A Stylistic Analysis of Tennyson
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TENNYSON’S POETRY – A LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS R.DULASI In literature and writing, a stylistic device is the use of any of a variety of techniques to give an auxiliary meaning, idea or feeling to the literal or written. There are a variety of stylistic devices which authors use to create a work with his imaginative ideas. Stylistics is a term currently used to identify any of several analytical studies of literature that apply the techniques and concepts of modern linguistics. This stylistics employ concepts from linguistics to identify, classify and count the stylistic features characteristic of a given work, author, literary movement or period. These features include patterns of sound devices, meter or rhyme; types of sentence structures and their frequency; word use, such as the proportion of abstract words to concrete words and the relative frequency of various parts of speech; and elements of rhetoric , such as the use of figurative language, and symbolism. Many poets use the stylistic devices in their meaning to create interests among the readers. Tennyson also used the stylistic devices in his poetry such as rhyme, repetition, assonance, alliteration, onamatopoeia Repetition is a basic device which is fundamental to any conception of poetry. It is a highly effective; the repetition of sound, syllables, words, syntactic elements, lines stanza forms and metrical patterns establishes cycle of expectations which are reinforced with each successive fulfillment. Tennyson most commonly employs repetition in his poem. In his poem ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ in first stanza he repeats the phrase’
half a league’ these lines convey the arduousness of the charge. It relates the fact that each league gained was a separate feat for the brigade. Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred Forward the light Brigade! He also uses repetition of “rode the six hundred”, a phrase which emphasizes the small number of violent soldiers riding against the ‘mount of hell’ itself. Cannon to right of them Cannon to left of them Cannon in front of them This is another repeated phrase in the poem that is found in third and fourth stanzas of the poem. The repetition of the phrase serves to add to the claustrophic feeling in the readers that began with the mention of the charge in the valley. It also reminds the reader that the cannons of the enemy are all that can be seen no matter where the valiant soldiers look. His another poem Tears, Idle Tears, he uses the repetition of the word’ Tears’ the turn of the alternative phrase in divine despair and the rhythm make the lines intense in their emotional outburst. Tears, Idle tears, I know not what they mean Tears from the depth of some divine despair Rise in the heart and gather to the eyes. In a poem Praising his country, Tennyson uses repetition. He uses the phrase’ There is no other’ frequently. He says that there is no other country
as great as England. He also says that there is no other language as sweet as English. He adds that there is no other man as brave as English man. In language, the representation of a sound by an imitation there of with this device, a poet can imitate a specific sound by using a word that imitates the sound in nature. In literature this device adds to the music of lines. According to Leech (1979). ”Onamatopoeia is a very different kind of reinforcement takes the form of a resemblance between what a piece of language sound live and what it refers to” Poets often convey the meaning of a verse through its very sound. Tennyson was concerned to make the description sound like the thing described, to suggest by the sounds of his verses the sounds or movements that they narrate. This kind of writing which is rather a trick than an art of literature is called by the long name of Onomatopoeia which means, literally making names to express sounds. Mew, Coo, Chirp are good examples of Onomatopoeia. Tennyson’s poem ‘Lotus Eaters’ he indicates the slow sensuous and dangerous life of the Lotus eaters by the sound of the world. He uses to describe the land in which they live.
Here are cool mosses deep, And through the moss the ivies creep, And in the stream the long leaved flower weep, And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep. Tennyson uses of Onomatopoeia in the following line in the poem “The Princess” The Moan of Doves in immemorial elms And murmuring of innumerable bees.
It can bear the bees actually humming in this line. The repeated m/n sounds reinforced the idea of murmuring by imitating the hum of insects on a warm summer day. In his another poem ‘Mariana’ the poet uses the technique of Onomatopoeia. Upon the middle of the night Walking she heard the night-fowl crow; The cock sung out an hour ere light; From the dark fen the oxen’s low Here the poet describes that in the middle of the night Mariana got up and heard the hooting of the owl. The cock crew an hour before the morning light. From the dark marshy land the lowing of the oxen was heard. Apostrophe can be defined as words that are spoken to a person who is absent or imaginary, or to an object or abstract ideas. According to Leech ‘Apostrophe is the address to his audience, inorder to address some third party, who may either he present or not, hence its use for the kind of dramatic licence whereby words are addressed to someone who is unable to hear or reply to them. Tennyson uses the Apostrophe in his poem “Break, Break, Break”. Break, break, break On thy cold gray stones, O Sea! Break, Break, Break At the foot of thy crags, O Sea! Tennyson has written in a mood of grief and longing. It is composed in the background of nature. He fell in a mood of grief and despondency on account of the death of his friend Hallam. The poet saw his mood reflected
in the waves of the sea. The sea seems to express its sadness and gloom, but the poet did not possess adequate word to express his feelings of grief. Tennyson uses apostrophe in his another poem “O Swallow, Swallow” O Swallow, swallow, flying flying south, Fly to her, and fall upon her gilded eaves, And tell her, tell her, what I tell to thee. O Swallow, flying from the golden woods Fly to her and pipe and woo her and make her mine And tell her, tell her, that I follow thee. Here the poet describes that this poem is a love - song sung by the prince to his beloved Ida, the princess. Disguised as a girl, he enters Ida’s female academy and asks the swallow to fly and woo his beloved on his behalf. Here the prince asks the swallow, to fly to the south, go to the princess and alight on her golden windows. He asked the bird to convey his message to the princess. A Metaphor is a comparison that states or suggest that two unlike things are the same or have something in common. Unlike similes metaphors do not contain the words ‘ like’ or ‘as’. They make the comparison directly. Tennyson uses metaphor in his another poem called ‘Ulysses’ Yet all experience is an arch where thro Gleams that untravell’d world, whose margin fades Forever and forever when I make
Ulysses speaks of his love of adventure. He does not want to stay idly in his land, ruling over people whose sole occupation is to eat, drink and sleep. He must wander over seas and explore the darkest secrets of life. In these lines, Ulysses tells us that he has become a part of all that he had met in his life. In other words, his past experiences are a vital part of his entire self. Still, all experience is like an arch through which Ulysses wants to pass, the arch leading him from one to another. Literature is distinguished by what can be described overall as pattern. The text will show selection and arrangement of items that contribute to the total effect; element that would be absent or incidental in other styles are important for the fulfillment of the purpose of poetry shows such patterning devices as meter, rhyme, assonance, alliteration. It is necessary to pay close attention to particular writers, since literature shows far more diversity of individual usage than do other styles. This fact creates link between modern stylistics and the more traditional way of discussing a writer’s style. Whatever can realistically be said about literary style as a whole is worth saying as a contribution to critical study. Examples from Tennyson have been used as evidence for general principles. That the poet Tennyson has used the different stylistic devices in his poetry.