Huwebes, Marso 24, 2011

Stylistics Course Syllabus

Course Credit: 3 Units 

Course Content:
Study, description and analysis of various sample literary texts by the principles of
literary criticism as well as the principles of linguistic analysis. 45(T), C

Course Description:
The course focuses on the relationship between style and stylistics, the goal of stylistics
and the implications of context. Literary and linguistic ‘triggers’ for the interpretation of
literary and non-literary texts to be examined include morphology, speech sounds,
graphology, lexis, semantics, syntax, point of view, and pragmatics.

Course Objectives:
The main aim of the course is to make students appreciate and understand the functional
interpretation and construction of texts. At the end of the course, the students will be able
· identify the principles and tools of stylistic analysis;
· describe the principles and tools of stylistic analysis;
· analyse texts beyond its formal features; and
· create various texts using the principles and tools of stylistic analysis.

Course Requirements:
This is a compulsory course for both Language and Literature students:
· Each student is expected to participate in all the course activities.
· A minimum of 75% attendance is required to qualify each student to write the
final examination.
· Students will be expected to answer the study questions and assignments.

Week 1: General introduction and the relationship between style and
Objectives: *By the end of the class, students should be able to present an overview of
the field of stylistics
*By the end of the class, students should be able to explain the
relationship between style and stylistics
Description: The evolution of stylistics and its place among other branches of Linguistics
as well as literary criticism will be explained. The relationship between
style and stylistics will also be clarified.

Week 2: Some definitions and goal of stylistics; types of stylistics.
Objective: *By the end of the lesson, students should be able to explain the definitions of
stylistics, its goal and some of the various types of stylistics.
Description: Some of the definitions of stylistics, especially from its root, its goal, to
demonstrate functional interpretation, and some stylistic models will be

Week 3: Implications of context — (i) Dialect, Register and Time
(ii)Domain, Tenor and Mode
Objective: * By the end of the lesson, students should be able to identify language
variation according to user, use and time period as well as register
varieties i.e. domain, tenor and mode.
Description: The way in which language varies from one speaker to another, from one
situation to another and from one period to another will be taught via
extracts from poetry, pose and drama passages.

Week 4: Morphology, speech sounds and graphology in stylistic analysis
Objectives: * By the end of the class, students should be able to discuss the rudiments
of morphology, speech sounds and graphology to the students
* By the end of the class, students should be able to identify these tools in
discourses and be able to work out their functions
Description: Elements of morphology (e.g. coinages, compounding, blending), sound
patterns (e.g. alliteration consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia, rhyme,
rhythm), Graphology (e.g. punctuation, paragraphing, spacing, size of
print, etc.) will be explained and exemplified via extracts from passages.

Week 5: Lexis and Semantics in stylistic analysis
Objectives: * By the end of the class, students should be able to explain the rudiments
of lexis and semantics,
* Identify lexical and semantic activators in texts and be able to show
their functions.
Description: Lexico-semantic elements i.e. words and their meanings e.g. oxymoron,
reference, lexical ellipses and substitution, conjunction, collocates, synonym, antonym, holonym, hyponym, parts of speech, etc. will be
explained and exemplified via extracts from passages.

Week 6: Lexico-Syntactic Patterns in stylistic analysis
Objectives: * By the end of the class, students should be able to describe words,
phrases, clauses and sentences are used as prompters in stylistic analysis.
* Identify various types of lexico-syntactic
constructions and their functions in stylistic analysis.
Description: Lexico-syntactic constructions to be studied in sample texts
include anaphora, epiphora, symploce, personification, hyperbole, litotes,
irony, paradox, euphemism, asyndeton, polysyndeton.

Week 7: Foregrounding: Deviation and Repetition
Objectives: * By the end of the class, students should be able to explain the
foregrounding i.e. the psychological effect of deviation and repetition
* Emphasise ‘highlighting’ or ‘making prominent’ for specific effects
Description: The two main types of foregrounding i.e. deviation and repetition (e.g.
parallelism, anaphora, alliteration, rhyme, polyptoton) which strike the
reader’s attention as unusual will be studied through textual examples at
the morphological phonological, graphological, lexical, semantic and
syntactic levels.

