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Анализ отрывка из романа "Оливер Твист"

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Oliver Twist The fragment of emotive prose which has been chosen for stylistic analysis is one of the numerous stories belonged to a prominent English novelist Charles Dickens “Oliver Twist”.

Oliver Twist” is one of the most famous works of Charles Dickens and it’s read all over the world, so everyone is expected to know at least the plot of it. The novel “Oliver Twist” was written at the time when Chartism appeared. It is a very mournful story, though humor and sarcasm are still present.

Charles Dickens truly describes two worlds where Oliver had to live (to be frank - to exist): working house, where he was born and London’s dirty bottom. The author wanted to show to the readers and especially to the young ones that this world is miserable and disgusting, he paid much attention to the truthful depiction of the criminal world, inhuman exploitation of child labor, those humiliations and insults, which the small orphan had to bear.

Characterizing the darkest sides of the English reality Charles Dickens was the supporter of the peaceful reforms and he usually divided people into good and bad, moreover he believed that good is stronger than evil. Here is one of the reasons of immortality of Charles Dickens’ masterpieces – with his long-sight he managed to touch the problems that will always be in the human society. According to this fact, one can say with confidence that Charles Dickens’ works will never lose their actuality.

The excerpt, which will be commented on, further is taken from chapter 5 entitled “Oliver mingles with new associates. Going to a funeral for the first time, he forms an unfavorable notion of his master’s business.” A close study of the story for the purpose of examining its style involves a careful observation and a detailed description of the language phenomena at various levels.

The text of the fragment is complete in itself and it is interesting from the point of view of its idea. The excerpt is not homogeneous: the narration is interrupted by the elements of description; inner feelings and thoughts of the main character are imperceptibly interwoven with the narration. A rigorous analysis of the vocabulary of the story clearly shows that the author employs literary and common words in his narration. Charles Dickens’ scrupulous attention to fleeting details adds to the matter-of-fact and logical tone of the story. The very structure of the story adds to the effect of implication but the actual meaning of what is going on is not clear at the beginning of the story as the feelings suggested by the writer are not precisely determined. The reader however feels that something has happened and that the character is stained. What strikes one’s eye at the first glance is that the tension of the atmosphere in this excerpt is gradually increasing and gets its top at the end of it.

The opening paragraph consists of 6 sentences. One has the impression that the whole of the paragraph is but one utterance, without any intervals. Sentences are rather long and that produces an effect of some complication and conglomeration. This very paragraph tells us that Oliver was “left to himself in the undertaker’s shop”. Here one can easily note the employment of the example of oxymoron “awe and dread” which introduces us to the horrified state of mind of a little boy who found him in the dark and gloomy face.

The atmosphere is beginning to increase with the first sentence and it passes to the second one. Oliver, frightened to death, sees “coffin… which stood in the middle of the shop”.

The compositional design of the sentence enhancing the effect of the gloomy nature of human fear, is built on such words as “coffin, black, gloomy, death-like, cold tremble, dismal object, frightful form, mad, terror”. Even adult people are addicted to feel fear and when you are frightened, usually you see more than it is in the reality and as we deal with the little boy with the good imagination, it is very natural that he began to see horrible things. That’s why the author employs examples of personification “a cold tremble came”, “eyes wandered” and examples of epithet “dismal object”, “frightful form”. In the third sentence the reader may easily feel the boys fear because the author employs such stylistic devices as inversion: “against the wall were ranged, in a regular array, a long row of elm boards”, euphemism “cut into the same shape”, simile “like high-shouldered ghosts”. Here one may say that 3 and 4 sentences of this paragraph are the inner thoughts of the boy with the help of enumeration (coffin plates…) Dickens shows how Oliver sees the things around him. As Oliver was frighten it’s not surprising that in his thoughts he omitted the link-verb “to be” and this is the example of ellipsis. (Two mutes … on duty, the atmosphere seemed tainted) As the shop was close and hot Oliver began to feel the smell of coffins and the place where he had to sleep seemed like a grave to him. It is an example of simile.

For the purpose of making the atmosphere gradually increase Dickens employs the words the words of the same semantic field: “undertaker, timidly, dread, coffin, black, gloomy, death-like, tremble, black, mutes, stiff, hearse, black, close, hot, tainted, grave”.

Passing to the second paragraph one should understand the meaning of the word “fear”. So it is an unpleasant emotion caused by exposure to danger, expectation of pain, a state of alarm. When a man has got a feeling of fear he immediately starts to recall and think of his friends who can safe him from danger. But having read the second paragraph the reader understands that Oliver has no friends.

This paragraph is developed in four sentences. A the beginning of it one may see the inversion ”nor were these the only dismal feelings…” which was employed in order to disclose that Oliver was not afraid only of being in a strange place, but also he was depressed of being lonely, without friends “to care for and to be cared by”. Further on the author finds it necessary to use an example of repetition ”of no…”. One may suspect that it was used for the purpose of revealing the sad truth, that Oliver had no one to see him off and that’s why thing which occurred in his mind was a thought about his death. Here the writer raises the rhetorical question “Why to be noticed man should die?” And that’s why Oliver wanted to die; he just wanted somebody to notice that a human being died, come to his grave and cry. For us the death is connected with fear, pain and black colors, but for Oliver who didn’t live but existed in the world of humiliation and insults, the death seemed to be “a calm and lasting sleep”. It is an example of euphemism, which was used to show Oliver’s attitude to death. The absolute loneliness is emphasized with the imagination of the grave: “ the church-yard ground, with the tall grass waving gently above his ahead and the sound of the old deep bell to soothe him in his sleep” and no one alive at all.

The last paragraph embraces only 2 sentences. They help the reader to see that when Oliver begins even to think of something good, there is always something bad to happen. So Oliver was dreaming about calm sleep, when suddenly he was roughly awaken by aloud kicking at the door. Here one nay see an example of personification: “the legs desisted” and “a voice began”, which was employed to show Oliver Twist’s loneliness and that there were no other people around him there were only legs and voices. Having read this fragment the reader remains with the feeling as though somebody carefully painted the entire world with black and gloomy colors. To very sensitive people it may even seem that the air has the smell of coffins. After this entire one may state one question: “Why are fear and loneliness always knit together?” Even in this very text we see that loneliness causes fear. Summing up the analysis it is worth telling that here Charles Dickens contradicts to himself: although he firmly believed that good is always stronger than evil, in this particular case we can feel Charles Dickens’ sadness, bitterness about expectation and fear of being lonely someday, in grave. It means good is not strong enough.

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