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The Message of a Literary Work.
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The theme of a story is the main area of interest treated in the story. The theme performs a unifying function. The theme of the story implies the problem which the writer raises.
The message of the story is the most important idea that the author expresses in the process of developing the theme. The theme is therefore organically connected with the author's message.
The message is generally expressed implicity, indirectly, and has a complex analytical character, being created by the interaction of numerous implications which the different elements of the literary work have. It is only by analysis of those implications that one may reveal the message of a literary work.
Implication is the suggestion that is not expressed directly but understood. Implication may be conveyed by different techniques, such as parallelism, contrast, recurrence of events or situations, artistic details, symbols, arrangement of plot structure, etc. Implication may be conveyed by contrast on different levels: linguistic and extralinguistic, reccurence (or repetition): among the repeated linguistic elements there may be stylistic devices, or emotionally coloured words, or even neutral words, but when repeated the latter may acquire special semantic relevance, by the similar features in the varying scenes, and by the varying features in the similar scenes.
When an artistic detail is repeated several times and is associated a broader concept than the original, it develops into a symbol.
A symbol is a word which represents a concept broader than the literal sense of the word. It is therefore something concrete and material standing for something else that is immaterial and has a more significant sense. A symbol is a metaphoric expression of the concept it stands for. Like the metaphor, it is based on the use of a word in its transferred meaning and suggests some likeness between two different objects or concepts.
Symbols may be traditional or personal. An example of a traditional symbol is a rose. The rose is a traditional symbol of beauty. A writer establishes personal symbols by means of repetition and repeated association with a broader concept.
Presupposition is also a means of conveying special implication. It is a characteristic feature of modern fiction to begin a story at a point where certain things are already taken for granted.
The author's message does not lie on the surface. It is usually expressed implicity and may be suggested by a variety of means — parallelism, contrast, repetition, artistic details, symbols.
The author's message is not always a solution of the problems raised in.the story. At times the writer raises urgent and relevant problems, the solution of which it is as yet difficult to foresee. His intention may not be to suggest a certain solution, the writer may intend only to raise the problem and focus the reader's attention on it. In such cases the message of his literary work will not suggest any solution. It will pose the problem and reveal its relevance. Moreover, the message depends on the writer's outlook, and the reader may either share the writer's views or not.
The message more often than not acquires definite shape in the process of deep thought about what the writer discovered when observing reality. It reflects his attitude to the discovered aspect of people's nature and relations, his understanding of the influence of social phenomena and conventions upon the individual.
The message generally has an evaluative character. The message of a storyns inferred from the synthetic images created by the author and does not exist separately from them. The synthetic images embody the message. The protagonist, in particular, is often considered to be the message itself. Therefore, it is mainly through the characters that the message is revealed. Besides that, the message cannot be revealed without taking into account the theme of the story, as well as the author's attitude.
When analysing the message contained in the work one must also take into consideration the title of the story.
The title is the first element to catch our eye, but its meaning and function may be determined only retrospectively. The title acquires its precise meaning when related to the whole story. Then it may acquire a totally different meaning, contrary to what its components generally mean.
The title may have the following functions:
1. It may serve as a means of conveying the author's message. There are titles which actually formulate the author's message.
2. It may serve as a means of cohesion — it may unite the components of a story to form a whole.
3. The title may serve as a means of focussing the reader's attention on the most relevant characters or details (e.g. The Lady's Maid byK.Mansfield, Hamlet by W. Shakespeare).
4. The title may characterize the protagonist (e.g. The Man of Property by J.Galsworthy).
5. Any title orients the reader towards the story. It may then serve as a means of foreshadowing (e.g. Mistaken Identity by M.Twain). It may also disorientate the reader, when it contrasts with the story and
acquires an ironic ring (e.g. The Pleasures of Solitude by J.Cheever).