Week 8: Point of view in discourse
Objective: * By the end of the class, students should be able to explain the concepts
and distinctions of point of view in discourse
Description: Using textual examples, the following will be examined: (i) addresses,
narrator, distance, etc. (ii) some linguistic indicators of point of view:
schema-oriented language, value-laden expressions, Given vs. New
information, deictic expressions, social deixis, indicators of characters’
thoughts or perceptions, event coding (Short, M. 1996)

Week 9: Dialogue and pragmatics
Objective: * By the end of the lesson, students should be able to identify pragmatics
in stylistic analysis
Description: Textual examples of the following elements will be identified and explained
along with their functions: participants and role relation, context, turn-taking, locution,
illocution, perlocutionary effects and non-verbal communication.

Week 10: A detailed look at poems
Objective: *By the end of the class, students should be able to recite, examine and
study some poems in detail
Description: Poems will be studied in relation to their meanings and effects.

Week 11: A detailed look at prose fiction and non-literary texts
Objective: * By the end of the class, students should be able to explain prose fiction
and non-literary texts in detail
Description: Prose fiction and non-literary texts will be studied in relation to their
meanings and effects.

Week 12: A detailed look at prose drama texts
Objective: * By the end of the class, students should be able to demonstrate drama
texts in detail
Description: Drama texts will be studied in relation to their meanings and effects.

Week 13: (a) Class test (b) class presentation (1)
Objective: By the end of the lesson, students should be able to explain the basic concepts
and techniques of stylistics and how to apply then to texts accurately.
Description: The students will be assessed on the topics taught and will
further be expected in groups to look for a poem to which they will apply
methods of stylistic analysis and be able to bring out the functional significance.

Week 14: Class presentation (2)
Objective: * By the end of the class, students should be able to demonstrate the
mastery of the basic concepts and techniques of stylistics and how to apply
then to texts accurately.
Description: The students will be expected in groups to look for a prose
passage or drama text to which they would apply methods of stylistic
analysis and be able to bring out the functional significance.

Adapted from:
Ms. Victoria A. Alabi
PhD, M.A., B.A.

Print Ad Analysis

Visual Rhetoric in Advertising:
Text-Interpretive, Experimental, and
Reader-Response Analyses

Visual elements are an important component of many advertisements. Although the role of imagery in shaping consumer response has long been recognized (Greenberg and Garfinkle 1963), only recently have visual elements begun to receive the same degree and sophistication of research attention as the linguistic element in advertising

Only in recent years have consumer researchers begun to treat visual imagery in advertising as something other than a peripheral cue or a simple means of affect transfer. Today the visual element is understood to be an essential, intricate, meaningful, and culturally embedded characteristic of contemporary marketing communication. However, detailed theoretical specifications for ad imagery have yet to be fully constructed. In pursuit of this goal, the rhetorical figure emerges from this project as a general principle of text structure that can be embodied in visual texts as well as verbal texts (McQuarrie and Mick 1996). In particular, the researcher showed that the artful deviation characteristic of figures, and also the over- and undercoding that produces schemes and tropes, can be constructed out of pictorial elements in advertising.

This text-interpretive analysis of four magazine ads suggested that their pictorial elements comprised a variety of rhetorical forms (rhyme, antithesis, metaphor, and pun) and different types of signs (iconic, indexical, and symbolic) so as to evoke a diverse set of meanings about the brand and/or user (e.g., sophistication, beauty, safety, fun). Two experimental analyses showed that these four ads, as compared to the same ads with the visual figures broken or removed, stimulated more elaboration and a more positive attitude toward the ad. Moreover, the effect of visual rhetoric was robust over different samples, across different ad executions, and over multiple product categories. Visual figures, like the more familiar verbal figures (Leigh 1994), would appear to deserve a place among the executional devices available to advertisers that have a consistent and reliable impact on consumer response.

