Каталог статей из сборников научных конференций и научных журналов- On some lexical peculiarities of modern American fictional discourse: stylistic approach

XI международная научно-практическая конференция
Актуальные вопросы теории и практики филологических исследований

On some lexical peculiarities of modern American fictional discourse: stylistic approach

E. A. Slesova Student,

South Federal University,

Rostov-on-Don, Rostov region, Russia


One of the strategies of modern text linguistics is the analysis of the idiostyle as a communicative system determined by such an integral component as the author's personality in the combination of his psychological, socio-cultural and cognitive features. Within the framework of the linguistic approach, the idiostyle is interpreted as a set of linguistic and textual-stylistic features inherent in the author's language. The point of view considering phenomenon a set of extralinguistic factors that contribute to the expression of the author's personality is also widespread. In addition, a more comprehensive approach exists, incorporating views within the framework of both purely linguistic and extralinguistic approaches and describing the idiostyle as the creative personality of the author plus linguistic means [8, c. 76]. The third approach seems quite reasonable, because when reading a literary work, the reader most often perceives the author's personality through the prism of various linguistic means and stylistic techniques.

In the modern scientific environment, there are no unified approaches to the interpretation of the categories "idiostyle" and "individual speech of a writer" in the context of the linguo-stylistic analysis of a literary text. The system-structural approach is most widely used to identify the essence of the concept of "idiostyle", which is characterized by a structural study of the style of a literary text, where the central place belongs to the author's image (fr. Revzina, S. Zolyan, O. Severskaya, S. Preobrazhensky, etc.) [6]. According to V. V. Vinogradov, one of the main tasks of clarifying the internal unity of the stylistic means of a literary text is the problem of the structure of the author's figurative speech. The scientist points out that the internal connection of all the elements of the author's idiostyle creates a certain specific literary unity, due to the trends in the development of literary genres.

The aesthetically marked approach to the interpretation of the essence of the idiostyle is associated with the aesthetic modification of the author's specific means of expression as a prerequisite for the formation of his individual method [3, c. 18–20].

Representatives of the figurative-compositional approach focus on the uniqueness of the individual style in terms of the unique individual dynamics of speech forms, the figurative transformation of text formation and compositional techniques for the formation of prose stanzas [5, c. 5].

The communicative approach is supported by such researchers as N. Bolotnova, N. Golovanova, B. Chernyavskaya, and others. N. Bolotnova connects attention to the idiostyle with the communicative approach to the style of the text. The individual style that manifests itself in textual activity in the process of communication reflects the language culture, the type of thinking, the thesaurus [4].

The addressee-oriented approach is associated with the problem of identifying the effectiveness of the author's text activity in relation to the addressee, taking into account the specifics of his speech personality. The text as a message is considered in the works of I. V. Arnold, who believes that stylistic analysis should be carried out on the basis of the reader's own perception of the author's text [2].

The functional-dominant approach, based on the stylistic analysis of the text and the identification of special idiostylistic dominant concepts and various linguistic ways of its representation, is used in the works of Y. Tynyanov [9, 272-277]. Thus, the idiostyle is not a static phenomenon but a dynamic, time-varying phenomenon [1]. The purpose of describing an idiostyle is to relate it to the term "concept".

Thus, the idiostyle can be understood as a system that combines intra-linguistic characteristics, represented by linguistic multi-level units, along with extralinguistic factors, as a system that "exposes" the features of the author's presentation of the material, contributing to the expansion of his and the reader's language competence, which generally creates grounds for the objectivity of the assessment of characters.

It is obvious that one of the main objects to which the author's attention is directed is consciousness and its interaction with the surrounding reality. It is worth noting that the fears of S. King's readers are reflected in the fears of his characters, which allows a reader to feel their emotions and experiences more deeply, the author does not just describe the feelings of the characters, but also uses literary and linguistic techniques to awaken feelings and emotions in the reader himself. A similar effect can be observed in the novel by S. King "Dreamcatcher", in which the study of lexical units from the point of view of their stylistic marking is of great interest. Thus, one of the most frequently used by the author lexical stylistic techniques is the epithet. For example, in the sentence "Sky overhead is white and rainy, but the air is good." [10] the epithets "white", "rainy" and "good" become representatives of the elements of the topos. Weather conditions are an important aspect of the novel, as they allow us to reveal how the situation in which the characters of the novel are located turns out to be harsh or on the contrary favorable, which helps to describe the tense situation in detail: "Silence, static, and the monotonous howl of the wind" [10]. The epithets static and monotonous emphasize the unjustified expectations of the characters, which creates contextual wariness and excessive concentration of the characters on the events.

