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1 Virtual University ENG 101 Lesson -14 Dr.Surriya Shaffi Mir.

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1 1 Virtual University ENG 101 Lesson -14 Dr.Surriya Shaffi Mir

2 2 In today’s lesson we are going to begin by looking at how writers bring their characters to life by employing different descriptive and other techniques. In the second half we will go back to practical texts pertaining to your field of study related to computers.

3 3 Characters Almost every example of imaginative writing has to do with people in some way or the other. We are going to look at some of the ways in which a writer is able to translate his vision of the people he is writing about to the reader by means of words. In some ways, a painter or photographer has an easier task in that he is able to present his ideas directly to us in visual terms-though, of course,

4 4 interpretation is necessary here too. How, then,does an author achieve the same effect using only works?1.action 2.actual words put into characters mouth 3.direct statement 4.comparison & association 5.associating with one particular point of view or action by which they can easily and quickly be identified 6.by choice of words and by picking out a particular feature or detail that calls character vividly to mind

5 5 1.In Action. One of the ways a writer does this is by showing the character performing some action which is typical of him or performing an action in a particular way that reveals the kind of person he is. Here is another example, a description of Pip’s sister, Mrs. Gargery, from Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations.

6 6 My sister had a trenchant way of cutting our bread-and-butter for us, that never varied. First, with her left hand she jammed the load hard and fast against her bib-where it sometimes got a pin into it, and sometimes a needle, which we afterwards got into our mouths. Then she took some butter (not too much) on a knife and spread it on the loaf, in an apothecary kind of way, as if she were making a plaister-using both sides of the knife with a slapping dexterity,

7 7 and trimming and moulding the butter off round the crust. Then, she gave the knife a final smart wipe on the edge of the plaister, and then sawed a very thick round off the loaf; which she finally, before separating from the loaf, hewed into two halves, of which Joe got one, and I the other. (CHARLES DICKENS, Great Expectations) What does this account of Mrs Gargery cutting bread tell us about her?

8 8 What impression does the use of words like ‘trenchant’ ‘jammed’, ‘slapping dexterity’, ‘a final smart wipe’, ‘sawed’ and ‘hewed’ build up? Write your answers to these and the following questions in your notebook: it is good practice. 2.In Speech. Another way in which writers can indicate character is through the words they put into their character’s mouths.

9 9 This is, of course, an important-possibly the most important-element of the dramatist’s art, to reveal his characters through their speech, but other writers employ the device as well.

10 10 Study the following passage from P.G. Wodehouse’s ‘Thank you, Jeeves’. ‘Jeeves’, I said, ‘do you know what?’ No sir.’ No, sir. ‘Do you know whom I saw last night? ‘no, sir.”

11 11 ‘J. Washburn Stoker and his daughter, Pauline.’ ‘ ‘Indeed, sir?. ‘Awkward, what?’

12 12 ‘I can conceive that after what occurred in New York it might be distressing for you to encounter Miss Stoker, sir. But I fancy the contingency need scarcely arise.’ I weighed this. ‘When you start talking about contingencies arising, Jeeves, the brain seems to flicker and I rather miss the gist. Do you mean I ought to be able to keep our of her way? ‘Yes, sir.’

13 13 ‘Avoid her? ‘Yes, sir.’ (P.G. WODEHOUSE, Thank You, Jeeves)

14 14 ‘Look at Jeeves’s answers. Apart from one speech, they are very economical. What can we deduce about the kind of person Jeeves is and his attitude towards his master from this economy of speech, from what Jeeves actually says and from what is implied?

15 15 3.By Direct Statement. Some writers tell us about their characters directly instead of showing them and allowing us to draw our own conclusions. They build detail on detail until we have a clear picture of their appearance, their habits, their opinions, their life history. Here is an account of a character called Miss Arkwright. She was in no way a remarkable person. Her appearance was not particularly distinguished and yet she was without any feature that could actively displease.