The main boundary condition the researchers uncovered is that the consumer must be sufficiently acculturated to the rhetorical and semiotic systems within which the advertising text is situated; that is, s/he must be a culturally competent processor of the advertising message. However, although this was notably true for visual tropes, it did not condition responses to visual schemes. This finding both corroborates and refines Scott’s (1994a) provocative theory. She argued that ad visuals should not be conceived as photocopies of a pancultural reality; rather, they are often highly stylized representations that compel consumers to engage ads as meaningful texts that require an active reading in accordance with an existing stock of sociocultural insights. This is precisely what we found with respect to the visual tropes that require intricate semantic knowledge structures concerning the objects, activities, and products artfully depicted in the ads (e.g., car seat, safety belt and buckle, and motion sickness medicine; croissants, almonds, and the smiling “have-a-nice-day” face). In contrast, all subjects and informants— foreign nationals as well as Americans—seemed to appreciate the schematic visuals that are constructed by similarities and/or differences in such surface features as  shapes, sizes, and colors (e.g., black fur coat, black fur hat, and thick black eye lashes). The robustness of the effect for schemes may stem from pattern-recognition ability basic to human visual perception. Alternatively, the cultural perspective can be reasserted if it is argued that the experimental subjects were all members of literate cultures, who know how to interpret duplicate or mirror-image elements on a page. Had the experiments included members of primitive preliterate cultures, then perhaps the schemes as well as the tropes would have been shown to be dependent on cultural knowledge, of a very general sort in the case of schemes and of a much more specific and localized sort in the case of tropes. In either case, our data suggest that Scott’s (1994a, 1994b) theory about the role of cultural competency in processing advertising rhetoric appears correct with respect to tropic rhetorical operations that are strongly dependent on sociocultural semantic knowledge but may be less germane to schematic rhetorical operations determined by structural regularities.

Lastly, in study 3 the reader-response analysis with 12 interviewees revealed some of the actual meanings that consumers generate when processing the four rhetorical ads in the experimental studies. It reconfirmed that those who were less culturally attuned to American society and advertising were less likely to appreciate the visual tropes, as compared to the visual schemes, in light of the meanings reflected in the earlier text-interpretive analysis.

Overall, in concert with some prior work, this research testifies to the acute sensitivity of consumers to the visual element in advertising. The present research also advances prior work in several respects. Like Meyers-Levy and Peracchio (1992, 1996) within the experimental tradition, the researchers showed how very subtle alterations to the visual elements of an ad can, nonetheless, have a measurable impact on consumer responses. Unlike them, our suite of visual manipulations was generated by a theoretical specification that integrates and differentiates a range of possible alterations to the visual style of an ad under the concept of a rhetorical figure. Moreover, other researchers within the text-interpretive and reader-response approaches, they postulated that consumers encounter advertisements as active readers of texts; that visual elements can be structured as rhetorical devices; and that a sufficient stock of cultural knowledge is required to interpret the rhetorical structure assembled by the advertiser. Unlike them, however, the researchers conducted an experimental investigation to provide more secure causal inferences concerning how particular visual elements in advertisements would map onto specific consumer responses. Lastly, going beyond prior studies of visual persuasion, we attempted to synthesize the strengths of the text-interpretive, experimental, and reader-response approaches, and demonstrated how this union can be achieved, along with the benefits it can provide to the development of advertising theory.


 This article has sought to understand in a more refined and systematic manner the persuasive impact of visual style in advertising, using explanations offered by rhetorical theory. In turn, the melding of text-interpretive, experimental, and reader-response traditions reinforces the promise of critical pluralism as a philosophy for generating new insights into consumer behavior.