Descriptions of pain sensations are an integral part of works in the genre of horror and science fiction, as the characters fall into extreme conditions and certain physical injuries are inevitable: "This was non-compromise pain, blitzkrieg agony" [10]. The author does not just say that the character is in pain, he emphasizes with the epithets non-compromise and blitzkrieg that the pain was unbearable, which further enhances the effect of terror on the reader, as well as makes him sympathize the character. "He was the one who was in trouble here, the pain coming up from his knee in baked spasms, hot and terrible" [10]. The state of hopelessness expressed by the epithets in this sentence conveys the hero's fear and despair.

The author pays attention to some epithets describing the appearance – such as awesome dreads, which is perhaps an integral part of the description of the characters, and it most clearly tells about the personalities of the characters.

The sounds in the novel "Dreamcatcher" provide the effect of suspense to the atmosphere of the work. The author portrays silence with such epithets as everlasting and dead, and uses epithets to describe voices: miserable voice, don't-wake-the-baby voice, I'm-still-dreaming voice [10].

"Dreamcatcher" tells the story of the invasion of some alien forces and this fact cannot but affect the lexical content of the work. For example, there are references to unidentified flying objects described by the epithets disc-shaped and boomerang-shaped, and to enhance the effect of mystery in the sentence "Mystery lights once again reported in Jefferson tract" [10] the epithet mystery is used.

In the sentence "The idea filled Jonesy with unreasoning horror" [10] the hero is in a state of an extreme danger. He is trying to avoid an unknown frightening creature, which, as he has already realized, can take his life. Jonesy understands that the monster is trying to get to him, and the epithet unreasoning helps to express his emotional state.

Metaphor is often objectified in the discourse of S. King, being an important element for understanding the specifics of the author's individual style. Giving an evaluative tone to the statement, having the ability to express predicativity and modality, the metaphor accurately reflects reality from an artistic point of view and is closely connected with the creative imagination of the author. For example, in the sentence "I had some time to kill, so I also went into the little store next to the pharmacy for a coffee…" [10] the metaphor "to have some time to kill" expresses the relaxed atmosphere in which the hero was, and also conveys a touch of informal conversation between the characters. The author often uses a metaphor to show that the relationship between the characters is friendly or to emphasize the conversational style of speech: "It's all puff and blow." [10]. The metaphor in "Dreamcatcher" is a powerful tool for revealing the tension of a certain episode, it intensifies the effect of mystery and intrigues the reader. For example, "These threw a bright, even glare that gave the bathroom the feel of a crime-scene photograph…" [10]; "In front of his bulging, frightened eyes, a constellation of bumps appeared in the wood." [10]; "miserable voices at the back of the brain." [10].

There are episodes when the author uses the metaphor to illustrate human qualities, to observe the behavior of the characters in more detailed way, and sometimes the metaphors in the novel carry an ironic connotation: "Kurtz is smart, Kurtz is brave, but Kurtz is also the craziest ape in the jungle" [10]; "Barry is an eating machine." [10] or "he is a lipid goldmine." [10].

Images and properties inherent in certain personalities also appear in cases of describing the characteristics of a person associated with the field of his activity: "there were many terrible men in the service, more devils than saints, most certainly, and many were in love with secrecy." [10]. In this case, the qualities characterizing the military are played out, which is very important to understand, since in the novel there are lines associated with the prevention of a military disaster due to an alien invasion. In addition to describing the characteristics of the characters, this stylistic technique shows certain external manifestations of the physical and emotional human states: "he is deadly pale except for little red roses, one growing in each check" [10] (about blood); in this episode, the character is in an agitated state and does not like to participate in the ongoing conversation. In the sentence "She hadn't wanted to cry, desperately hadn't wanted to-it might set him off again-but she could feel the tears brimming. Her head was pregnant with them, and the inside of her nose tasted of the sea each time she pulled in breath" [10] clearly presents the image of a person upset by what is happening, agitated and not understanding how to cope with the emotions that have engulfed him. The author describes the characters' anxious mood very well: "For the next week he had slept little, and what sleep he did get had been haunted by bad dreams" [10]. The metaphor in the sentence "His chin was down on his breastbone, in a parody of deep thought (or maybe it wasn't a parody, who knew?)" [10], despite the disturbing situation, has a somewhat ironic character, since the description of an unexpected incident for the hero with a bit of irony is a defensive reaction to stress.

