ALLAMA IQBAL OPEN UNIVERSITY, ISLAMABAD
(Department of English Language & Applied Linguistics)
Course: Language Variation & Stylistics (5665)
Level: MA TEFL
Semester: Spring, 2018
There are many Pakistani writers who are writing in English. These writing genres include short stories novels and poems) written by Pakistani writers in English. Select any poem written by Pakistani poet. Do the stylistic analysis of poem and show how stylistic approach to literary texts does not only involve linguistic textual analysis but also encourages readers to interact with textual structure to infer meaning Write a report and focus on the relevance of stylistics approach for the analysis of poems in Teaching English as a Foreign Language contexts.
Stylistic Analysis of Aurangzeb Alamgir’s Poem “EID”
Style in common conversation does not have any problem to understand. We use this word for granted without considering what does it mean. We hear such phrases in our day to day communication, „this building is unique in style‟ or „the style of that man is impressive‟ etc. We use „style‟ to refer to a way something is done. For example, I don‟t like the style of his management‟. Similarly, the word style is also used with reference to the way someone speaks or writes as „he writes in aphoristic style‟ or „her style of speaking is vigorous‟ (Verdonk, 2002). But style in language means the distinguished expression of language. Now the question remains unanswered as to what makes style distinctive or what effect does it have?
In a general sense, Leech (2007) states, style means the use of language in a given situation, by a given person, for a given objective. In broader sense, the term style refers to spoken or written and literary or everyday language. Style may also refer to the use of language by a particular person as style of Russell or the use of language in a particular genre as epistolary style. Latin tag Stilus virum arguit (The style proclaims the man) is another tag used to refer to style. But our concern is here with style in reference to text where we can study why certain words have been used by a certain writer in a certain text in preference to others.
The term style has been interpreted variously. Style is a Latin word used 2000 years ago meaning „pointed instrument used for writing‟. But today this word means „characteristics of writing itself. According to Oxford Advanced Learner 8th Edition style means „correct use of language‟. De Buffon, a famous scholar says „The style is the man himself‟ .The style may also mean „dress of thought‟ as put by Leech (2007). Verdonk (2013) asserts style is interconnected with the techniques of persuasion namely ethos, pathos and logos. After thorough investigation from Greek and Roman perspective he highlights four main features of style- correctness or purity which is mainly connected with the correct use of language, clarity which means appropriateness in the use of words and that their order must be straightforward, decorum which means appropriateness of style to every position of life, to every social distinction of rank, age and so on, and ornament which is linked with the use of apt figure of speech to produce particular effect and affect.
“Proper words in proper places make the true definition of style” (Jonathan Swift).
“The style of an author should be the image of his mind, but the choice and command of language is the fruit of exercise.” (Edward Gibbon).
The style may mean as a choice of linguistic means, as departure from the norms of language use, as persistent features of linguistic forms and as comparisons (Ogunsiji, 2013). The style may also refer to a particular period or time because language is dynamic and keeps on developing through times as Old English, Chaucerian English and Shakespearean English etc.
Stylistics has its roots in Russian formalism expounded by Victor Skylovsky, Mukarovsky and so on. Closely related to them are some basic concepts namely defamiliarization or foregrounding achieved by parallelism and deviation (Jeffries and Mclntyre, 2010).
In a general sense stylistics refers to the linguistic study of style. Stylistics can be defined as the techniques of exposition which permits us to define impartially what an author has done, (linguistic or non-linguistic), in his use of
language. Stylistics also means the study of distinguished expression in language and illustration of its objective and effect (Verdonk, 2002).
