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 Ling 131: Language & Style
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 Topic 8 - Discourse structure and point of view > Point of view in a more extended example

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Session Overview
Discourse structure and point of view
Discourse structure of 1st and 3rd person novels
Being the author!
Different kinds of point of view
Linguistic indicators of point of view
Ideological viewpoint
Point of view in a more extended example
Point of view checksheet
Topic 8 'tool' summary
Useful Links

Point of view in a more extended example

Task A

Read the introduction we provide below, and then read the passage it introduces carefully until you feel you understand it and are familiar with it.

Context: We have already examined a small extract from Fanny and Annie on the linguistic indicators of viewpoint page, when we introduced the idea of attitudinal viewpoint. Lawrence's short story is told via a 3rd-person narrator who narrates a considerable amount of the story from Fanny's viewpoint. She is thus the main 'reflector' or 'focaliser' in the story and we tend to sympathise with her as we read it. Fanny, a governess who has lost her job, has returned to the village she grew up in, and everyone assumes that she will marry her childhood sweetheart, Frank Goodall. But it is clear from the beginning that Fanny is really returning because she has nowhere else to go, and so, at best, she is lukewarm to her proposed marriage. This is reflected in the extract we have already examined though the attitudinal adjectives marking her viewpoint.

When she gets off the train she thinks of the station as small and grubby and this sets the tone for the story: she doesn't seem to like the village she grew up in or her fiancé very much. She has left them behind in social and attitudinal terms. She consistently uses the 'title + last name' formulation 'Mrs Goodall' to address Frank's mother, suggesting a rather distant social relationship with her prospective mother-in-law. The extract below occurs towards the end of the story, and the incident described appears to be the factor which helps Fanny decide to marry Frank. Indeed, soon after the incident she addresses Mrs Goodall as 'mother' for the first time.

So, the context for the passage below is that although it has been assumed by everyone else that Fanny will marry Harry, now that she has returned to the village, she has been debating in her own mind whether to go ahead or not. The scene is the village church, in the middle of a church service, and with the entire village, including Fanny, in the congregation. Harry is a soloist in the church choir. As one of the hymns comes to a close on Harry's solo, an extraordinary event happens.

After you are familiar with the passage, for each sentence in turn, write down:
  (a) whose viewpoint you think we are getting
  (b) what kind of viewpoint you think is being represented (spatial, temporal,   social, attitudinal, conceptual), and
  (c) what linguistic markers of viewpoint are involved.

To compare your answer for each sentence with ours, click on the sentence number

But at the moment when Harry's voice sank carelessly down to his close, and the choir, standing behind him, were opening their mouths for the final triumphant outburst, a shouting female voice rose up from the body of the congregation (1). The organ gave one startled trump, and went silent; the choir stood transfixed (2). "You look well standing there, singing in God's holy house," came the loud, angry female shout (3). Everybody turned electrified (4). A stoutish, redfaced woman in a black bonnet was standing up denouncing the soloist (5). Almost fainting with shock, the congregation realised it (6). "You look well, don't you, standing there singing solos in God's holy house, you, Goodall (7). But I said I'd shame you (8). You look well, bringing your young woman here with you, don't you? (9) I'll let her know who she's dealing with (10). A scamp as won't take the consequences of what he's done. " (11) The hard-faced, frenzied woman turned in the direction of Fanny (12). "That's what Harry Goodall is, if you want to know." (13) And she sat down again in her seat (14). Fanny, startled like all the rest, had turned to look (l5). She had gone white, and then a burning red, under the attack (l6). She knew the woman: a Mrs Nixon, a devil of a woman, who beat her pathetic, drunken, red-nosed second husband, Bob, and her two lanky daughters, grown-up as they were (17). A notorious character (18). Fanny turned round again, and sat motionless as eternity in her seat (19).

(D.H. Lawrence , Fanny and Annie)


Task B

We have two more questions for you to consider. Write down your comments, before comparing them with ours (by clicking on the question).

A. What can we learn in general terms from this exercise?

B. And what can we learn about the story itself?


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