Short Story Analysis: ‘Cat in the Rain’


It is about an American couple that spends their holidays in an Italian hotel. It is a rainy day and the American woman sees a cat in the rain, which she wants to protect from the raindrops. When she goes out of the hotel, which is kept by an old Italian who really seems to do everything to please that woman, and wants to get the cat, it is gone. After returning to the hotel room, she starts a conversation with her husband George, who is reading all the time, telling him how much she wants to have a cat and other things, for instance her own silver to eat with. Her husband seems to be annoyed by that and not interested at all. At the end of the story there is a knock on the door and the maid stands there holding a cat, for the American woman, in her hands.
Peculiarities of the introduction

          there is a description of the environment in good weather, which means spring or summer, then a description of the momentary situation in the rain. This description creates an atmosphere that is sad, cold and unfriendly.
          To create this atmosphere Hemingway uses words such as "empty" or "the motorcars were gone".
          foreshadowing of the state of the couple´s relationship: First it was nice, the spring-time of their love, and now there is only rain, their relationship got cold and unfriendly.
          Another symbolic hint in this introduction is the war monument, which is mentioned three times. This maybe is done to tell us that a conflict is to be expected.

You might ask…
“Why are this cat and the one the maid brought up to the room made difficult to identify as one and the same animal? Why is the cat’s identity questionable, while George’s identity as the woman’s husband is not?“
The answer is…
          stylistic and narrative elements are considered in this study as purposeful strategies used by the writer.
George’s identity is never questioned because the author places him in the immediate presence of the American woman, and emphasizes his reality by referring to him by name, while “the cat in the rain” is only a linguistically created fiction. The animal is seen only through the American woman’s eyes, and it is neither perceived by the husband, nor objectively presented to the reader by the narrator. 


The author conveys through “Cat in the Rain” a limit to representing reality
          Given this difficulty of reporting reality, two discourse analysts, (Ronald Carter and Michael Stubbs), were misled by Hemingway’s verbal technique that makes the cat appear “small.” They both consider the cat in the rain and the one the hotel maid brought up to be different because the latter appears bigger than the former.
»        These two discourse analysts are misled to this conclusion about the cat brought by the maid, on account of the stylistic and narrative devices that make the cat in the rain appear “small,” making it thus impossible to identify the two cats as one and the same.

Carter’s reaction
          denies the identity of the cat that the maid brought up as the one in the rain: “I do not see a correlation here between ‘cat’ and ‘kitty.’ To me, this is a grotesque outcome to the kind of associations aroused in me by the word ‘kitty’ ” (Carter 76).
Stubss’ reaction
          the maid’s is “a different cat”: “My interpretation is therefore that Hemingway implicates that it is not the same cat. He does this by inserting information which is otherwise irrelevant: that the maid brings a big tortoise-shell cat. Informally, we might say that there is no reason to mention what kind of cat it is, unless this is significant, and unless we are expected to draw our own conclusion” (Stubbs 209). 

Why does the American woman see a cat from a room on the second floor of the hotel?
                        The woman, or the reader through her eyes, would see the cat very close and could recognize specific details. At the end of the story, the maid appears at the door of the room with a specific “big tortoise-shell cat,” which the reader sees this time through the husband’s eyes. Its appearance is unexpected, because the cat is depicted with the two new epithets “big” and “tortoise-shell.” For this to be “unexpected,” the woman must neither see the cat from the first floor, where she could make it out clearly, nor from the third floor which is evidently too distant as a viewpoint. The second floor is, therefore, suitably distant from the cat for the author’s purpose to make it appear small, while actually leaving it unidentifiable by its size. 


          The second device which reinforces the apparent smallness of the cat due to the relatively distant location of the room, appears in the following passage:
                        The American wife stood at the window looking out. Outside right under their window a cat was crouched under one of the dripping green tables. The cat was trying to make herself so compact that she would not be dripped on.
“I’m going down and get that kitty,” the American wife said. 

