03.08.2022 0 Автор Julia Gulevich


  1. Introduction. Information about the author. (Some data about the writer’s biography, creative activities and outlook are required.) If possible the student should say a few words about the novel from which the excerpt is taken.
  2. The summary of the extract. It must be short (1/4 of the original text) and logical.
  3. The structure of the text. If possible exposition, complications, climax and denouement should be identified. The text must be as well subdivided into logically complete parts. The student should say whether the text is the first or the third person narration, what forms of subject matter presentation are predominant in the text (the author’s narration, description, dialogue, psychological portraiture of the characters) and in what parts.
  4. The general atmosphere of the text. (It may be dry, unemotional, emotional, vivid, bright, tense, dramatic, pathetic, tragic, humorous, ironical, satirical, sarcastic, etc.) It may change throughout the text . These changes are to be accounted for. Also examples from the text should be given to show how the author creates this or that kind of atmosphere, what words and stylistic devices help him to do it.
  5. The characters of the extract, whether they are described directly (i. e. the author himself names their features) or indirectly (i. e. through their actions, speech, thoughts, appearance), what kind of people they are judging by the text, what kind of relations can be observed between them. The author’s attitude to the characters, is it expressed clearly enough or is it not expressed? The students are obliged to present their own attitude to the characters and to ground it substantially. Also examples from the text are required to prove each idea of the student.
  6. The general characteristics of the style of the extract. Vocabulary and syntax employed by the author. Can any instances of bookish and colloquial vocabulary be found? Why docs (he author use it? What kinds of sentences predominate in different pans of the text? Does the author use stylistic devices amply or sparingly? Is his style in general vivid, clear and emotional or matter-of-fact and constrained ?
  7. The main idea (message) of the text. i.e. what the author wanted to tell the reader by this extract, the underlying thoughts and ideas of the author. It must be formulated by the student laconically
  8. The student’s evaluation of the text under analysis. It may logically continue the previous item of the plan. The student must express his attitude to the message of the text and other ideas conveyed by the author and state whether these ideas are important and urgent. Stylistic and compositional peculiarities of the text are also to be dwelt upon here.

The last two items of the plan are of paramount importance. Everything must be well thought-out and substantially proved.


THE PLOT is a series of interlinked events in which the characters of  the story participate. One should bear in mind that the events in a plot need not always involve physical movement, the movement may be psychological. In the latter case the plot reveals the dynamics in the psychological state of a character. The plot of any story always involves character and conflict. They imply each other.

CONFLICT in fiction is the opposition or struggle between forces or characters Conflicts are classified into internal and external. Different types of external conflicts are usually termed in the following way.

  1. Man against man, when the plot is based on the opposition between two or more people.
  2. Man against nature (the sea, the desert, the frozen North or wild beasts).
  3. Man against society or man against the established order in the society.
  4. The conflict between one set of values against another set of values. These sets of values may be supported by two groups or two worlds in opposition.

Internal conflicts, often termed as «man against himself, take place within one character. The internal conflict is localized m the inner world of the character and is rendered through his thoughts, feelings, intellectual processes. The character is torn between opposing features of his personality.

The plot of a story may be based upon several conflicts of different types, it may involve both an internal and an external conflict.

Components of the plot structure are Exposition Complications Climax Denouement.

In the exposition the author introduces the theme (i. e. what the story is about), the characters and establishes the setting (i.e. the place and the time of the action). The exposition supplies some information on either all or some of the following questions Who? What? Where? When?

Exposition is followed by the complications, which generally involve actions, though they might involve thoughts and feelings as well. As a rale this structural component consists of several events (or moments of complications). They become tenser as the plot moves towards the moment of the decision the climax.

The climax is the key event, the crucial moment of the story, the point of the highest emotional tension.

The last structural component, the denouement, is the unwinding of the actions, the events which follow the climax. It is the point at which the fats of the mam character is clarified.

A story may have no denouement. By leaving it out the author achieves a certain effect-he invites the reader to reflect on all the circumstances that accompanied the character of the story and to imagine the outcome of all the events himself.

In every literary work the writer’s feelings and emotions are reflected in the tone, attitude and atmosphere.

ATMOSPHERE is the general mood of a literary work. It is affected by such strands of a literary work as the plot, setting, characters, details, symbols and language means Thus in ‘The Oval Portrait» E.A. Рое sets the story in a remote turret of an abandoned castle The main event takes place at midnight. The oval portrait is in a niche and «in deep shade». All these details, the language and the fantastic history of the portrait create the mysterious atmosphere (or mood) of the tale.

The atmosphere may be peaceful, calm, cheerful, cheerless, gloomy, etc.

THE AUTHOR’S ATTITUDE is his view of the characters and actions. It reflects his judgement of them. Attitudes may be agreeable, optimistic, involved, detached, impassive, indifferent, critical, contemptuous, ironical, cynical, etc

The attitude of the author to his subject matter determines the tone of the story.

THE TONE is the light in which the characters and the events are depicted. The tone is, therefore, closely related to atmosphere and attitude.

The tone may be sympathetic or impassive, cheerful or serious, vigorous or matter-of-fact, humorous or melancholy, familiar or official. There are scales in the variations of tone. Thus the tone may be casual, impolite, defiant, offensive, sarcastic, ironical, sneering or bitter,

THE THEME of a story is the main area of interest treated in the story. Various themes may be treated by the writers: love, family relations, school life, an anti-war theme, human relations in various layers of society, the power of beauty, etc.

THE MESSAGE of the story is the most important idea that the author expresses in the process of developing the theme. The message is closely connected with the theme and is generally expressed implicitly, i.e. indirectly, and has a complex analytical character.