External emotional manifestations are shown in the sentence "He's wearing his best professional smile by now-two hundred watts..." [10] using the metaphor wearing his best professional smile, which also allows one to define such character traits as professionalism and the ability to adapt quickly to a certain communicative situation within the framework of his professional activity.

A high concentration of metaphors can be observed when referring to the past life of the characters, since memories play a key role in the composition of the novel. The characters often turn to their past, their thoughts are connected with Duddits – a boy with Down syndrome, whom they met as teenagers, and who gave the characters paranormal abilities: "Some new thing had been hovering just below the threshold of his consciousness, held down by the vivid memory of meeting Duddits" [10]. Moments of nostalgia reflect in a light sadness, which feel the main characters, and carry a touch of bitterness: "Too many memories, too many ghosts of happier times." [10]. It is worth noting that the metaphor extends to the philosophical reflections of the characters: "You grew up, became a man, had to adjust to taking less than you hoped for; you discovered the dream-machine had a big OUT OF ORDER, sign on it." [10] or "Wanting more is just a recipe for heartache." [10]. In some cases the metaphor takes on a dark tone, as it is associated with critical moments in the characters' lives similar to those in which the characters escape from an unknown evil and are seriously injured: "Henry took this off, spun it into a bandage, and wrapped it around the blood-caked tear in the left leg of his jeans" [10]. In this sentence, the metaphor creates an extremely vivid image that is immediately imprinted in the reader's memory and makes him feel an incredible tension.

Nature is presented in the novel in accordance with the oppressive reality, as, for example, in the sentence: "In other places there were veins and capillaries of open black water." [10]. The swampy terrain in which the military is located during one of the operations is shown through the prism of people at risk, which once again highlights critical points in the narrative and evokes appropriate emotions. Mysterious alien visitors seeking to take over the planet with the help of a metaphor show some of their properties, but this feature is observed by those who fight against the invaders: "They are cancer, praise Jesus, and boys, we're one big hot radioactive shot of chemotherapy" [10].

Personification is not rare in the novel "Dreamcatcher". The characters' pessimistic reflections on life and unrealizable dreams become more tangible with the help of personification: "Dreams age faster than dreamers, that is a fact of life Pete has discovered as the years pass. Yet the last ones often die surprisingly hard, screaming in low, miserable voices at the back of the brain." [10].

Death in the novel is displayed as a dark and restless subject, exacerbating the sense of tension, absorbing everything light, leaves a residue of some emotional heaviness: "Suicide, Henry had discovered, had a voice." [10] or "Death had brushed by him on a sunny day in March, and Jonesy had no desire to call it back" [10]. Darkness and silence, completely intangible at first sight, appear as living beings: "Silence gives consent." [10]; "The darkness is coming" [10]. These vivid images allow the reader to immerse in the atmosphere of the novel to feel the same sensations that are embodied in the characters in a similar setting. The manifestation of internal and external physical processes in the form of impersonation makes the text much more vivid, and the reader better understands the feelings of a particular character, and begins to empathize him: "His blood responded to it." [10]; "Her eyes are now brimming with tears and she has to swallow to get rid of the thickness creeping into her voice." [10].

Mostly a pun is used as a mean of creating a comic effect or rhyme, as well as transmitting a colloquial style of speech. In this example the hero reflects on his acquaintance and his love affairs and ironically says "when George's Ram is rocking, don't come knocking" [10]. The expression "no bounce, no play" [10] is included into the novel more than once, being a kind of code phrase used by the friends in the moments of uncertainty – when one of them does not know what to answer and seems to say: "Who knows?". It is mentioned in the novel that this phrase should be pronounced with a smile, while simultaneously spreading one’s hands and shrugging one’s shoulders. Thus, it becomes a kind of connecting contact-setting thread between the characters.

