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PROSE STYLES: TOUGH, SWEET AND STUFFY

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Presentation on theme: "PROSE STYLES: TOUGH, SWEET AND STUFFY"— Presentation transcript:

1 PROSE STYLES: TOUGH, SWEET AND STUFFY
by Don L. F. Nilsen and Alleen Pace Nilsen 27

2 Discourse Maturity Smith & Wilhelm want their students to move from:
self to other (writer-based to reader based) Personal experiences to the new and unknown Concrete to abstract Visual to nonvisual Short texts to longer texts Simple concepts to complex concepts Basic structures to more elaborate structures (Smith & Wilhelm 72-73) 27

3 Student Writing: Notice the speaking styles:
Scene: Thanksgiving Dinner Characters: Grandma, a Rap Star and a Valley Girl RAP STAR: Yo, yo, G-ma, slip me some poes. GRAMDMA: Pardon? VALLEY GIRL: Duh, grandma. He’s all like, “Pass the poes,” and you, like, don’t get it. He totally wants the potatoes. GRANDMA: Then he should have asked for that in the first place. RAP STAR: Hey; you dissin’ me? GRANDMA: He wants a dish of what? VALLEY GIRL: Ugh! This is so totally uncool. GRANDMA: Oh, dear, are the potatoes too hot? (Smith & Wilhelm 102) 27

4 Useful Words in Five Types of Organization
NARRATION (Time): after, as, before, during, finally, first, later, meanwhile, next, now, second, simultaneously, then, until, when, while DESCRIPTION (Space): above, across from, below, beyond, farther, here, nearby, next to, over, opposite, there, left-right, top-bottom 27

5 ELABORATION: again, also, another, besides. E. g
ELABORATION: again, also, another, besides. E.g., finally, for example, for instance, furthermore, i.e. in addition, likewise, moreover, similarly, such as, too, again, viz. CAUSE & EFFECT (avoid post hoc ergo propter hoc): accordingly, as a result, because, consequently, for, hence, if…then, since…then, therefore, thus COMPARISON & CONTRAST (requires mastery of semicolons): although, however, nevertheless, on the one hand, on the other hand, otherwise, still, yet (Smith & Wilhelm ) 27

6 Student Writing for the SAT Test For Best Score:
It effectively and insightfully develops a point of view on the issue and demonstrates outstanding critical thinking, using clearly appropriate examples, reasons, and other evidence to support its position. It is well organized and clearly focused, demonstrating clear coherence and smooth progression of ideas. It exhibits skillful use of language, employing a varied, accurate, and apt vocabulary. It demonstrates meaningful variety in sentence structure. It is free of most errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics. (Smith & Wilhelm 142) 27

7 Modeling: A Poem by Stephen Crane
A man said to the universe: “Sir, I exist!” “However,” said the universe, “That fact has not created in me Any sense of obligation.” (Smith & Wilhelm 115) 27

8 Modeling: Sensorium (Descriptive Detail) Parallelism & Punctuation (commas & dashes)
That hump of a man bunching chrysanthemums, Or pinching back asters, or planting azaleas, Tamping and stamping dirt into pots— How he could flick and pick Rotten leaves or yellow petals, Or scoop out a weed close to the flourishing roots, Or make the dust buzz with a light spray, Or down a bug in one spit of tobacco juice, Or fan life into wilted sweet peas with his hat, Or stand all night watering roses, His feet blue in rubber boots. (“Old Florist” by Theodore Roethke) (Smith & Wilhelm 135) 27

9 Modeling: Comparison and Contrast plus Sensorium from Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street (6-7) Poetic License: Run-On Sentences & Fragments for Effect “Everybody in our family has different hair. My Papa’s hair is like a broom, all up in the air. And me, my hair is lazy. It never obeys barrettes or bands. Carlos’ hair is thick and straight. He doesn’t need to comb it. Nenny’s hair is slippery—slides right out of your hand. And Kiki, who is the youngest, has hair like fur.” “But my mother’s hair, my mother’s hair, like little rosettes, like little candy circles all curly and pretty because she pinned it in pincurls all day, sweet to put your nose into when she is holding you, holding you and you feel safe, is the warm smell of bread before you bake it, is the smell when she makes room for you on her side of the bed still warm from her skin, and you sleep near her, the rain outside falling and Papa snoring. The snoring, the rain, and Mama’s hair that smells like bread.” (Smith & Wilhelm ) 27