The text under analysis/study is taken from the novel … belonging to the pen of …, the

famous/well-known/celebrated/popular writer

He belongs to the brilliant school of critical realism/romanticism/modernism, etc,

The author is the master of psychological analysis.

His works are marked by a deep penetration into the soul of man/keen observation of characters.

In his work the author provided the best portrait of.:.

His novels are written with power and brilliance.

His novels and short stories are heavy with satire/sarcasm

The author treats the existing reality negatively and attacks the most common vices of man: cruelty, hypocrisy, greediness, money-worship,etc.

The author viewed human nature from all sides

What we value most in N’s works is his brilliant/vivid style/refined treatment of characters/ deep insight into human nature/ powers of psychological analysts/ fine sense of humour/humanism and optimism/belief in human nature, etc.

The author gained his popularity as a short-story writer/playwright/essayist.

N’s manner of writing is characterized by the sincerity of intonation and spontaneity of presentation.

N’s numerous novels have conquered the world by their intricate and absorbing plots.

The author manages to bold the reader’s undivided attention from start to finish.

His success should be attributed to the fact that… [6]

The author is mainly concerned with the problems of the intelligensia/working-class/middle class and its responsibilities towards society.

Economy of expressive means and simplicity are typical of N.

The author’s accuracy is most convincing.

The author possessed a keen and observant eye and in his best works he ridiculed philistinism, narrow-mindedness, hypocrisy, egotism, utilitarian approach to art, etc.

N’s work is marred by cynicism and disbelief in human nature.

N. was a prolific writer.

N. is an incomparable story-teller. He writes with lucidity and almost ostentatious



At (in) the beginning of the text the author describes (depicts, dwells on, touches upon, explains, introduces, mentions, characterizes, analyses, comments on, points out, reveals), etc.      

The extract opens with …

The matter stood like this (stood thus).

The action (scene) is laid in.

The opening scene shows (reveals) …

Then (after that, further (on), next) the author passes on to . . . ( goes on from . . to, goes on to say that . . . , gives a detailed (thorough ) description (analysis, etc.) of .  , digresses from the subject, etc.

This is what followed next.

As the story unfolds ( as the action develops we obtain further information about the characters.

From (in) the next paragraph we learn that.

Here the extract reaches its culminating point (climax).

In conclusion the author describes (touches upon,etc.)

The author concludes with the description (explanation, mentioning the fact that …)

The extract (story, text) ends with…

To finish with, the author describes…

At the end of the extract (story, text) the author draws the conclusion that . . . (comes to the conclusion that…)

At the end of the story (extract, text) the author sums it all up by saying that   ,etc.

The concluding words are…


The extract is permeated with deep concern and sympathy towards …

The extract can be subdivided into … logically complete parts.

The extract is practically wholly a narrative (a dialogue, a description), mostly a dialogue and partially a narrative, mostly a description and partially a dialogue, etc.

The general atmosphere (tone, slant) of the extract is…

As the action develops (unfolds) the general atmosphere changes.[7]

The choice of words, syntactical patterns, some expressive means and stylistic devices (SD) help the author to create this atmosphere, to enhance the effect of gloom (dramatic tension, irony, to express his sympathetic /scornful, ironical/ attitude to the characters, to show the misery /wretchedness, blissful happiness, etc./ of the main characters, to accentuate tense relations between the characters, to make the description more vivid, to make the narration and characters more creditable and true-to-life.)

The author’s sympathy lies with…

The writer depicts his characters through their speech, actions, feelings, attitude towards each other, etc.

There are also some instances of direct characterization in the text.

The speech of the characters is (unemotional, (in)expressive, etc.

As far as my attitude to the characters is concerned Iwant to say (to stress, to underline the fact that…), I think, I consider, I’m sure that, there is no doubt (no denying) that…

I am on the side of…

1 sympathize with…, 1 fully support and understand …

My attitude to this character can’t be expressed in a couple of words, because it is a very complex character. On the one hand, he seems to me…, on the other hand, 1 think that…

The  author’s  treatment of his  characters seems  to  me brilliant (superb,  perfect, unsurpassed, poor, /un/convincing, true-to-Iife, realistic), etc.

The author lets the reader form his notion (opinion, judgement) of the characters by himself.

To my mind (in my opinion) the message (main idea) of the extract is the following…

It seems to me that by this extract (story) the author wanted to convey to the reader the following message (ideas, thoughts)…

I fully/dis/agree with the author in that…

As far as my evaluation of the text is concerned 1 want to say that (it seems to me that…, I found the text interesting, not very interesting, gripping, thrilling, entertaining, merely amusing, sparkling with brilliant humour and wit, thought-provocative, too far-fetched and not very true-to-life, dull, boring, slow-moving),etc

The ideas expressed by the author are very close to me because…

His ideas concerning … are still important, vital and urgent.

In this extract the author touches upon the most burning problems of mankind, the eternal problems. [8]


Virtuous characteristics:































Evil characteristics:




































capricious [9]


well-drawn; vividly-drawn; true-to-life; convincing; complex; subtle; poorly-drawn; superficial; flat; lacking in depth; unconvincing; Iifeless;

NOTES: All characters can nearly always be subdivided into main and minor If there is one mate character who deserves our praise, sympathy and admiration, he or she may be called the hero/heroine Note that the words hero/heroine imply that he or she is the most important character of the book and a person whom a reader can admire Main hero/heroine is therefore incorrect. We say either main character or hero/heroine. Toe main character may also be called the protagonist. The antagonist is the personage opposing the protagonist, (hero). The villain is the character with marked negative features. Sometimes in a literary work the writer will give us two characters with distinctly opposing features, we then say that one character serves as a foil to the other. (For example Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson) If a character is developed round one or several features, he becomes a type or a caricature A type is characterized by qualities that are typical of certain social group or class A caricature is a character so exaggerated that he appears ridiculous and distorted,

yet recognizable.