The pun makes an unpleasant situation funny or lower the level of anxiety of the characters, which happened in one of the episodes. Rick McCarthy, who met the two main characters, was in poor physical condition. He would have fallen if Jonesy and Beaver had not caught him. To defuse the tense situation a little, Beaver uses this construction "shake it, but don't break it." [10]. The comical statement is also given by zeugma: "into the band bus she went and out of your life." [10].

As an important attribute of speech behavior, irony helps characters cope with unforeseen and extreme situations, as well as reveals some of their character traits. For example, in the sentence "Pete nods sympathetically. He knows about headaches. Of course most of his are caused by beer rather than stress, but he knows about them, all right." [10] the self-irony of the hero – Pete – becomes obvious, the reader, probably, can associate oneself with him. When the author introduces irony in tense moments of the story, full of anxiety, the reader still does not lose confidence that the character still has hope for a better outcome of the events, and he is able to look into the eyes of fear sensibly, with a certain amount of humor: "Those showing Ripley were all careless. One of them…well, there’s a little girl out there, about four years old, cute as the devil." [10].

The names of the characters can be a suitable tool for expressing their personal qualities. In the sentence "Jonesy saw Beaver thrash backward in a final throw; saw the thing let go its grip and leap clear just as the Beav rolled off the toilet, his upper half falling into the tub on top of McCarthy, old Mr. Behold-I-Stand-at-the-Door-and-Knock." [10] The-Door-And-Knock is enhanced with a touch of irony, emphasizing the completely unexpected appearance of the guest.

Another example of antonomasia in the novel is "Mr. What'd-I-Do" [10]. That's what Jonesy called the driver who hit Duddits, because he kept repeating the phrase in a panic. These examples clearly show how some of the characteristics of a person are transferred to their name. Mr. Middle Management is the name that Henry gave to Owen Underhill, one of the military, for his facial expression, similar to that of middle-level managers. There are examples of antonomasia, which refer to an alien entity: "Mr. Et-Phone-Home" [10]. In this case, antonomasia again appears in a slightly ironic context, and is used to avoid tautology.

The oxymoron does not appear as often as the above mentioned lexical stylistic means, but it certainly plays an important role in influencing the reader's feelings, being an integral part of the discourse and creating vivid artistic images. For instance, the merry hell oxymoron in the sentence "Lamar Clarendon's father's camp, originally built just after World War Two, now burning merry hell." [10].

The oxymoron conveys the hero's anxiety and a premonition of impending danger, which is transformed into a complex of emotions that anticipate the appearance of fear: "The thing in the bed smiles without smiling." [10].

A rare, but no less striking means of expression in the work is allusion. An allusion to the lyrics of the song "The Sound of Silence" by the American duo "Simon & Garfunkel" is used in the novel "Dreamcatcher" at least five times. This can be explained by the popularity of this composition in the United States, as well as the vivid images that it creates in moments of emotional tension. For example, "His loudspeaker atop the cab of the pulp-truck, and now the men down there also raised their weapons, a little hello darkness my old friend peeping from the muzzle of each." [10]. The reader immediately recognizes the familiar lyrics of the song and delves into the memories of moments from his personal life associated with this song, and compares the contextual use in the novel.

The analysis of lexical units and their stylistic features based on the material of S. King's novel "Dreamcatcher" revealed the bright features of the writer's idiostyle. The idiostyle of S. King is interesting and differs in a number of specific qualities. The most common lexical stylistic devices in the novel "Dreamcatcher" are the epithet, metaphor, and personification. The least frequent ones are antonomasia, oxymoron, allusion, and zeugma. Conventionally, the enumerated lexical stylistic devices can be attributed to various thematic groups. They are used to describe the nature and environment around the characters, identify the features of spoken speech, pay attention to the psychological aspect of the characters' behavior, their feelings and emotions, as well as their physical condition. It is worth noting that the use of such techniques is due to the situation in which the characters interact. The author supports the conversational style of communication with the help of various puns and stable phrases, creating a lively speech and emphasizing its expressiveness.


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