Stylistics is concerned with the analysis of grammatical, lexical, semantic, phonological and discursive devices. Stylistics is more interested in the importance of function that the chosen style fulfills. Stylistics is a broader term that has been interpreted differently by different language scholars. For some, stylistics is concerned with the technicalities of language, for others it is interested in the analysis of particular use of language. It may also be interested in the study of language of literature or the language of a peculiar author and his writing habits. Stylistics has also been defined as the analysis of literary text based on theoretical modal from linguistics. There are two types of stylistics namely linguistic stylistics and literary stylistics but both forms of stylistic analysis are drawn on linguistic modals ranging from Chomsky‟s generative modal to Halliday‟s systemic modal and Searle‟s speech act to Malcolm‟s discourse analysis (Mills, 1995). Stylistics was born in the beginning of 20th century in the hands of Swiss linguist Charles Bailey. Soon it was divided into two forms literary stylistics and linguistic stylistics developed by Karl Vossler and Balley respectively (Mugair, 2013). Modern stylistics has developed into feminist stylistics, cognitive stylistics and discourse stylistics based on feminist theory, cognitive psychology and discourse analysis. Modern stylistics can be defined as‟ textual interpretation‟ in which language enjoys supremacy because different forms, patterns and linguistic structures of text are index of the function of text. The text‟s functional significance acts as a source of interpretation. The linguistic features themselves are not enough to provide the meaning of text, therefore a linguistic account in the form of stylistics is necessary to interpret literature. Some people believe that stylistician is a mere old grammarian whose task is to count nouns and pronouns or adjectives and adverbs. Now the counting of nouns and pronouns is not bad in itself but the scope of stylistics is broader than this. The stylisticians job is scrutinizing all the aspects of the writer‟s art that underlie in the system of language (Simpson, 2004). Moreover, stylistics is interested in language in context. So, stylistics fertilizes our ways of meditating about language. Stylistics is evaluation of text with the help of linguistic description. It not only analyses formal features of text but also shows their functional importance for how text is illustrated and interpreted. Thus stylistics is concerned not only with critical linguistics but also with literary criticism. In the present era most commonly used texts for analysis are literary. That‟s why stylistics is referred as literary stylistics or literary linguistics now days. Stylistic analysis has two fold functions. One is literary interpretative and another grammatically pedagogical (Malmkjaer, 2010). Stylistics has its relation with its notable predecessor rhetoric mentioned in poetics by Aristotle (Burke, 2014). It means art of speech used as a means of persuasion (Bradford, 2005). In ancient rhetoric it is the third of principles which has some significant relationship with stylistics. This third principle was called „lexis‟ by the Greeks and „eloscutio‟ by the Romans (Burke, 2014). There is controversy as to what discipline stylistics has relation either with linguistics or literature. Theoretical linguists believe stylistics has close relation with literature whereas other linguists believe that it is concerned with language. The reality is stylistics has no clear cut relation with any of these two. Although it relies on literature for its data, nonliterary text can also be used for the analysis of linguistic features. Moreover, stylistics is at the point of confluence of many other linguistic and nonlinguistic disciplines but, of course, not replacing them. It shows stylistics has versatility and open-mindedness (Jeffries and Mclntyre, 2010). Stylistics is sometimes called literary linguistics because it depends on text, though not particularly literary one. Nina et al. (2010) defines stylistics as the study of ways in which meaning is generated through language in literary and nonliterary text. To achieve this objective, stylisticians use certain stylistic tools namely linguistic modals, theories and frameworks to illustrate and explain how the particular text works and how do we reach to the meaning conveyed through words on pages. The typical stylistic analysis encompasses grammatical, phonological, semantic, pragmatic, lexical and discourse features of the text. However, there are different approaches to analyze text. Some stylisticians focus on the producer of the text means they analyze the style of the author. Others, study the text itself. Still some others focus on the readers and their role in the construction of meaning. Though stylistics is supposed to be concerned with literary text, its range has expanded widely. So, now stylistics includes nonliterary text such as advertisement, recipes, TV and film advertising, films and academic writing. Moreover, because of its roots in linguistics, stylistics is an objective subject in its approach.
3. Levels of Stylistic Analysis
Levels of stylistic analysis include the following features.
Graphology is a 3000 years old art developed by the Chinese and later on used by the Romans and the rest of the world. Modern concept in graphology was propounded by French clerics led by Abbe Michon who is the founder of modern graphology.
Graphology involves the study of orthography, punctuation and the systematic formation of text. Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary (2008) defines graphology as the study of writing as a way of learning about somebody‟s character. The study of handwriting and handwriting analysis is a recognized and accepted way of understanding the writer‟s personality. Graphology is a broader term than orthography. It is used to refer to the whole writing system. It involves punctuation, paragraphing and spelling (Leech, 1969).
Phonetics and Phonology
The study of the properties of speech sounds in general is known as phonetics. It is concerned with articulation, reception and transmission of speech sounds in general without referring to any specific language.
Phonology involves the study of speech sounds of the given language. Collins and Mees (2013) asserts that phonology refers to‟ how sounds pattern and function in a given language. Phonology is also referred as the study of the selection and the patterns of speech sounds in a single language. To understand how the sounds of a language work we need not only to understand the phonetics of the given language but also the phonology of the concerned language (Collins and Mees, 2013). Phonology is the description of the systems and patterns of speech sound (Yule, 2010). Phonology is concerned with abstract and mental aspect of sounds rather than the physical one. While analyzing the phonological patterns our focus will be on the following elements- alliteration, assonance, consonance, onomatopoeia, rhythm, meter and chiming.