Characters may be simple (flat) or complex (wen-rounded). Simple characters are constructed round a simple trait. Complex characters undergo change and growth, reveal various sides of their personalities. Contradictory features within a character make it true-to-life and convincing.

The words positive/negative are not applied to literary characters in die sense of положительный-отрицательный. There are no English equivalents for these words as used in literary criticism. Such words are preferable when speaking about characters: sympathetic, unsympathetic, admirable, virtuous, wicked, immoral, selfish, etc.


to offend smb

to adore smb. for smth.

to insult smb. with smth.                                                                 

to despise smb. for smth.

to treat smb. well (badly, with respect, unjustly, etc.)

to be indifferent to smb.

to feel (have) contempt for smb.

to bate smb. for smth.

to praise smb. for smth.

to blame smb. for smth./doing smth.

to condemn smb. for smth/doing smth.

to humiliate smb. with smth.

to betray smb.

to find fault with

to make fun of smb. [10]

to annoy smb. by smth.

to frighten (scare) smb. by smth.

to cringe before smb.

to reproach smb. for smth/doing smth.

to flatter smb. 

to worship

to admire

to let smb. down

to bore

to feel pity for smb.

to threaten smb. with smth.

to jeer at smb.   

to sneer at smb.     

to mock at smb.

to poke fun at smb.


EXPRESSIVE MEANS are phonetic, lexical, word-buildmg, phraseological, syntactical forms which exist in the language as a system for the purpose of logical and emotional intensification of the utterance, for example toe belong the diminutive suffixes -ie, -y, -let, interjections and exclamations, slangisms and jargonisms, proverbs, sayings and set expressions, syntactical emphatic constructions (e. g.: You do look smart today. It was he who came the first.), inversion (e.g.: Up went the curtain.), the use of «shall» in the second and third persons (e.g.: You shall be punished!)

Expressive means are concrete facts of the language, they already exist ready for the usage and are not specially created by the writer

STYLISTIC DEVICES do not exist in the language as the unite ready for use. They are abstract patterns of the language filled with a definite content when used in speech. The stylistic effect of this or that device is based upon the clash of two meanings of a lexical unit: dictionary and contextual. Compare:

She gave me a sweet bun.   She gave me a sweet smile.    The word «sweet» in the second sentence is a stylistic device-epithet, whereas in the first sentence it is a simple adjective used in its direct dictionary meaning

EPITHET is a stylistic device based on an interplay of contextual and dictionary meaning in an attribute word, phrase or sentence. It is necessary to differentiate between simple adjectives and poetic epithets. Epithets are subjectively evaluative, they create an image, whereas simple adjectives indicate those features of the object which are generally recognized as inherent properties of the things spoken about. [11]


a bright sun

a sweet bun

snow-white peaks of the mountains

a voiceless man

a blue sky

Epithets: a bloody sun a sweet smile a snow-white skin voiceless sands   a copper sky

According to the compositional structure we distinguish the following types of epithets:

1) simple (a dark forest; a true love)

2) compound ( snow-white skin; heart-burning sigh)

3) phrase (It was this do-it-yourself attitude; a tired end-of-the day gesture)

4) sentence (Those innocent I-don’t-know-what you-are-talking-about-eyes.)

Another structural variety is the type catted reversed. Reversed epithets are composed of two nouns linked in an «of-phrase»; (an angel of a girl, a doll of a wife, a rascal of a husband, a shadow of a smile)

According to the principle of semantics epithets are subdivided into associated and unassociated.

Associated epithets are those which point to a feature which is essential to the object they describe, its inherent feature. Eg : dark forest; dreary midnight, careful attention; fantastic terrors

Unassociated epithets are attributes used to characterize the object by adding a feature not inherent in it, i. e. a feature which may be so unexpected as to strike the reader by its novelty. These epithets may seem strange and unusual, for they, so to say, impose a property on the objects, which is fitting exclusively in the given circumstances. E.g.: heart-burning smile; sullen earth; voiceless sands

From the point of view of the distribution of the epithets in the sentence we distinguish     the string of epithets and the transferred epithet.

Transferred epithets are ordinary logical attributes used to characterize human beings,       but referred to lifeless things: (a sleepless pillow, an angry sky, laughing valleys). If there      I are a number of epithets appearing usually in an ascending order we have a string of epithets.

E. g.: And then in a nices old-fashioned, lady-like, maiden-lady way she blushed. (A. Christie.)

Such was the background of the wonderful, cruel, enchanting, bewildering, fatal, great city. (O. Henry.)

METAPHOR is a stylistic device based on the principle of comparison of two objects Some important quality is transferred from one object to another, this second object being devoid of this quality, thus, by this comparison a significant feature of the second object is revealed in an imaginary way.

E.g. O, never say that I was false of heart,

Though absence seemed my flame to qualify. (Shakespeare)

The word «flame» here is used metaphorically, it stands for «love» and accentuates the passion of this feeling.

Some more examples of metaphors:

Her eyes were two profound menacing gun barrels. (Eyes and gun barrels are compared.) Gusts of wind whispering here and there. ( The sound produced by the gusts of wind is compared with whisper.) [12]

These metaphors are unpredictable. They are called fresh (genuine, original). There are metaphors which are commonly used in speech and sometimes even fixed in the dictionaries. They are called trite (dead, hackneyed).

