Thus, if we want to teach the use of to-infinitive to


express a purpose, we had better sensitize students to the
rhythm first, so that they can feel the sense of urgency,
determination and momentum. As for the teaching of word
formation, here the prefix and suffix, it will be more
memorable and interesting if we relate it to the theme.
Here, all the prefixes are negative or they give a negative
sense to the adjectives, eg* impossible, unbearable* If the
to-infinitive phrases,*to fight, to bear, to right,*etc*
express a motivated , positive action, we find the clash
between the possible with the impossible; the right with the
unrightablei the positive with the negative; the thesis with
the antithesis* This clash culminates in the climactic line,
*To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause** The
paradoxical condition of man is suggested*

If after the lesson, students forget about to-


infinitive and prefix, they can still remember the the»e and
Ideas, and the rhythm of the song, I am sure, reverberates
on the mind*

tot
Let us listen to a more formal poem, a sonnet by
Shakespeare,Sonnet 73. What is significant about this poem
is the mood and the feelings which are crystallized in the
v i v i d imagery. In the first quatrain, the speaker compares
himself to autumn, when trees are bare of leaves. In
Quatrain two, he compares it to sunset, the twilight moment
when black night approaches. In the third quatrain, he
compares it to a glowing bed of coals smouldering in its
ashes.

These metaphors convey a concrete picture of the


speaker's life and feelings. The pause after ^leaves', *
none*, t few* in line 2 adds an emotional impact of the slow
and tragic solemnity. The mood is laden and intensified. The
use of alliteration in line 7 *by and by* black night
increases the horror of dying.

Some people may think that poetry is unpractical or


even irrelevant in the learning of language. Language is not
just a tool of giving and following instructions, it
embodies thoughts and feelings.

Let us watch a Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar on


video* I selected the two most famous speeches for you.
After viewing, my students will perform two plays. The
scripts of these plays were written by themselves after
watching Shakespeare's *

I OZ
POETRY, DRAMA AND SONGS

Philip Chan
I* Julius Caesar and Dramatic Performances

a) Beauty Speaks
b) Thieves Speak in Court

II. Scarborough Fair - Slide Show

III. Themes of the Movies


a) What is a Youth? from Romeo and Juliet
b) Sunrise Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof
c) The Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha

IV. Cat in the Rain - An Analysis

Programme Notes:
These handouts were given to the campers and they
read and discussed them in groups before the programme* The
programme proceeded as follows:

I. The two speeches from JolI us Caesar were shown on video.


Main stylistic features were analysed and discussed
following the notes on the handout* After the discussion, my
students performed Beauty Speaks and Thieves Speaks in
Court*

II* Discussion following the notes on the handouts after the


Slide Show

III* a) and b) were shown on video* Themes of these movies


were discussed with reference to the lyrics* c) was
played on tape recorder* Main stylistic features were
analysed*

IV* They had not enough time to read this before the
programme, so no detailed discussion could be done*

105
A STYLISTIC ANALYSIS OF THE TWO SPEECHES IN JULIUS CAESAR.

Before you look at this analysis and answer the questions,


please read the extract from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.
Write down your impressions or anything you find interesting
or special.
1
*13: ftn
endearing address of socializing and
condescension£doing something beneath one's social rar^kl to
win the people's support by treating them as friendly
equals. Also an appeal to solidarity and patriotism.

1*16: Repetition of ^believe* and 'honour* serves to relate


and even equate them in the balanced sentences of circular
agreement, ie. 'Believe me for mine honour... that you may
believe*. Also an appeal to authority.

1*18: Flattery- to praise in order to please, here


condescendingly. An emotional appeal beneath a show of
appeal to reason.

1.23: comparing Caesar with Rome on the assumption that they


are opposites.

1.24: A rhetorical question that allows no answer but


complete agreement with his point of view which is based on
the unstated assumption that Caesar is a tyrant[person with
complete power who rules cruelly and unjustly].