The objective message is the final conclusion that the reader draws from the analysis of his own response to the story and from the author's message, contained in the story. The objective message may be broader than the author's message, because it is based on more profound historical experience. Every new generation judges the literary works created a century or more ago in a new way, as the new generation possesses more information about the outcome of many historical processes than the writers of those works could foresee.
Style in Language.
The word s tуle is derived from the Latin word 'stylus' which meant a short stick sharp at one end and flat at the other used by the Romans for writing on wax tablets.
Now the word ‘style’ is used in so many senses that it has become a breeding ground for ambiguity. The word is applied to the teaching of how to write a composition; it is also used to reveal the correspondence between thought and expression; it frequently denotes an individual manner of making use of language; it sometimes refers to more general, abstract notions thus inevitably becoming vague and obscure. Some linguists consider that the word 'style' and the subject of linguistic stylistics is confined to the study of the effects of the message, its impact on the reader.
Style is a quality of language which communicates precisely emotions or thoughts, or a system of emotions or thoughts, peculiar to the author. Style is a product of individual choices and patterns of choices among linguistic possibilities. Style is regarded as something that belongs exclusively to the plane of expression and not to the plane of content.
The term 'style', being ambiguous, needs a restricting adjective to denote what particular aspect of style we intend to deal with. The term individual style should be applied to that sphere of linguistic and literary science which deals with the peculiarities of a writer's individual manner of using language means to achieve the effect he desires. Deliberate choice must be distinguished from a habitual idiosyncrasy in the use of language units, every individual has his own manner and habits of using them. The speech of an individual which is characterized by peculiarities typical of that particular individual is called an idiоleсt.
The individual style of a writer is marked by its uniqueness. It can be recognized by the specific and peculiar combination of language media and stylistic devices which in their interaction present a certain system. This system derives its origin from the creative spirit, and elusive though it may seem, it can nevertheless be ascertained. The individual style of a writer will never be entirely independent of the literary norms and canons of the given period.
The individual style is a unique combination of language units, expressive means and stylistic devices peculiar to a given writer, which makes that writer's works or even utterances easily recognizable. Individual style may be likened to a proper name. It. has nominal character. Individual style is based on a thorough knowledge of the contemporary language and also of earlier periods in its development. Individual style allows certain justifiable deviations from the rigorous norms.
Individual style requires to be studied in a course of stylistics in so far as it makes use of the potentialities of language means, whatever the character of these potentialities may-be.
The notion of the norm mainly refers to the literary language and always presupposes a recognized or received standard. It presupposes vacillations of the received standard.
The fact that there are different norms for various types and styles of language does not exclude the possibility and even the necessity of arriving at some abstract notion of norm as an invariant, which should embrace all variants with their most typical properties. Each style of language will have its own invariant and variants. Both oral and written varieties can also be integrated into an invariant of the standard language.
The norm, therefore, should be regarded as the invariant of the phonemic, morphological, lexical and syntactical patterns circulating in language-in-action at a given period of time. Variants of these patterns may sometimes diverge from the invariant but they never exceed the limits set by the invariant lest it should become unrecognizable or misleading. The development of any literary language shows that the variants will always center around the axis of the invariant forms. The variants, as the term itself suggests, will never detach themselves from the invariant to such a degree as to claim entire independence.
Establishment of language is a commonly accepted connotation of style. Language and style as embellishment are regarded as separate bodies. According to this idea language can easily dispense with style, because style here is likened to the trimming on a dress. Moreover, style as embellishment of language viewed as something that hinders understanding.
Teсhnique of expression is a very popular notion of style. In this sense style is generally difined as the ability to write clearly, correctly and in a manner calculated to interest the reader.
The term 'style' is widely used in literature to signify literary genre: classical style, realistic style, the style of romanticism and so on. The use of the word 'style' has sometimes been carried to unreasonable lengths, thus blurring the terminological aspect of the word. It is applied to various kinds of literary works: the fable, novel, ballad, story, etc. The term is also used to denote the way the plot is dealt with, the arrangement of the parts of literary composition to form the whole, еhe place and the role of the author in describing and depicting events.
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