E. g.: time flies, floods of tears, the apple of one’s eye, (roots) of evil, a flight of imagination, to burn with desire, etc.

Metaphor has no formal limitations; it can be a word, a phrase, a sentence. There are not only simple, but also sustained (prolonged) metaphors. The latter occur whenever one metaphorical statement, creating an image, is followed by another, containing a continuation or logical development of the previous metaphor. E. g.: «In November a cold, unseen stranger, whom the doctors called Pneumonia, stalked about the colony, touching one here and there with his icy fingers. Over on the East side this ravager strode boldly, smiting his victims by scores. Mr. Pneumonia was not what you would call a chivalric old gentleman…» (O. Henry. «The last leaf»)

This sustained metaphor is a sample of personification which consists in transferring human features to abstract notions and lifeless objects. The objects personified may be substituted by personal pronouns he/she and used with the verbs of speech, mental activity, wish, etc. Sometimes they are spelt with the capital letter.

E.g.: And Time_that gave doth now this gift confound        Time doth transfix the flourish set of youth And delves the parallels in beaty’s brow, Feeds on the rarities of nature’s truth.

METONYMY consists in applying the name of an object to another object that is in some way connected with the first.

Whenever we say something like: «The kettle is boiling.» or «The gallery applauded.» we do not actually mean the vessel or the theatre balcony, but what is connected with them: the water, or the spectators. The thought; is thus concretized and the expression’ shortened, (cf.: the water in the kettle, the spectators in the gallery)

Metonymic relations are varied in character. Their main types are the following:

1) Names of tools used instead of the names of actions: E. g.: He is a famous pen.

2) What a person possesses may be used for the person himself: E. g.: He married money.

3) The container may be used for what is contained: E g.: She is fond of the bottle

4) Symbol used instead of the object symbolized (e. g. a crown for king or queen) SYNECDOCHE is a kind of metonymy. It is based on a specific kind of metonymic

relationship when a part stands for a whole or a whole for a part, an individual for a whole

class, or a whole class for an individual

AUTONOMASIA is the use of a proper name for a common one, or vice versa E.g.: He is a typical Don Juan (I. e. he possesses all features of Don Juan).

What can be prettier than an image of love on his knees before Beauty? (W. M. Thackeray.)

SIMILE is an imaginative comparison. This is an explicit statement of partial identity of two objects. In a simile there are always two names of two separate objects and a word or я word group signalizing the idea of juxtaposition and comparison These formal signals [13] are mostly the conjunctions «like» and «as» ( «if, as though), «than» There may also be verbs, such as: to resemble, to remind one of or verbal phrases: to bear a resemblance to, to have a look of.

E. g.: » He is as beautiful as a weathercock.» (O. Wilde)

The common feature is expressly indicated it is beauty that unites him with a weathercock.

Eg «My heart is like a singing bird.» (Rossetti)

Here the most probable reason for likening a person’s heart to a singing bird would be the feeling of happiness: the poet’s heart is as gay as the bird that enjoys the pleasures of life.

Simile is close to metaphor in that the latter is also based on analogy in dissimilar things. The difference is that the metaphor has no formal element to indicate comparison and therefore the anatogy upon which the metaphor is based sometimes if way difficult to perceive, whereas in simile it is obvious.

HYPERBOLE is a deliberate exaggeration of some quality or quantity or size of an object. It serves to intensify one certain property of the object and adds vividness to the description. Hyperbole is an expression of emotional evaluation of reality by a speaker. The main sphere of use of hyperbole is colloquial speech, in which the form is hardly ever controlled and the emotions are expressed directly without any particular reserve. Many colloquial hyperboles are stereotyped:

A thousand pardons/thanks I’ve told you forty times. He was frightened/scared/sick to death.

I’d give worlds for it.       Haven’t seen you for ages.

An expressive hyperbole, as distinct from trite ones (used in everyday speech), is an exaggeration on a big scale. There must be something illogical in it, something unreal, utterly impossible, contrary to common sense.

E.g.: «One after another those people lay down on the ground to laugh-and two of them died. One of the survivors remarked…» (M. Twain)

«There 1 took oat my pig … and gave him such a kick that he went out the other end of the alley, twenty feet ahead of his squeal,» (O. Henry )

» And talk! She could talk the hind leg off a donkey! (Peters.)

OXYMORON is a stylistic device in which twoantonymous words are joined together into one syntagm thus creating an image of the clash of the meanings of these words. Oxymoron ascribes some feature to an object incompatible wift that feature. E.g.: «He was magnificently imbecile.» (S. Lewis.)

«…desperate efforts to took their borrid best.(J.B. Priestley) «The major again pressed to his blue eyes the tips of the fingers that were disposed on the ledge of the wheeled chair with careful carelessness.» (Ch. Dickens.)

«Cops enjoy ft, when a body looks timid, hat ia hand, eyes full of nothing » (R Chandler.)-

ZEUGMA is a use -of a word ia the grammatical, but different semantic relations to two adjacent words in the context, the semantic relations being, on the one hand, literal, and, on the other, transferred. As a consequence, the very fact of proximity, of close co-


occurence is unnatural, illogical sine» the resulting combinations are essentially different they simply do not go together.

E.g. «He was alternately cudgeling his brains ..and his donkey.» (Ch. Dickens.) «She dropped a tear and her pocket handkerchief.» (Ch. Dickens.)