1.28: A parallel structure building up to concluding climax


with emphasis, balance and clarity of idea organization.
Notice the regular rhythm up to *I honour him** The emphatic
*But* arrests the flow of rhythm to create a suspense[state
of uncertain expectation] which leads to a logical climactic
conclusion: *I slew him*. Comparing the stress of this line
with that of *I weep for him*, *I rejoice at it * and *I
honour him*What effect does the difference add to the
reasoning?
1.29: A parallel structure to reinforce the reasoning built
in the previous structure. Notice the meaning is the same
but there are structural changes: 1.28 is made up of an
adverb clause of reason with the main clause which
emphasizes the verb; 1.29 is noun clause in apposition ttwo
words or phrases have the same reference!. But 1.28 and 1.29
are integrated: the adjectives in 1.28 correspond to the
nouns in 1.29, ie. fortunate to fortune, valiant to valour,
and ambitious to ambition: the verbs in 1*28 are related to
the nouns in 1.29, ie. weep to tears, rejoice to joy, honour
to honour and slew to death. Notice both *as* in 1*28 and
11
for* in 1.29 function to structure the sentences and to
Construct the reasoning. The conclusion, ie* the killing of
Caesar,is made logical and acceptable when it is introduced
after Caesar is praised. To weigh love, valour and honour
against ambition is a tactic which justifies the killing as

106
1) reasoned* 2) out of necessity in public interest not
personal one, 3) against personal w i l l for 'Caesar loved
me,* so Brutus is reluctant to do so.

.1.30: Rhetorical questions making the k i l l i n g inevitable.


The questions are based on an unstated equation, ie*
Caesar=tyrant=people become bondmen=not Romans=not love his
country* A rhetorical question does not ask for choices or
opinions, it imposes viewpoint on the addressee so that he
w i l l act accordingly. Here, the predicted and conditioned
negative response is reinforced by the derogative
adjectives, 'rude', 'vile' and 'base', as well as, the
negative construction. It is a foregone conclusion. And the
pause is inserted for an open declaration of agreement, for
an act of compliance*

1*44: An act of appeasement, a gesture of generosity, as


well as, a demonstration of power taken over by Brutus now.
1*52: Not a commissive act of promise* Confident of the
people's support, Brutus plays on their emotions by accusing
himself in order to prompt them to acquit and honour h i m *
The direction is given indirectly* Complying with it, the
people become mob [common people whose feelings and opinions
change from moment to moment without thought!. See 1.75.
1*79: An expressive act of apology in face of the angry mob
who have been swayed to Brutus*s side*
1*84: The subjunctive *were* suggests that Caesar was not,
so he was unjustly and 'grievously* killed* It undermines
the validity of what the *noble* Brutus *told** If what he
*told* is false, his nobility will be in question*
1*88: Repetition of ^honourable** Brutus and his accomplices
are treated as a group which also implies a gang.
1*92: Undermine, Brutus's honour by showing what he *says* is
wrong*
1*99: The word ^honourable * becomes ironic tsuggest the
opposite of what one says] in context, ie* with proofs that
Caesar was not ambitious*
1*104: The irony becomes more aggressive and sarcastic in
tone* Anthony changes key as he speaks on from being
submissive to satirical* The repetition has a cumulative
effect, the meaning of the word honourable is negated each
time when it occurs in contexts at variance with its
connotation*
t
How does the contrast between Verse and Prose help
Shakespeare to create different effects for their speeches
and to contrast the two characters?
SCARBOROUGH FAIR

Before you look at and answer these questions, please read


the lyric first* Write down your impressions or anything you
find interesting or special.
1. SPEECH ACT

1* Who is the speaker? Where is he?

2. How does he get you involved in the song? Does the


speaker want you just to carry out his instructions?

3. What does the writer want to express through these


instructions? How does he express this?

II.Voice

1. A second voice in the third person is embedded in the


counterpoint[One or more independent melodies added above or
below a given melody to make a single harmonic texture].
Whose voice is that? From^where does the voice come? To
whom is the voice addressed?*

2. How is this voice related to the voice of the speaker?

Ill* Contrast and Repetition


1* What are in contrast [Difference seen in comparison] in
the song? What does the writer make use of these contrasts
for?
2« Which lines are repeated? What are the effects of these
repetitions? Do they serve to reinforce the theme or cohere
the structure? -

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CAT IN THE RAIN

Before you look at and answer these questions, please read


the story first. Write down your impressions or anything you
find interesting or special*

I.Definite Article

1* In the first paragraph, *the* occurs twenty-seven times,


what impression does it give to the setting of the story?

2. Does this impression suggest the kind of relationship


between the characters?

3, Does the paragraph remind you of any description you have


read in other kinds of writing?

II* Nominal Structure

1. The story is called *Cat in the Rain* but not *A Cat in


the Rain* or 'The Cat in the Rain** In modern English, a
singular noun used without an article is unusual or even
ungrammatical, where do you usually find this besides in
1iterature?