The second device..
          consists in the use of two words: the past participle “crouched” and the adjective “compact.”
          The cat could actually be small, but with these two words, we find ourselves facing a cat verbally made to appear small. And even at this early stage, the woman’s implicit presentation of the cat’s size when she uses the expression “kitty” is not reliable. “Crouched” and “compact” help make us feel it is quite natural for the woman to refer to the cat as “kitty,” it being a realization of what she wishes the cat to be like: “ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘under the table.’ Then, ‘Oh, I wanted it so much. I wanted a kitty’ ”.
These two devices…
          have the effect of concealing from the reader the cat’s true size and sort.
          Besides, the woman’s use of the affectionate expression “kitty” further makes the reader believe that the cat is actually small. And this effect lasts till the final scene of the story, when the reader is brought face-to-face with a big tortoise-shell cat.
          By carefully employing these verbal devices to make the cat appear small, the narrator skillfully created this effect of frustrated expectation.
          the location of the American tourists’ hotel room and the use of the two words discussed above, serve to make it impossible to identify the “cat in the rain.”


Another device that makes the cat’s identification difficult lies in the specific position of the husband lying on the bed, reading a book.
          Had the husband been sitting on a chair, he might have gone to the window to have a look at “the cat” as a natural course of action.
          To enhance the function of the three devices which produce the effect of unidentifiability (the location of the room, the two discussed words, and single witnessing),                                  
          the woman takes her eyes off the cat when she goes downstairs to get it and thus she loses certainty of the cat’s identity.
          ***It is particularly noteworthy that the woman’s aversion of her eyes from the cat is carefully paired with single witnessing. When she looks away from the cat, it becomes impossible to restore the certainty of identity. In this way, by this carefully created setting and these stylistic techniques, the cat is made impossible to identify. The cat is an unidentifiable cat, effectively named “Cat in the rain” 

On George

          is endowed with ample means of identification in the story.
          The first specification of George comes from the fact he is immediately present in the room with the woman so his wife sees his existential reality.
          Secondly, he is identified by being depicted lying on the same bed and remaining in the same posture before and after his wife goes downstairs.
          At the level of what Mick Short calls the character–character dimension of discourse, the husband’s sameness of posture symbolizes the woman’s feeling of boredom with him; while, at the narrator–narratee level of discourse, it helps convey greater probability in regard to the stability of the man’s identity. 

On the story itself

          The story begins with a reference to the two Americans and a description of the general setting, then shifts to the viewpoint of the woman.
          Reference to the man is from the woman’s perspective.
           After the woman returns from downstairs, “empathy” (Kuno) is transferred to the man.
          Even when empathy was with the woman, she was referred to only by the common nouns “wife” and “girl.” After her return, the man is referred to by a proper noun, “George,” one of the highest degrees of empathy
          Empathy:  (E [George] > E [a wife, a girl]) (Kuno 203–270).
       -wife:“She opened the door of the room.
        husband: George was on the bed, reading” 


          The direction of specification is from less specified to more specified, as we see in the reference to the man as “husband” before she goes downstairs, and “George” after she comes back.
          This follows the same natural course of specification as that which Tuen van Dijk calls “normal ordering of state descriptions” (van Dijk 106) (general → specific, or whole → part / component).
          This “general to specific” reference does not appear in the sequence from “a cat,” in the early part of the story, to “a big tortoise-shell cat”, at the end, because the initial cat, as I have discussed so far, is not specified as “small” or “big,” “tortoise-shell” or not.
          Greater specification of a referent is possible only when it has been introduced with less specification.
                  To symbolize this slippery nature of reality beyond words, Hemingway created a linguistic fiction in the guise of a “cat in the rain,” using the above discussed stylistic and narrative devices. This is most evident when the cat is compared with George. Though set within the diegetic world of the story, George’s identity is never questioned because he is placed in the immediate presence of the American woman. The existence of the cat in the rain, in contrast, is questioned because it lacks this immediacy.


            Altogether I would say that the theme of the story is the problems that a relationship has, when one partner becomes dominant or repressive and the other is trying to change and improve the situation. If they are aware of their problems they might be able to save their marriage, but if they do not recognize that their relationship will become more and more like the depressive weather in this short story, until there will be winter when their love will die. 