«At noon Mrs. Turpin would get out of bed and humour: put on kimono, airs and

PERIPHRASIS is the use of a longer phrasing in place of a possible shorter and plainer form of expression. It implies the round-about, indirect way used to name a familiar object or phenomenon.

This device always demonstrates redundancy of lingual elements. Its stylistic effect

varies from elevation to humour,

E.g.: «Delia was studying under Rosenstock-you know his repute as a disturber of the piano keys (=as a pianist)… Deli a did things in six octaves so promisingly…» (=played

the piano so well.) (O. Henry)

«And then to the waiter he betrayed the fact that the minutest coin and himself were strangers.» (=that had no money at all.)(О.Неnrу.)

ALLUSION is an indirect reference to a historical, literary, mythological, biblical fact or to a fact of everyday life commonly known. The writer heed not explain what he means: he merely mentions some detail.of what he thinks analogous in fiction or history to the topic discussed Allusions are based on the accumulated experience and the knowledge of the writer who presupposes a similar experience and knowledge in the reader.

ANTITHESIS denotes any active confrontation, emphasized co-occurence of notions, really or presumably eontrastive. The purpose of asing this device is to demonstrate the contradictory nature of the object described.

E,g. » It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief. it was the era of incredulity: it was the season of light, it was the season of Darkness.» (Ch. Dickens.)

Another variety of antithesis concerns two different objects of opposed to each other and being given opposite characteristics. This device serves to underline their incompatibiliity,

e.g.:»large homes are still occupated occupied while weavers’ cottages stand empty.’ (Gaskell) «His fees were high  his lessons were light (O Henry.)

deliberate omission of connectives or phrases or clauses in an utterance. It affects the rhythmical organization of the utterance and can be suggestive in a variery of ways.

E g. «She might make a scene. She might introduce those two of the connective»because» serves to empathize  the fact that she was really dangerous.)

POLYSYNDETON is aninsistent repetition of a connective in an utterancs  [15]. E.g.: «They were all from Milan and one of them was to be a painter and one had intended to be a soldier, and after we were finished with the machines, sometimes we walked together to the cafe.» (E. Hemingway.)

The repetition of connectives makes an utterance more rhythmical-so that prose may even seem like poetry. Polysyndeton also serves the purpose of accentuating each fact introduced after the connective.

INVERSION consists in an unusual arrangement of words for the purpose of making one of them more conspicuous, more important, more emphatic. Some elements of the sentence in order to be made emphatic are put either at the beginning or at the end. E.g.: Up went the curtain. (Cf: The curtain went up.)

Beautiful were those flowers. (Cf.: Those flowers were beautiful.) Came frightful days of snow and rain. (Cf: Frightfuldays of snow and rain came.) Yes, sir, tot you can do. (Cf. You can do that, sir.)

PARALLELISM (PARALLEL CONSTRUCTIONS) is assimilation or even identity of two or. more neighbouring sentences (or verse lines.) As a matter of fact parallelism is a variety of repetition, but not a repetition of lexically identical sentences, only a repetition of syntactical constructions: ‘

E.g.. John kept silent; Mary was thinking.

Still much more often it happens that parallel sentences contain the same lexical elements.

E.g.: Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods,

Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods. (Bums)

Parallelism contributes to rhythmic and melodic unification of neighbouring sentences. It also serves to emphasize the repeated element, or to create a contrast, or else underlines the semantic connection between sentences.

RHETORICAL QUESTIONS are utterances in the form of questions which pronounce judgements and also express various kinds of modal shades of meaning, such as doubt, challenge, scorn, irony, etc. The question no longer remains the question but becomes a statement expressed in the form of an interrogative sentence. Questions are more emotional than statements. Rhetorical questions are most often used in publicistic style and particularly in oratory where the rousing of emotions is the effect generally aimed at. E.g.: Isn’t that too bad ? (=That is too bad.)

Did I say a word about money? (=1 didn’t say a word about money.) «What’s the good of a man behind a bit of glass?.. What use is he there and what’s the good of their banks?» (Jerome K. Jerome)




Florence took her seat at the dinner-table, on the day before the second anniversary of her father’s marriage to Edith […], with an uneasiness amounting to dread She had no other warrant tor it , than the occasion, the expression of her father’s face in the hasty [16] glance she caught of it, and the presence of Mr. Carker, which, always unpleasant to her, was more so on this day, than she had ever felt it before.

Edith was richly dress for_she_and Mr. Dombey were engaged in the evening to some large assembly, and the dinner-hour that day was late. She did not appear until they were seated at table, when Mr. Carker rose handled her to her chair. Beautiful and lustrous as she was, there was that in her face an air which seemed to separate her hopelessly from Florence, and from every one, for ever more. And yet, for an instant, Florence saw a beam of kindness in her eyes, when they were turned on her, that made had withdrawn herself, a greater cause of sorrow and regret than ever.

There was very little said at dinner. Florence heard her father speak to Mr. Carker sometimes on business matters, and heard him softly reply, but she paid little attention to what they said, and only wished the dinner at an end. When the dessert was placed upon the table, and they were left alone, with no servant in attendance, Mr Dombey, who had been several times clearing his throat in a manner that augured no good, said-«Mrs Dombey, you know,I suppose, that I have instructed the housekeeper that there will be some company to dinner here tomorrow.»

«I do not dine at home,» she answered.

«Not a large party,» pursued Mr. Dombey, with an indifferent assumption of no having heard her; «merely some twelve or fourteen. My sister, Major Bagstock, and some others whom you know but slightly.»

«I do not dine at home,» she answered.