Morphology, study of the internal structures of words, is a young discipline, a product of the latter half of 19th
century (Haspelmath and Sims, 2013).
To investigate the basic forms in language is called morphology. So, morphological analysis is the study of forms (Yule, 2010). Fabrigas and Scalise (2012) assert that morphology studies grammatical characteristics of words and their relation in language. Morphology is also defined as a set of operations that manipulate morphological units to generate new words. Comparatively, lexicon which may be taken by some similar to morphology does not have generative properties rather they are units stored somewhere in the mind of speaker (Fabrigas and Scalise, 2012). Morphological analysis includes affixes, compounding, stems, roots, inflection, word formation and morphological tree.
The term is blend of two linguistic concepts, lexis and syntax. Syntax is a Greek word which means „putting together‟ or „arrangement‟ (Yule, 2010). The way in which phrases and clauses or sentences are structured out of words is called syntax (Radford, 2004). Syntax is the science of sentences. The word science here means not the hard sciences like biology, chemistry or physics but the methodology for study that is based on hypothesis, testing, observation, gathering data and generalization (Carnie, 2011). The word lexico or lexical refers to the study of the patterns of words in different linguistic context on semantic level in terms of stylistics. It relates the meaning of words, phrases and clauses. It encompasses simile, metaphor, apostrophe, personification, allusion, exaggeration, antonymy, synonymy, hyponymy, anaphora, imagery, irony, repetition, collocation, the general word, metonymy, compounding, antithesis, cohesive words, deictic words, archaic words, natural words and tone.
4. Title of the Poem and introduction about poet
Alamgir Hashmi (Urdu: عالمگیر ہاشمی), also known as Aurangzeb Alamgir Hashmi (born November 15, 1951), is an English poet of Pakistani origin. Considered avant-garde, his early and later works were published to considerable critical acclaim and popularity
“Eid” reminds us a religious festival that is celebrated in the Muslim world. There are two occasions in the Islamic Calendar when the Muslims celebrate this festival, the first, at the end of the holy month of Ramadan and the second on the 10th of Zilhij. In the present poem, the poet has used this word to signify the holy festival at the end of the Ramadan because he says “perhaps Eid is more than the vermicelli things. Vermicelli (a traditional Asian sweet dish) is usually prepared on the Eidulfitr, celebrated at the end of Ramadan during which the Muslims observe fast.
The underlying philosophy of the word “Eid” is, it is not merely an occasion of merry making or wearing rich dresses, rather to help our fellow beings is the main idea behind this festival. During the holy month of Ramadan, the Muslims realize the pains of hunger, thus a way is paved to sympathize with the poor and the needy. The spirit of sacrifice is aroused among the Muslims. To pay zakat and fitrana in the holy month of Ramadan is really thought provoking. The believers are trained to include the poor and down trodden in their moments of happiness. “Corduroy cheeks, spindling shapes and staining” are some of the words that suggest poverty and hunger prevailing in Pakistani society. The Muslims have put the true spirit of Eid on the back burner. The Islamic injunctions teach us to sympathize with our fellow beings but these spindling shapes are a stain on the bright face of the rich humanity. Man has made a lot of material progress. He has reached the apex of prosperity but ignored the spirit of “self-control, to give and sympathize”.
The poet also highlights the neglected strata of the society. At mosque, the poet observes his fellow knee benders raising offertory to cushion the prayer keeper. Throughout the year, they have ignored the prayer keeper who keeps on sitting on the wooden bench and delivering religious sermons to the believers. The knee benders raise offertory to expiate the neglect he has suffered.
6. Social and Cultural Aspects
The poet has also exposed some of the social and cultural aspects. To celebrate Eid by preparing vermicelli is the culture of Pakistani society. To collect money as offertory has also become a ritual of our country. It is our culture to neglect the prayer keeper or cleric. Usually, the theologian is considered a useless person in our society.
He is fit only to deliver sermon on the wooden bench. He is taken an impractical person. To neglect the down trodden has become routine now. No human feelings are left. “The beggars buttonholed us” as we come out of the mosque. If we had followed the teachings of Islam, there would have been no beggars roaming in the streets or buttonholing us outside the mosque. Begging is a social evil. It can be at least reduced if not uprooted, by following the true spirit of Eid.