Poem Analysis: She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways

Summary of the Analysis:
She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways

The poem "She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways" is very simple. It consists of three short stanzas. The first two stanzas focus on Lucy while she is still alive, and the last stanza tells the reader of Lucy's death and the poet's response to it. In these short stanzas, the poet tells of his admiration and singular devotion to Lucy and his utter despair over her death.  

Characteristics of Poem
          Using simple diction
           is simple only in appearance.
           Its language is so lucid and "ordinary",
          economical stanzas of four lines each with every second line (ab ab) rhyming give the poem simplicity, like the subject itself.
          used the typical ballad meter of iambic stressed/unstressed, in which the first and third lines typically have four stresses, and the second and fourth have three stresses.
           words mostly consist of one syllable
His purpose in writing this seems to be twofold. The poem is his own pensive meditations or reflections about his feelings of loss, particularly in losing Lucy. And the other purpose is to elevate her status by offering her this ode in which he praises the unrecognized beauty of this ideal woman.

On the Poem
          In the first stanza, lines like, "none to praise," "very few to love," and the word "untrodden" tell the reader that Lucy was a nobody to everyone except the poet.
          In the second stanza, Wordsworth's aim is to show her innocence and beauty again. He uses two simple metaphors to emphasize these qualities. "A violet by a mossy stone" and "Fair as a star, when only one is shining in the sky."
          " Diction is also used here to create impact. She is a flower unnoticed, "half-hidden from the eye." So, she is not the beautiful violet out in full glory for the world to see but is half-hidden by a stone instead.
          Her isolation is also revealed in the second metaphor. She is "fair as a star," but when there is only one star in the entire sky. She is pure and rare. Some speculate that Wordsworth is referring to the star Venus who comes out all alone after sunset and is hence, the first star.
          In the third stanza, Wordsworth tells the reader of Lucy's death. He doesn't just say she died. He says, "She ceased to be," which creates greater impact with the typical expectancy of an infinitive. Again, the diction of anonymity is shown in that she lived "unknown" and "few could know."
           However, in the last two lines, her significance to Wordsworth is made very clear with "and oh, the difference to me!" Wordsworth clearly experiences a great sense of loss at her death. This last line also emphasizes her "only one" status as the only star in the sky.
          The exclamation point at the end of the poem puts even more emphasis on his feelings of love and loss, even though they seem sparsely understated.
          Besides metaphors, there are also other literary techniques used to emphasize portions of the text. However, the sparse diction is part of the appeal so there is not an abundance of elements.
          Alliteration is used in lines like "half-hidden." Sibilance is used throughout with lines like "as a star" and "sky." The sibilance serves to emphasize the remoteness of the subject and the poem itself. It serves to emphasize the lonely atmosphere and woman that Wordsworth describes.
          Assonance is used in almost every line of the poem. "Dove, " "none," "love," "mossy stone" "I shining," "sky," "unknown," "know," "ceased," "be," "she, " "me" and many more. The use of this repeated assonance gives the poem a musical or nursery rhyme quality about it.
          Verbs are used often in the infinitive form to signal hope. "To love," "to praise," and "to be" are examples.
          His two metaphors serve to illustrate the contrast in her. In some ways, she is a half-hidden flower and in other ways the only star in the sky. In either case, she is completely isolated from others and almost seems a part of Nature. 

In many ways, this poem is a beautiful elegy. As Wooding says, "If all elegies are mitigations of death, the Lucy poems are also meditations on simple beauty, by distance made more sweet and by death preserved in distance" (Woodring 48). William Wordsworth has shown the reader through economical diction and beautiful simplicity his love for this neglected woman whose beauty and dignity were overlooked by everyone but the poet. From his short descriptions, the reader almost feels that she can picture this woman in her mind and feels sadness at the passing of one so largely ignored by everyone but the poet. 

She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
Maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love:

A violet by a mosy tone
Half hidden from the eye!
---Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.

She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me!

William Wordsworth