«However doubtful reason I may have, Mrs. Dombey,» said Mr. Dombey, still going majestically on, as if she had not spoken, «to hold the occasion in very pleasant remembrance just now, there are appearances in these things which must be maintained before the world. If you have no respect for yourself, Mrs. Dombey-«

«I have none,» she said.

«Madam,» cried Mr. Dombey striking his hand upon the table,.»hear me if you please.’ I say, if you have no respect for yourself

«And I say I have none,» she answered.

He looked at her; but the face she showed him in return would not have changed, if death itself had looked.

«Carker,»said Mr. Dombey, turning more quietly to that gentleman, «as you have been my medium of communication with Mrs. Dombey on former occasions, and as I choose to preserve the desencies of life, so far as I individually connected, I will trouble you to — have the gooodness to inform Mrs. Dombey that if she has no respect for herself, I have  some respect for myself, and therefore insist on my arrangements for tomorrow.»

«Tell your sovereign master, sir,» said Edith, «that I will take leave to speak to him on this subject by-and-by and that I will speak to him alone «[…]

«I am not accustomed to ask, Mrs. Dombey,» he observed; «I direct.»

«I will hold no place in your house tomorrow, or on any recurrence or tomorrow. I will be exhibited to no one, as the refractory slave you purchased, such a time.If I kept my  matriage-day. I would keep as a day of shame. Self-respect! appearances before the \ world what are these to me? You have done all you can to make them nothing to me, and   they are nothing.»[17]

» 1 will hold no place in your house tomorrow, or on any recurrence of  tomorrow. I will be exhibited to no one, as the refractory slave you have purchased, such a time. If I kept my marriage-day, I would keep it as a day of shame. Self-respect! appearances before the world! what are these to me? You have done all you can to make them nothing to me, and they are nothing.»

«Carker,» said Mr. Dombey, speaking with knitted brows, and after a moment’s consideration, «Mr. Dombey is so forgetful of herself and me in all this, and places me in a position so unsuited to my character, that I must bring this state of matters to a close.»

«Release me, then,» said Edith, immovable in voice, in look, and bearing as she had «Seen throughout, «from the chain by which I am bound. Let me go.»

«Madam?» exclaimed Mr. Dombey.

«Madam,» he repeated, «Mrs. Dombey?»

«Tellhim,» said Edith, addressing her proud face to Carker, «that! wish for a separation between us. That there had better be one. That I recommend it to him Tell him it may take place on his own terms — his wealth is nothing to me — but that it cannot be too soon.»

«Good heaven, Mrs. Dombey!» said her husband, with supreme amazement, «do you imagine it possible that I could ever listen to such a proposition? Do you know who I am, madam? Do you know what I represent? Did you ever hear of Dombey and Son?» People say that Mr. Dombey — Mr. Dombey! — was separated from his wife! Common people to talk of Mr. Dombey and his domestic affairs! Do you seriously think, Mrs. Dombey, that I would permit my name to be handed about in such connection? Pooh, Pooh, madam! Fie For shame! You’re absurd.» Mr. Dombey absolutely laughed.

But not as she did. She had better have been dead than laugh as she did, in reply, with her intent look fixed upon him. He had better have been dead, than sitting there, in his magnifecence, to hear her. […]

She had better have turned hideous and dropped dead, than have stood up with such a smile upon her face, in such a Men spirit’s majesty of scorn and beauty. She lifted her hand to the tiara of bright jewels radiant on her hand, and, plucking it off with a force that dragged and strained her rich black hair with heedless cruelty, and brought it tumbling wildly on her shoulders, cast the gems upon the ground. From each arm, she unclasped a diamond bracelet, flung it down, and trod upon the glittering heap. Without a word, without a shadow on the fire of her bright eye, without abatement of her awful smile, she looked on Mr. Dombey to the last, in moving to the door; and left him. […]

Yielding at once to the impulse of her affection, timid at all other times, but bold in its truth to him in his adversity, and undaunted by past repulse, Florence, dressed as she was, hurried down-stairs. As she set her light foot in the hall, he came out of his room. She hastened towards him unchecked, with her arms stretched out and crying «Oh dear, dear papa!» as if she would have clasped him round the neck.

And so she would have done. But in his frenzy, he lifted up his cruel arm, and struck her, crosswise, with that heaviness, that she tottered on the marble floor; and as he [18] dealt the blow, he told her what Edith was, and bade her follow her, since they had always been in league.

She did not sink down at his feet; she did not shut out the sight of him with her trembling hands; she did not weep; she did not utter one word of reproach. But she looked at him, and a cry of desolation issued from her heart. For as she looked, she saw him murdering that fond idea to which she had held in spite of him. She saw his cruelty, neglect, and hatred dominant above it, and stamping it down. She saw she had no fafter upon earth, and ran orphaned, from his house. […]

Questions and tasks to the extract from «Dombey and Son»

1. Prepare the summary of the excerpt. Dividing it into logically complete parts will help you to do it.

2. What is the general atmosphere (slant) of the text? i.e. what mood is prevalent in the text? Does it change throughout the text or is it the same?

3. Comment on the author’s mastership in creating the general slant. What stylistic devices help him to do it?

4. What components can be found in the text (narration, description, dialogue, psychological portrayal of the personages)? Prove your point of view by quoting

the text.

5. From whose point of view is the story told, i.e. who is the narrator?

6. What method of characterisation is employed by the author? (Direct, indirect or


7. How can you account for the behaviour of Mr. Dombey? Take into consideration his vocabulary and syntax, his manner of speech. How do the author’s remarks help you to form your notion of this character?