10 Modeling: A Parody by Jorge Luis Borges
“In a certain Chinese encyclopedia entitled Celestial Emporium of Benelovent Knowledge…it is written that animals are divided into (a) those that belong to the Emperor, (b) embalmed ones, (c) those that are trained, (d) suckling pigs, (e) mermaids, (f) fabulous ones, (g) stray dogs, (h) those that are included in this classification, (i) those that tremble as if they were mad, (j) innumerable ones, (k) those drawn with a very fine camel’s hair brush, (l) others, (m) those that have just broken a flower vase, and (n) those that resemble flies from a distance.” (Smith & Wilhelm 122) 27

11 Vernacular Literature Analyze the following prose styles:
Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl books Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book Daniel Handler’s Lemony Snicket books Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God Ian Martel’s The Life of Pi Walter Dean Myers’ Monster J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books Louis Sacher’s Holes Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books Jerry Spinelli’s Maniac McGhee Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn (Smith & Wilhelm 55-56) 27

12 THE NOVEL: THE AD: THE TEXT BOOK: ETHOS PATHOS LOGOS
POINT OF VIEW: THE NOVEL: THE AD: THE TEXT BOOK: ETHOS PATHOS LOGOS TOUGH SWEET STUFFY 1ST PERSON 2ND PERSON 3RD PERSON SUBJECTIVE SUBJECTIVE OBJECTIVE INFORMAL INTIMATE FORMAL 27

13 TOUGH LANGUAGE Tough language is the rhetoric of Frederic Henry in Ernest Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms: “In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels.” 27

14 It is the language of intimacy, the language of no pretentions
It is the language of intimacy, the language of no pretentions. The words are simple and the grammar is simple. The writing is not planned, but just happens, in a stream of consciousness kind of way—you are there. The sentences are short and choppy. If there is conjunction it is coordination, not subordination. It is the language of the loosened tie and the rolled up shirt sleeves, with no pretentious multi-syllable or low-frequency words. 27

15 Being egocentric, it is subjective, and whether it is written from the author participant or the author omniscient point of view, it is concerned with communicating people’s innermost feelings. Tough language is the language of fiction, and therefore the process of “in medias res” is totally appropriate to this style—“In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountain.” 27

16 SWEET LANGUAGE Sweet language is the language of advertisers. Walker Gibson calls this language AROMA (Advertising Rhetoric of Madison Avenue). Sweet language is listener-oriented in an attempt to seduce listeners into buying products they don’t want or need. 27

17 It is language full of innovative spellings, creative grammar, and wild punctuation.
Sweet writing contains many sentence fragments, and would rather flaunt a grammatical rule than conform to it: “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should. What do you want, good grammar, or good taste?” 27

18 It is informal, or sometimes even intimate or cutesy in tone.
Sweet language is the language of sensationalism, the language of superlatives and hyperbole. It is the language of diversion; it plays tricks on the reader with its puns, its word coinages, its humor, its packaging, its sex, and other aspects which have nothing to do with the product itself. It is informal, or sometimes even intimate or cutesy in tone. 27

19 Contractions, clippings, blendings, and deletions abound, making it all the more cryptic and intimate. It’s full of slang expressions like “no doubt about it,” “cut it out,” and “where else?” It can be cutesy, as in “Dry skin? Not me, darling. Every inch of little me is as smooth as (well, you know what).” 27

20 Gibson says that a common kind of coinage in sweet language is the noun-adjunct construction (a noun modified by another noun). We see this kind of coinage in “Speakerphone,” “Fooderama living,” “decorator colors,” and “Supermarket selection.” The Bell Company praises the beauties of its “hands-free, group-talk, across-the-room telephone.” 27

21 STUFFY LANGUAGE Where tough language is I-oriented, and sweet language is you-oriented, stuffy language is it-oriented. It is the language of laboratory experiments, of research papers and theses and dissertations and scholarly books, and academia in general. 27

22 Stuffy language is highly grammatical and highly formal.
The syntax contains a great deal of subordination, and the sentences are frequently long and complex. Infinitives, gerunds, present and past participial constructions, nominative absolutes, perfect, progressive, and passive constructions are almost totally confined to this style of writing. 27

23 It is an impersonal style to the extent that first-person pronouns are seldom allowed. For this and other reasons, passive constructions and impersonal constructions with abstract subjects are common. Stuffy language is also the language of limitations, restrictions and qualifications because the writer doesn’t want to make claims beyond the evidence. Limiting (as opposed to descriptive) adjectives are frequent, as are prepositional phrases and relative clauses. 27