7. Stylistic Analysis of the Poem
Graphological study includes punctuation and paragraphing.
The use of various signs or marks like comma, full stop, colon, semicolon, question marks, exclamation marks, apostrophe, hyphen, brackets, quotation marks, and parenthesis is called punctuation. It means “the right use of putting in stops or point in writing” (Wren and Martin, 2003).
The poem under study follows all the stop or points of punctuation. The use of full stop and comma help the poem understand its message. Sign of exclamation has been used in the third last line. “Father said, watch that! Question mark has been used in the 13th line. “How can these spindling shapes be blotted out from the face of morning?” capitalization has been followed where the sentence or line carries different sense. Comma has also been used twice.
- Outside, the beggars buttonholed us.
- Father said, watch that!
- I held the shining spoon to my mouth,
„A paragraph is a number of sentences grouped together and relating to one topic; or, a group of sentences that develop a single point.‟ (Wren and Martin, 2003) the whole poem consists of five paragraphs but all these paragraphs are closely related with the help of grammatical and lexical devices.
The phonological study of a poem highlights musical devices, assonance, consonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia and rhymes.
„The repeated use of the same initial consonant sound in a string of words in a connected text‟ (Trask, 2004).
The poem is replete with alliterative words. There are many alliterative pairs. For example, „than the‟; beggars buttonholed‟; be blotted‟; „from the face‟; „my mouth‟. Alliteration is used in modern poetry to create musical effect, but it can also be used to convey some particular message.
„A partial or half rhyme much used in poetic languages as an aspect of sound patterning and cohesion. The same vowel is repeated in words, but with a final consonant (Wales, 2014)‟.
It is used for various expressive effects. In the poem, the poet has used this musical device once in the last line,
„looking for my face in it‟.
„The repetition of identical or similar consonants in neighboring words whose vowel sounds are different‟ is called consonance (Baldick, 2001). This device is also used to bring musicality in literature. The poet uses consonance in the fourth line, „I promised God to bend my knees‟.
It is a 22 lines poem. The poem contains no regular rhyme scheme. The first line rhymes with the third one. The fourth line rhymes with the sixteenth one. Apart from these two references, there are no other rhymed couplets.
It studies the formation of words, through prefixes and suffixes. Morphological study also includes free and bound morphemes, derivational and inflectional morphemes.
Promised promise + d
Knees knee + s
Raised raise + d
Suffered suffer + ed
Wooden wood + en
Beggars beggar + s
Cheeks cheek + s
Spindling spindle + ing
Shapes shape + s
Blotted blot + ed
Morning morn + ing
Questions question + s
Hovered hover + ed
Masters Master + s
Staining Stain + ing
Convinced Convince + d
Shining Shine + ing
Looking Look + ing
Knee benders Knee + benders
Prayer keeper Prayer + keeper
Buttonholed Button + hold
Holiday Holy + day
Spoon-fed Spoon + fed
Outside Out + side
Lexical (God, Fellow, knee etc.) Functional (in, the, to etc.) Derivational (er, ar,) Inflectional (ed, s, ing, en)
There are 79 lexical and 52 functional items used by the poet. There are 7 inflections attached to verbs, twelve inflections attached with nouns and one with adjective.
8. Lexico-Syntactic Study
|Nouns||Pronouns||Common nouns||Collective noun||Proper noun|
|, beggars, Eid, vermicelli,
fellow, bench cheeks, shapes, face paper school, masters, day, holiday, questions, flies, plate, father, spoon, mouth, knee-
|I, he, my, we, that, this||beggars, Eid, vermicelli,
fellow, bench cheeks, shapes, face paper school, masters, day, holiday, questions, flies, plate, father, spoon, mouth, knee-
|Spoon-fed, believe, promised, raised, cushion, expiate, buttonholed, to bend, could, anchor left, hovered, convinced, began, eat, said, watch, held||Outside||Wooden, corduroy, spindling, blotting, last, the, shining, more|
9. Semantic Level
At semantic level, a text is studied in terms of figurative language which includes the study of simile, metaphor, personification, irony, tone, anaphora, hyperbole, imagery, symbol, allusion, deictic words, collocation, metonymy, hyponymy, synonymy, compounding, antithesis, paradox, oxymoron, denotation and connotation. The poet has used some of the above stated devices.
