Academic journal article International Research Journal of Arts and Humanities

Discourse Strategies and Representation in Henry James: A Psychostylistic Study of the Matrix of Daisy Miller

Academic journal article International Research Journal of Arts and Humanities

Discourse Strategies and Representation in Henry James: A Psychostylistic Study of the Matrix of Daisy Miller

Article excerpt

Literary Orientation

From Psychostylistic perspective, Daisy Miller stands right at the heart of a characteristic work where the situations, events, and characters altogether function at two levels; as the embodiments of a real world and the symbols of general human psyche. This literary orientation is essentially the crucial one towards which the argument of this study has been directed. As Lacan (1977) carries forward that the meanings are established by means of discourse conscious - the level of surface representations through which the unconscious converses and strives to be deciphered and condensed to an essential symbolic form. In this relation, juxtaposed with perception and consciousness at the pitch of gloomy counters and geometric linear imagery, Daisy Miller in its entirety functions as a metaphor and shows a marked predilection on the part of the author for American ethos and great concern to point the finger to conflicting boundaries that exist between America and Europe in terms of sociocultural and psychological discrepancies. Thus substantiates the very fact that "every bit of linguistic performance has its associated bit of culture" (Fowler, 1976:93). These incongruities are brought to the fore by James through not only conscious but subconscious and unconscious insights imparted by means of stylistic instances amid significant connotations as Spence argues that "an interpretation satisfies because we are able to contain an unfinished piece of reality in a meaningful sentence" (1982:138). In this relation, present study explores manifold directions in Jamesian narrative as not only the role of author has been centered who makes use of multiple stylistic choices that have an evocative value in relation to experience and mode of expression, but also the narrative's ingrained reality and the role of reader who through interpretation gives it life in terms of meanings. Thus, a three-fold perspective resulting from characteristic stylistic preferences and narrative tripartite position - the narrator, the narrated and the narratee - has been followed to make the study more practical and applicable.

From the very beginning to the end, to the proportions of its different phases, the interplay of characters, settings, and events, and to its narrative style, Daisy Miller exemplifies hidden energies in relation to the deeper flow of mental, emotional and social life of the time conveyed through the consciousness of the omniscient narrator. As Fowler (1984) asserts that a "more realistic view of linguistic interaction is that we process text as discourse, that is, as a unified whole of text and context". Axiomatically, the text as discourse denotes inevitable relationship between the work, its author and the reader in a particular context "in which they manipulate groups of words to produce different effects" (Aitchison, 1989:43). Linguistic expressions, exploited with a special degree of frequency and significance have a specific purpose and function to perform in literary discourse. In James, words are consumed in a manner that embraces the optimal shades of socio-psychological implications, and which affirms the prime value in the represented world putting into action the sensibility of judgment and understanding on the part of the reader. In this way, the tangible reality in James is manipulated in a manner in which "the psychological structures and semantic concerns are reflected in the syntactic and rhetorical devices" (Przybylowicz, 1986).

Mind-style at Lexicogrammatical Level: An Intricate Web of Discourse Semantics

Open to the vehemence of modern susceptibilities, Daisy Miller cultivates all the structural possibilities, from descriptive to the narrative and argumentative levels, which keep on recurring as psychostylistic tendencies to express the conflict and collapse of codes, people, societies, cultures and civilizations in the modern age. In this relation, James' obsession with the 'American theme' lies at the center of the narrative, and "every word becomes a concept in so far as it simultaneously has to fit countless more or less similar cases. …

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