Academic journal article International Journal of English Studies

"The Sisters Did Her Every Imaginable Injury": Power and Violence in Cinderella

Academic journal article International Journal of English Studies

"The Sisters Did Her Every Imaginable Injury": Power and Violence in Cinderella

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The main aim of this article is to discuss the results achieved after investigating the presence of violence in the Grimm brothers' Cinderella with the intention of finding out what kind of processes predominate in this tale and whether they can be related to violent actions. The analysis involved firstly, a study of the frequency and concordances of some words belonging to the semantic field 'violence', surveying in detail the context in which they appear and secondly, the analysis of transitivity processes. The method proved to be a good strategy to check whether each character's identity and social position (power) were somehow related to the infliction of violence within this context. As a general conclusion drawn from the analysis of the results, a tentative proposal could be formulated: a corpus-based analysis in conjunction with both, a transitivity analysis and a Critical Discourse Analysis could empirically detect the presence of controversial topics such as violence in different types of texts.

KEYWORDS:

Corpus analysis, transitivity analysis, CDA, violence, Grimm brothers' collection, linguistic intervention.

RESUMEN

El objetivo principal de este artículo es analizar los resultados obtenidos al investigar la presencia de actos violentos en el cuento Cenicienta, de los hermanos Grimm. El objetivo era averiguar qué tipo de procesos predominan en esta historia y si pueden estar relacionados con acciones violentas. El análisis consistió, en primer lugar, en un estudio de la frecuencia y concordancias de algunas palabras relacionadas con el campo semántico 'violencia', examinando con detalle el contexto en el que aparecen. En segundo lugar se llevó a cabo un análisis de los procesos de transitividad. El método resultó ser una buena estrategia para comprobar si la identidad de cada personaje y la posición social (el poder) estaban relacionadas de alguna manera con la imposición de la violencia en este contexto. Como conclusión general del análisis de los resultados, podría afirmarse que un análisis basado en la lingüística de corpus junto con un análisis de transitividad y un análisis crítico del discurso podría detectar empíricamente la presencia de temas controvertidos como la violencia en diferentes tipos de textos.

PALABRAS CLAVE:

Análisis de corpus, análisis de transitividad, CDA, violencia, cuentos de los hermanos Grimm, intervención lingüística

1. INTRODUCTION

This article springs from the observation that language can be seen as a tool to justify an intervention to modify attitudes regarding violence in a changing society. Taking this statement into account, the main reason for the choice of this particular study is that in my opinion, violence and childhood are two terms which should never converge (Alcantud, 2010: 20-25). For this reason, I claim that a revision of literature which comes from oral tradition and which sometimes features a violent medieval society might help, to a certain extent, to lessen some of the most serious effects of general violence and unnecessary fears in children. In other words, I believe that a linguistic intervention in traditional fairy tales collections, like for instance the ones by the Grimm brothers, might be positive in order to equalize the reading criteria according to age which most publishing companies follow. I would like to make clear that the aim of the present article is neither to criticize such a piece of literary work as the Grimm brothers' fairy tales collection nor to carry out any kind of censorship, because the importance of this collection in the history of literature is out of question. What I am trying to demonstrate empirically and thus, objectively, by means of a corpus linguistics analysis (in the first stage of my analysis) is that there are lexical and grammatical manifestations of violence in the text which should be treated coherently with the publishing criteria according to the age of current literary works aimed at children. …

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