„But questions hovered like flies Over my plate as we began to eat‟
The questions have been compared with flies. Through this simile, the poet has expressed some important issues. Many questions arise in the speaker‟s mind regarding the extinction or eradication of poverty in the world. These questions are as innumerable as there are flies when we start eating vermicelli on our happy occasions like Eid. With the help of this simile, the poet awakes the reader from slumber and provokes a thought. Is it really difficult to uproot poverty from the world? Are these beggars no more humans? Are there no more human feelings left in the world for the down-trodden? Is there any system or person that will bring a change to end the miseries of the poor? In other words, this poem is attack on the haves and powerful class of this world.
The poet has also used some contrasting images. For example, when the speaker comes out of the mosque after saying his Eid prayer, he is surrounded by the beggars whose faces are very rough. „Eid could not anchor in their corduroy cheeks‟ shows the poverty stricken faces. The rough cheeks of beggars indicate hunger and poverty. Whereas the speaker‟s face is as shining as the spoon he has in his hand to enjoy vermicelli. Another image is used to signify the miserable condition of prayer keeper. He is helped with the offertory raised after the prayer.
Denotation and Connotation
Denotation means primary meaning of a word and connotation means the associative meaning. The poet has used some words connotatively. The word „cushion‟ means comforter in its literal sense but the poet has used this word connotatively. It means to provide some facility of life. „Buttonholed‟ means a hole through which button is pushed‟. But connotatively, it means „forcing someone to give something‟. „Anchor‟ literally means „a heavy piece of metal with hooks‟ but connotatively it means „engrave‟ or „found‟. „Corduroy‟s dictionary meanings are „a thick ribbed cotton fabric‟ but connotative meanings are „hard and rough‟. „Spindling‟ means „a pin or axis on which anything turns‟ but connotatively it means „fast moving‟.
The poet has used some symbolic words as well. „Blotting paper‟ is used to wipe blotches of ink from the surface of paper. But here in the poem, it means a system that would ensure the eradication of poverty from the Earth.
Empathetic, personal and social deixis have been used in the poem. I, we, my, us, that, father, master are such examples.
Cohesion has been produced by using some cohesive devices. Grammatical cohesive devices used by the poet are as followed.
I, my, outside, how, but.
The poem „Eid‟ is really thought provoking poem. Its analysis has given us deep understanding. Thematically the poem provokes us to be ready to help our fellows every time. We should sympathize with them. We can uproot poverty and begging from the earth only by sympathizing and giving to our fellowmen. By using different literary and stylistic devices, the poet has been successful in conveying his message. The use of stylistic devices has given depth to meaning. The stylistic analysis has helped us to unveil the latent meaning. The poet has used symbolic and suggestive words. The use of images, deictic words, and musical devices has made the message more effective and emphatic because these devices themselves carry some message in themselves.
11. Scope of the Study
Stylistic analysis has been conducted through the use of the following levels of analysis.
graphological, grammatical, phonological, syntactic, morphological and semantic issues, This analysis would prove helpful for the researchers as well as for the readers.
From the stylistic analysis, it can be concluded that the poem has been contracted carefully. This is not about
„Eid‟ as the title indicates rather it throws light on the spirit of Eid that is sacrifice, sympathize and help other fellows. This occasion is not celebrated to wear new clothes and shoes or enjoy various dishes prepared usually at our homes. The purpose is to let others join these happy moments. We should sympathize with our fellow men who are helpers to add in our happiness, not obstructions as they are taken to be.
Finally, interpretations are not always same by everyone. There is always difference of opinion in interpreting the poem. So there can be as many interpretations as there are readers. So, the interpretations stated in this context are not fact or final. The stylistic analysis has made the meaning of the poem as clear as possible. So, it can be stated that stylistic is a useful tool for analyzing and interpreting literary text.
As much as I believe in the relevance of a linguistic oriented approach to text analysis for better appreciation and understanding, I am thoroughly convinced that such an approach offers plenty of opportunities in the EFL teaching/learning contex (see Timucin, 2003: 178-81 for practical teaching activities that can be utilized for the poem The Rear-Guard ), for teachers of English in the EFL settings. And all these opportunities are too valuable to miss in the TEFL context since “what language teachers teach is a very complex issue which requires linguistic, pragmatic, pedagogical and cultural competence” (Tercanlıoğlu, 2000: 185). As is also researched and illuminated by Akyel (1995) in actual EFL setting, language activities prepared around the “distinctive features of the language of the poem help EFL learners develop an awareness of how language is used to produce a particular meaning”, and the stylisctic and language-based approaches discussed throughout the present paper provides both the teachers and students in the EFL class, with necessary tolls to explore these “distinctive features” of the language.
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