AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 5, Number 1. February 2021 Pp.159-176
Perplexity and Predicament: A Corpus Stylistic Analysis of A Summer Bird-Cage
School of Foreign Studies
Anhui Normal University, Wuhu, China
Received: 1/4/2021 Accepted: 2/7/2021 Published: 2/24/2021
This paper aims to explore the text style of Margaret Drabble’s novel A Summer Bird-Cage. Specifically, it is intended to scrutinize how Drabble’s language style vivifies her representation of some women characters’ perplexity and predicament when they are confronted with problems related to value orientations and lifestyles. The present paper’s significance lies in a methodological breakthrough and resultant interdisciplinary insights. To achieve the main aims specified above, this paper will explore the following research question: stylistically, how some lexical categories such as nouns, verbs, and clusters are related to the spatio-temporal order of the novel and to its discourse prosodies or “tone of characters” speeches. As a whole, this study is situated in a research context where previous and many current studies of A Summer Bird-Cage are primarily qualitative. To complement them, this paper embodies mixed methods research, featuring in a computer-aided, data-based, corpus stylistic approach to the style in Drabble’s novel. Based on a multi-layered investigation of Drabble’s language use and a close corpus stylistic analysis of it, this paper obtains some interesting findings as follows. First, some young, educated British women’s complicated psychological experiences are thematized via narratorial introspection that centers around characters’ processing of mind. Second, the tone of the women characters’ speeches and the underlying attitude to some important issues are often negative, indicative of the women characters’ bewilderment. In short, this paper adopts a corpus stylistic approach to thematic studies and character analysis as a contribution to the body of specialized knowledge of Drabble’s art of fiction.
Keywords: A Summer Bird-CageMargaret Drabble, perplexity, predicament, stylistic analysis
Cite as: Lin, X. (2021). Perplexity and Predicament: A Corpus Stylistic Analysis of A Summer Bird-Cage. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 5 (1)159-176.
Altenberg, B. (1998). On the phraseology of spoken English: The evidence of recurrent word-combinations. In A.P. Cowie (ed.), Phraseology. Theory, Analysis, and Applications. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 101-122.
Bal, M. (2017). Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Biber, D., Conrad, S., & Leech, G. (2002). Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English. London: Longman.
Drabble, M. (2013). A Summer Bird-Cage. Boston and New York: First Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Bucholtz, M. (2004). Language and Woman’s Place: Text and Commentaries. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Carter, R. & Macrae, J. (2017). The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland (3rd ed.). London and New York: Routledge.
Childs, P., & Fowler, R. (2006). The Routledge Dictionary of Literary Terms. London & New York: Routledge.
Coates, J. (2004). Women, Men and Language. London & New York: Routledge.
Firchow, P. (1974). Interview with Margaret Drabble. In P. Firchow, (ed.), The Writer’s Place: Interviews on the Literary Situation in Contemporary Britain (pp. 50-62). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Fischer-Starcke, B. (2010). Corpus Linguistics in Literary Analysis: Jane Austen and her Contemporaries. London: Continuum.
Fletcher, W. H. (2012). kfNgram. Annapolis, MD: USNA. Retrieved from https://www.kwicfinder.com/kfNgram/kfNgramHelp.html
Gavins, J. (2007). Text World Theory: An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Halliday, M.A.K. & Matthiessen, C. M. I. M. (2014). Halliday’s Introduction to Functional Grammar. London & New York: Routledge.
Harper, M. (1982). Margaret Drabble and the Resurrection of the English Novel, Contemporary Literature, 23( 2 ) pp. 145-168.
Jeffries, L., & McIntyre, D. (2010). Stylistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Lakoff, G. (1972). Hedges: a Study in Meaning Criteria and the Logic of Fuzzy Concepts, In Papers from the Eighth Regional Meeting of Chicago Linguistic Society. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Leech, G. Y., & Short, M. (2007). Style in Fiction. London: Longman.
Mahlberg, M. (2013). Corpus Stylistics and Dickens’s Fiction. London: Routledge.
Mahlberg, M. (2014). Corpus Stylisitics. In Michael Burk(eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Stylistics (pp. 378). London & New York: Routledge.
Pourjafari, F. (2012). Defamiliarization in Sohrab Sepehri’s Poetry, Canadian Social Science, 8(1), 200-203.
Richetti, J., Bender, J., David, D., and Seidel, Michael. (1994). The Columbia History of the British Novel(eds.). New York: Columbia University Press.
Rose, E.C. (1980). The Novels of Margaret Drabble : Equivocal Figures. London: Macmillan.
Rose, E. C. (1988). The Sexual Politics of Narration: Margaret Drabble’s Feminist Fiction, Studies in the Novel, 20 (1), 86-99.
Scott, M. (2016). WordSmith Tools version 7.0. Stroud: Lexical Analysis Software.
Semino, E. & Short, M. (2004) Corpus Stylistics: Speech, Writing and Thought. Presentation in a Corpus of English Writing. London: Routledge.
Showalter. E. (1977). A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing. Princeton: Princeton Unversity Press.
Simpson, P. (2004). Stylistics: A Resource Book for Students. London & New York: Routledge.
Sinclair, J. McH. (2008). The phrase, the whole phrase, and nothing but the phrase. In S. Granger and F. Meunier (eds.), Phraseology: An Interdisciplinary Perspective (pp. 407–410). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Singh, A. (2007) Margaret Drabble’s Novels: The Narrative of Identity. Delhi: Academic Excellence.
Stubbs, M & Barths, I. (2003). Using Recurrent Phrases as Text-type Discriminators. Functions of Language, 10(1): 65-108 .
Toolan, M. (2009). Narrative Progression in the Short Story: A Corpus Stylistic Approach. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins
Wang, T. H. (2016). From “Great Tradition” to “Postmodernism”—A Study of Margaret Drabble’s Fiction. Changsha: Hunan People’s Press.
Widdowson, H. (1975). Stylistics and the Teaching of Literature. London & New York: Routledge.
Yang, Y. H. (2011). Female Intellectuals Visions—A Thematic Study of Margaret Drabble’s Three Novels. Chengdu: Sichuan Publishing House.