16 16 She had enough personal eccentricities to fit into the pattern of English village life, but none so absurd or anti-social that they could embarrass or even arouse gossip beyond what was pleasant to her neighbors. She accepted her position as an old maid with that cheerful good humor and occasional irony which are essential to English spinsters since the deification of Jane Austen, or more sacredly Miss Austen, by the upper middle classes,

17 17 and she attempted to counteract the inadequacy of the unmarried state by quiet, sensible and tolerant social work in the local community. She was liked by nearly everyone, though she was not afraid of making enemies where she knew that her broad but deeply felt religious principles were being opposed. Any socially pretentious or undesirably extravagant conduct, too, was liable to call for her an unexpectedly caustic and well-aimed snub.

18 18 She was invited everywhere and always accepted the invitations.. Quietly but well dressed, with one or two very fine old pieces of jewellery that had come down to her from her grandmothers, she would pass from one group to another, laughing or serious as the occasion demanded.

19 19 ’ She listened with patience, but with a slight twinkle in her eye, to Mr Hodson’s endless stories of life in Dar-es-Salaam or Myra Hop’s breathless accounts of her latest system of diet. John Hobday in his somewhat ostentatiously gentleman-farmer attire would describe his next novel about East Anglian life to her before even his beloved daughter had heard of it.

20 20 Richard Trelawney, just down from Oxford, found that she had read and really know Donne’s sermons, yet she could swoop detective stories with Colonel Wright by the hour, and was his main source for quotations when The Times cross-word was in question.It she was who incorporated little Mrs Grantham into village life, when that underbred, suburban woman came there as Colonel Grantham’s second wife,

21 21 checking her vulgar remarks about ‘the lower classes’ with kindly humor, but defending her against the formidable battery of Lady Vernon’s antagonism. Yet she it was also who was fist at Lady Vernon’s when Sir Robert had his stroke and her unobtrusive kindliness and real services gained her a singular position behind the grim reserve of the Vernon family.

22 22 She could always banter the vicar away from his hobby horse of the Greek rite when at parish meetings the agenda seemed to have been buried for ever beneath a welter o Euchologia and Menaia. She checked Sir Robert’s anti-bolshevik phobia from victimizing the Country Librarian for her Fabianism but was fierce in her attack on the local council when she thought that class prejudice had prevented Commander Osborne’s widow from getting council house.

23 23 She led in fact an active and useful existence, yet when anyone praised her she would only laugh-’My dear’, she would say’ hard work’s the only excuse old maids like me have got for existing at all, and even then I don’t know that they oughtn’t to lethalize the lot of us.’ as the danger of war grew nearer in the thirties her favorite remark was ‘Well, if they've got any sense this time they’ll keep the young fellows at home and put us useless old maids in the trenches,’ and she said it with real conviction. (ANGUS WILSON, A Little Companion)

24 24 Sum up in a few sentences the main points of Miss Arkwright’s character. In what way are the reported comments that Miss Arkwright makes typical of her? 4.By Comparisons and Associations. Sometimes writers tell us about their characters by comparing them to something else which calls up an image in our minds or by associating them with some idea or object that is related or which is significant.

25 25 Here is a description of Miss Murdstone. It was Miss Murdstone who was arrived, and a gloomy-looking lady she was; dark, like her brother, whom she greatly resembled in face and voice; and with very heavy eyebrows, nearly meeting over her large nose, as if, being disabled by the wrongs of her kind from wearing whiskers, she had carried them to that account.

26 26 She brought with her two uncompromising hard black boxes, with her initials on the lids in hard brass nails. When she paid the coachman she took the money from a hard steel purse, and she kept the purse, and she kept the purse in a very jail of a bag which hung upon her arm by a heavy chain, and shut up like a bite. I had never, at that time, seen such a metallic lady altogether as Miss Murdstone was. (CHARLES DICKENS, David Copperfield)

27 27 Pick out the words or objects that directly suggest metal. Which words in the description of Miss Murdstone suggest characteristics of metal? How is this association with metal appropriate? 5.By associating the character with one particular point of view or action by which they can be easily and quickly identified.