8. How are Edith and Florence characterised? What are their predominant features? Do they have anything in common?

9. What are the relations between the characters like?

10.Give examples of stylistic devices which help the author to picture his personage and the conflict between them more sharply and vividly.

11. What is the author’s attitude to his characters? Is it expressed explicitly and if so —


12.What is your attitude to the characters? Whose side do you take in the conflict? Characterise the style of Dickens in general. Analyse his vocabulary, choice of words, syntax. Does he use stylistic devices amply or sparingly?

14. What is the message of the excerpt?

15.What is your evaluation of the text? How can you account for the subject matter of the text, its structure and composition, its plot, the author’s mastership in portraying his characters and presenting the situation? Are the problems raised in the text close to you? Is the excerpt thought-provoking? [19]


The extract under analysis is taken from the novel «Dombey and Son» which belongs to the pen of the prominent English writer Ch. Dickens, who represented the brilliant school of critical realists. Dickens’s childhood was Ml of hardships and he had to start working at a very young age. His education was mainly achieved by extensive reading and keen observation of people and things around him. In 1837 his first novel « The Posthumous Papers of Pickwick Clttb» appeared which brought him fame and recognition all over Europe. Then Dickens created a number of novels, specially notable for critical and comic treatment of Victorian England. All Dickens’s great works — «Oliver Twist», «The Old Curiosity Shop», «David Copperfield», «Bleak Home», «Great Expectations» and others carry a profound moral message. . In the books of Dickens we have an astonishing combination of creative vigour, inimitable humour and abundant variety of literary technique. Every personality Dickens describes is full of life, striking and unforgettable. Many of them have become recognisable types in English fiction.

The writer possessed a keen and observant eye and in his best works he touched upon the most significant social problems, drawing the reader’s attention to work -houses, the ruling classes’ hypocrisy, egotism and the cruelty of state.

The extract under consideration is taken from the novel «Dombey and Son». The main character of it is Mr. Dombey, head of the firm, a person who is obsessed with money and his business considerations. His best hopes connected with the prosperity of his firm are ruined with the death of his son Paul, his heir. Mr. Dombey, preoccupied with the prestige of his firm marries a second time. His new wife, Edith Granger is a beautiful and proud woman coming from an impoverished aristocratic family. She doesn’t share her husband’s principles. The tension in Mr. Dombey’s family is increasing. And it is clearly seen from this extract, which may be considered one of the climaxes of the whole novel. The extract depicts the scene of a quarrel between Edith and Mr. Dombey at dinner.

The scene is laid in the house of Mr. Dombey. At the beginning of the text the author describes the feelings of Florence before dinner. Florence was Mr. Dombey’s daughter whom he didn’t like and neglected. She was full of apprehensions and forebodings. Edith is described as a beautiful and lustrous woman, but particular attention should be paid to the fact that «there was in her face an air which seemed to separate her hopelessly from Florence, and from every one, for over more.» Further on the author passes on to the description of what happened at dinner and after it. It must be mentioned that there was very little said at dinner. Then Mr. Dombey addressed his wife and told her that next day there would be a large company at his place to mark the second anniversary of their marriage. Edith remarked that she didn’t dine at home. Mr. Dombey very calmly continued pursuing his subject as if he hadn’t heard his wife speak. But finally he lost his temper and stressing the fact that he had to maintain certain appearances before the world he insisted on his arrangements for the next day.

There was one more person present at the table — Mr. Carker, Mr. Dombey’s business partner, whom both husband and wife chose as the medium of [19] communication, though they were both in the room. This fact gives some ironical flavour to the narration and stresses once again that there was an abyss of   . misunderstanding between husband and wife.

As the action develops we obtain further information about the characters. From the next paragraphs we learn that Edith wasn’t going to stay in that house any longer. She begged her husband to set her free and said she wished for their separation. As far as Mr. Dombey was concerned a separation was absurd, unthinkable to him, because he was too much preoccupied with what other people would say about him in such a case. He laughed into the face of his wife, and she, unable to bear it anymore, plucked off her tiara and jewels and left the room.

To finish with,the author describes a detestable scene between Mr. Dombey and Florence. The girl, being very tender and sensitive by nature came up to her father, tried to calm him down, she was going to embrace him, when he struck her cruelly so that she fell on the floor.

The extract ends with Florence’s leaving the house when she understood that actually she had no father on earth.

As for the structure of the text it may be suodivided into three logically complete parts. The first part (it may be called a kind of exposition) comprises the first two paragraphs, where Florence and Edith, their relations and their feelings before dinner are introduced. There are already some signs of tension here, some signs of the coming storm.

The second part is the largest one. It may be called «The quarrel between Edith and Mr. Dombey.» It finishes with the words:»… she looked on Mr. Dombey to the last, in moving to the door, and left him.»

The last part may be called «The incident between Florence and Mr. Dombey.» It cannot possibly be regarded as the denouement of the text, for the tension hardly slackens here. There is no denouement here in the usual sense of the word, but for the climax the scene of Edith’s leaving her husband may be considered as such. (From «She lifted her hand to the tiara…» up to «… and left him.»)

The text presents mostly a narration into which the description of Edith’s appearance and the dialogue and between Edith and Mr. Dombey are blended. Some instances of psychological portraiture of the characters can also be distinguished, first of all, in the first part of the text when the inner state of Florence and Edith is described.