24 THE BIRMINGHAM RIOTS: REPORTED IN THREE DIFFERENT STYLES
“The police and firemen drove hundreds of rioting Negroes off the streets today with high pressure hoses and an armored car.” (New York Times May 8, 1963) 27

25 (New York Herald Tribune)
“Three times during the day, waves of shouting, rock-throwing Negroes had poured into the downtown business district, to be scattered and driven back by battering streams of water from high-pressure hoses and swinging clubs of policemen and highway patrolmen.” (New York Herald Tribune) 27

26 “The blaze of bombs, the flash of blades, the eerie glow of fire, the keening cries of hatred, the wild dance of terror at night—all this was Birmingham, Alabama.” (Time, May 7, 1963) 27

27 !SUMMARY OF WORD DEVELOPMENT: THE NOVEL: THE AD: THE TEXT BOOK:
COLLOQUIAL COLLOQUIAL FORMAL SLANG: CHARACTER SLANG: AD NO SLANG DEPENDENT DEPENDENT MODALS GERUNDS INFINITIVES PERFECTS PROGRESSIVES SPELLING = SPELLINGS = SPELLINGS = CHARACTERS CREATIVE CORRECT ANGLO-SAXON ANGLO-SAXON INKHORN TERMS WORDS WORDS GREEK & LATIN 27

28 !SUMMARY OF SENTENCE DEVELOPMENT: THE NOVEL: THE AD: THE TEXT BOOK:
SHORT, CHOPPY LONG, COMPLICATED FRAGMENTS PERFECT GRAMMAR COMMA SPLICES SIMPLE SIMPLE LONG & COMPLEX RESTRICTIVE MODIFIER COMPOUND & COMPLEX SENTENCES CASUAL PUNCTUATION PERFECT PUNCTUATION RHETORICAL SENTENCES DON’T QUESTIONS MAKE CLAIMS BEYOND IMPERATIVES EVIDENCE THEY,YOU, 27

29 !SUMMARY OF PARAGRAPH AND DISCOURSE DEVELOPMENT!
THE NOVEL: THE AD: THE TEXT BOOK: STREAM OF CASUAL STRUCTURED CONSCIOUSNESS INDUCTIVE WHATEVER DEDUCTIVE NOTE: THE NEWSPAPER IS SUPER DEDUCTIVE BECAUSE PEOPLE READ HEADLINES; AND MAYBE FIRST PARAGRAPHS (WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHY, WHERE, HOW); AND LATER MATERIALS GET BURIED OR CUT MUCH INUENDO INTIMATE & CUTESY CAUSAL AND IMPLICATION 27

30 !!SUMMARY OF USE OF FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE
THE NOVEL: THE AD: THE TEXT BOOK: AUTHOR PARTICIPANT ? AUTHOR AUTHOR OBSERVANT OBSERVANT AUTHOR OMNISCIENT MAINLY TROPES: MAINLY SCHEMES: LITERAL IN MEDIAS RES ALLITERATION METAPHOR ASSONANCE IRONY RHYME POETIC JUSTICE CUTESY TONE SIMILES ALLEGORIES 27

31 !!!SUMMARY OF PUNCTUATION THE NOVEL: THE AD: THE TEXT BOOK:
CREATIVE CREATIVE FORMAL USE OF: PUNCTUATION PUNCTUATION SEMI COLONS PERIODS PARENTHESES DASHES HYPHENS RESTRICTIVE AND NON-RESTRICTIVE CLAUSES PROPER CAPITALIZATION USE OF ELIPSES … [SIC] BRACKETS, ETC. 27

32 References # 1: Barry, Anita K. English Grammar: Language as Human Behavior, 2nd Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2002. Borges, Jorge Luis. “The Analytical Language of John Wilkins.” lin Other Inquisitions: Austin: University of Texas Press. Retrieved January 28, 2007 from . Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1984. Eschholz, Paul, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark. Language Awareness, 10th Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. Gee, James. What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. 27

33 References # 2: Gibson, Walker. Tough, Sweet and Stuffy: An Essay on Modern American Prose Styles. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1966. Nilsen, Alleen, and Alleen Pace Nilsen. Encyclopedia of 20th Century American Humor. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2000. Roethke, Theodore. The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke. New York, NY: Doubleday, 1946. Smith, Michael W., and Jeffrey D. Wilhelm. Getting It Right: Fresh Approaches to Teaching Grammar, Usage, and Correctness. New York, NY: Scholastic, 2007. 27


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