28 28 Who can ever forget, for instance, Uriah Heep in Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield being ‘ever so humble’ and rubbing his hands together, words and an action that are forever associated with him? It was no fancy of mine about his hands, I observed; for he frequently ground the palms against each other as if to squeeze them dry and warm, besides often wiping them, in a stealthy way, on his pocket handkerchief.

29 29 Here is a lesser known character from Hard Times: Thomas Grandgrind, sir. A man of realities. A man of facts and calculations. A man who proceeds upon the principle that two and two are four, and nothing over, and who is not to be taled into allowing for anything over. Thomas Gradrind, sir- peremptorily Thomas-Thomas Gradgrind.

30 30 With a ruler and a pair of scales, and the multiplication table always in his pocket, sir, ready to weight and measure any parcel of human nature, and tell you exactly what it comes to. It is a mere question of figures, a case of simple arithmetic. You might hope to get some other nonsensical belief into the head of George Gradgrind, or Augustus Gradgrind, or John Gradgrind, or Joseph Gradgrind (all suppositious, non-existent persons), but into the head of Thomas Gradgrind-no sir! (CHARLES DICKENS, Hard Times)

31 31 Underline the words that reinforce the idea that Thomas Gradgrind is a man of facts and calculations. What does the use of word ‘sir’ add to the passage? 6.By choice of words and picking out a particular feature or detail that calls the character vividly to mind. Here are some examples taken from Edward Blishen’s A Cackhanded War:

32 32 ‘He was a tiny fellow, with a leathery white face under black hair, and tied to the case he’d brought were the most enormous gumboots I’d ever seen.’ ‘Mrs Goss was a widow, a neat little woman of over seventy: and witchlike.’ ‘He was a deeply depressed man, this farmer, who always wore a white coat and cloth cap, and was always peppered with a white-and-black bristle.’

33 33 ‘He was a tall, silent, dark man, very gentle, who would tut over his machine as if it were some moody woman.’ ‘On the strawstack was boy: a short, stout boy with a kind of naked pertness about his eyes and a very runny nose.’ Describe five varied characters, using one sentence of or each, and try to make them alive by the way you sue words or by giving to each a particular descriptive detail that

34 34 defines him or her clearly and individually - as Edward Blishen has done.

35 35 FOCUS Giving Examples Using examples to explain a point or to illustrate an idea is commonly used in texts when the primary objective is to teach the order about some subject. It is thus important to differentiate between the idea or ideas presented, and the illustration of the idea, with examples, Writers often say explicitly which things are examples by using the connectives in the table below.

36 36 for exampleexamples ofshown by for instanceinstances ofexemplifies an example of thiscases ofshows as an exampleillustration ofillustrates that isexemplified bya second/third Such asillustrated byexample etc. Likeseen in namely

37 37 Sample sentences with examples in italics: 1.The switches, like the cores, are capable of being in one of two possible states that is, on or off; magnetized or unmagnetized. 2.Computers have circuits for performing arithmetic operations such as: addition subtraction, division, multiplication and exponentiation. 3.The computer can only decide three things, namely: Is one number less than another?, Are two numbers equal?, and Is one number greater than another?

38 38 4.Computers can process information at extremely rapid rates; for example, they can solve certain arithmetic problems millions of times faster than a skilled mathematician. 5.Using the very limited capabilities possessed by all computers, the task of producing a university payroll, for instance, can be done quite easily. N.B. Sometimes the markers follow the example, separated by commas. Not all texts present examples explicitly, some exemplifications are given implicitly, in which case, the above markers are not used.

39 39 interpretation is necessary here too. How then does an author achieve the same effect using only works? 1.action (Mrs Gargery –Great Expectations 2.actual words put into characters mouth (Thankyou Jeeves) 3.direct statement (Miss Arkwright) 4.comparison & association (Miss Murdstone) 5.associating with one particular point of view (Gradgrind) or action by which they can easily and quickly be identified 6.by choice of words and by picking out a particular feature or detail that calls character vividly to mind (Five Characters described).

40 40 With this we come to the end of this lesson. We have looked at how writers use characterization in literary texts to convey meaning and to their stories further and also how writers in practical texts use illustrations and examples to make their writing more concrete and less abstract. See you next time. Allah Hafiz


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