The general atmosphere of the text can be identified as dramatic tension which is increasing from the beginning till the climax and reaches its pinnacle there. In the very beginning the author manages to create the atmosphere of suspense. The reader can’t help but feel that something unpleasant is sure to happen. The words with negative connotation such as «uneasiness», «dread», «unpleasant», «sorrow», «regret» don’t fail to produce the effect of impending tragedy. The situation itself, the contents of the dialogue between husband and wife, their manner of speech and behaviour also brings a dramatic flavour into the narration, there are as well a number of stylistic devices which help die author to outline the conflict and the psychological state of his characters more sharply and vividly. [20]

 E.g.: Repetitions and parallel constructions:

«I do not dine at home»

«I have none» she said…. «And I say I have none,» she answered

«I will hold no place in your house… I will be exhibited to no one…

You have done all you can to make them nothing to me, and they are


«Do you know who I am, madam? Do you know what I represent? Did you ever hear of Dombey and Son?,» etc.

She had better have been dead… He had better have been dead… She

had better have turned hideous …

Without a word, without a shadow on the fire of her bright eye, without

abatement of her awful smile, (note this epithet «awful «. which is especially powerful when used together with such noun as «smile»), etc. The text is especially notable for its brilliant character drawing and it is to the characters that the reader’s special attention must be paid. The text is the third person narration, but the presence of the author is not felt very greatly here, though some instances of direct characterisation can be found, e.g. «beautiful and lustrous», «proud face» (Edith), «cruelty, neelect and hatred» (Mr. Dombey). Mainly the author pictures his characters through their actions and words. Let us first consider the speech characteristics of Mr. Dombey. In the first part of the conversation Mr. Dombey uses pompous and stilted syntax and vocabulary. Maybe it’s his usual manner of communication even with his wife, which ought to have been something more natural and sincere. But his artificial manner of speech and the fact that he used Carker as the interpreter between his wife and himself leave no doubts as to what kind of relations existed between them. It’s awful that a man should speak so addressing his wife as if he were addressing some high-ranking official during negotiations or something like that. The following examples will suffice to show it: «However doubtful reason I may have, Mrs. Dombey, still going majestically on, as if she had not spoken, «to hold the occasion in very pleasant remembrance, etc. or: «Carker,» said Mr. Dombey, turning more quietly to that gentleman, «as you have been my medium of communication with Mrs. Dombey on former occasions, and as I choose to preserve the decencies of life, so far as I am individually concerned, I will trouble you to have the goodness to inform Mrs. Dombey…,» etc. This endless sentence already borders on absurdity.

In this connection special attention should be paid to the repetition of the word «dead», to the metaphor «she saw him murdering that fond idea». Their significance cant be overestimated, they indicate at the death of any normal human relations between any members of this family.

But further on, even Mr. Dombey, who is accustomed to being obeyed to in everything, having understood that Edith isn’t going to fulfil his orders, that it is an open rebellion on her part, loses his temper and flies into a passion. His manner of speech changes. In his last remark he uses plenty of exclamations, repetitions, interjections and rhetorical questions. (See: «Good heaven, Mrs. Dombey!…» up to «you are absurd»). The author managed to convey this change in Mr. Dombey’s state of mind and feelings brilliantly. At first he seemed to be a person as if made of stone, [22] devoid of any emotions, then irritation and anger appeared, and they were caused by Edith’s defiance, by the fact that she had dared to say something against him. Only this managed to arouse some emotions in Mr. Dombey’s heart of stone. Of course no love or affection, parental or that of a spouse can be dwelt upon here.

Mr. Dombey had practically never experienced such feelings and that’s why only anger and irritation were able to arouse some emotions in him. Of course, he is pictured by Dickens only from one side. Not a single positive, or at least, human feature can be found in him. He is represented as a heartless stony monster, devoid of any human feelings, he is a real embodiment of cruelty and hatred, as the author directly puts it in the final lines of the extract. In the same way Edith may be called an embodiment of pride and the spirit of disobedience, freedom and independence. She is • not a dynamic character in the extract and that’s why, maybe, not so interesting as Mr. Dombey. In the very beginning the author declares that there was an air in her face «which seemed to separate her hopelessly from Florence and from every one, for ever more.» She intentionally cut herself off from everybody, she is too far from the others, and there will never be any connections between her and the other inhabitants of this house. Her persistence and perseverance are accentuated by her manner of speech, full of repetitions. Her defiant, self-willed, independent character is outlined to the best advantage in the climax of the text (the scene of plucking off the jewellery and leaving the room). But like Mr. Dombey, she is too flat a character to discuss it in detail Thus, their characters may be reduced to one feature, he to cruelty, she to pride. The central conflict of the extract (between husband and wife) is the conflict of two totally dissimilar outlooks, two absolutely different sets of values. Roughly it may be reduced to the everlasting conflict between Money and Beauty. It is interesting enough that some parallels with Galsworthy’s «Man of Propeaty» can be drawn, particularly with the opposition between Soames and Irene.

As for Florence, she is patience and virtue in flesh. Perhaps she is the character who arouses the warmest feelings in the reader, we can’t but feel pity for her. She is represented as a peace-maker, as a girl, who, having lost her mother, sincerely loves her father and wants to love her stepmother, at least to establish good relations with her. And it is not her fault that she fails in her good intentions.

Characterising the style of Dickens one must first of all mention the vividness of narration, brilliant technique of character drawing and his mastership in creating a certain atmosphere. The writer uses a number of expressive means and stylistic devices to achieve his aim. Repetitions and parallel constructions are rather favoured by Dickens here and their ample use can be accounted for by the aim of conveying to the reader all the shades of the emotional state of his characters. By changes in the syntactical patterns, by the extensive use of exclamatory and interrogative sentences the author brilliantly managed to convey Mr. Dombey’s anger and frenzy and Edith’s proud and independent nature. [23]


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