2* Throughout the story, the animal *Cat* is referred as


*Cat in the Rain' CTitleJ, *the cat*C1.211, *the
kitty*[1.261» *a kitty*£1*861, *a cat'Cfour times 11.96-97].
Are they the same cat? What does she want the cat for? What
does the oat reoresent?

3* In what situation is the woman called *American girl 1 and

'Alterlean wife*? What does the change suggest?

Ill* Verbal Structure

1. Compare the use of verbs in 11*25-27 with that in 11*35-


39* Notice the auxiliary or modal verbs 'would*, 'could*
and *must* in the second extract* Does the difference in the
ways the characters are described between these two extracts
express the teller's standpoint to the characters?

2* Notice also that modal verbs are only used with the wife
whereas the husband is described in the same way throughout:
ct
l * l l do it," her husband offered from the bed.*£1*201 aad
'George was not listening * He was reading his book**
£1*981 Does your sympathy lie with the husband or wife?
Why?

110
and <like occur man times and
u«a ?n 3fnrf5?f f
Ulkina? 1 ' y
tenses/aspects, eg. from 'liked' to
liking and from 'wanted' to 'want'. Notice also . the
repeated parallel sentence structures in which these verbs
hI?nUS! ^ U'30-35 and 11-96-97. How do these features
help express her needs? And what does she really need?

Reference consulted: Ronald Carter's 'Style and


Interpretation in Hemingway's ''Cat in the Rain" collected
in Language and Literature, ed. Ronald Carter, George Allen
and Unwin, 1982.

Hemingway's '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. ft also faced
the public garden and the war monument. There were big palms and
05 green benches in the public garden. In the good weather there was
always an artist with his easel. Artists liked the way the palms grew and
the bright colours 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. It was raining. The rain dripped from the
10 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 the
cafe" a waiter stood looking out at the empty square.
15 The American wife stood at (he 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.
•I'm going down to get that kitty/ the American wife said.
20 Til do «t; her husband offered from the bed.
'No, I'll get it. The poor kitty out trying to keep dry under a table/
The husband went on reading, lying propped up with the two pillows at
the foot of the bed.
'Don't get wet,' he said.
25 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,
'II piove.' the wife said. She liked the hotel-keeper,
'Si, si, Signora, brutto tempo. It is very bad weather.*
30 He stood behind his desk in the far end of the dim morn. 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
big hands.
35 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

III
eaves As she stood in the doorway an umbrella opened behind her It
was the maid who looked after their room
40 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
grave! 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
45 disappointed The rnaid looked up at her.
'Ha perduto qualque cosa, Signora9"
There was a cat,' sa«d the American girl.
'A cat?
*Su il gatto' _ -

4
50 A cat?' the maid laughed. 4A cat in the ram?"
'Yes,1 she said, 'under the table.* Then, *Oh, I wanted rt so much. I
wanted a kitty.*
When she talked English the maid's face tightened.
'Come, Signora/ she said. *We must get back inside. You will be wet.1
55 1 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
60 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.
*lt was gone.'
65 'Wonder where it went to?1 he said, resting his eyes from reading.
She sat down on the bed.
1 wanted it so much/ she said, 1 don't know why I wanted it so much. I
wanted that poor kitty. It isn't any fun to be a poor kitty out in the rain/
George was reading again.
70 She went over and satin 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
neck.
'Don't you think it would be a good idea if I let my hair grow out?* she
75 asked, looking at her profile again.
George looked up and saw the back of her neck, clipped close like a
boy's.
1 like ft the way it is/
1 get so tired of it/ she said. 1 get so tired of looking like a boy/
80 George shifted his position in the bed. He hadn't 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. ft was getting dark.
85 1 want to pull my hair back tight and smooth and make a big knot at the
back that I can feel,1 she said. *l want to have a kitty to sit on my lap and
purr when I stroke her/
*Yeah?f George said from the bed,
'And I want to eat at a table with my own silver and I want candles. And
90 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/
*Qh, shut up and get something to read/George sakt He was reading
agaia
" Us wife was kx>kir^Qtit0ftr^wiftd<mtw^
95 raWog in the palm trees.
'Anyway, I want a cat/ she said. *I want a cat 1 want a cat now. If I can't
have long hair or any fun, I can have a cat*
George was not Istening. He was readmg his book. His wife looked
out of the window where the IgM had come cm in tie square,
100 Someone knocked at ttie door.
'Avartti/ George said. He looked yp from his book,
to 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
105 Slgnora/
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