Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Stylistic analysis of Sara Suleri’s Meatless Days

Sara Suleri’s Meatless Days is applauded the world over for its linguistic ingenuity. There is no doubt that Sara has used language to achieve a diversity of stylistic, even poetic effects. But what is regarded to be ‘style’ in literature is so infused with a subjective and emotional element in language that, any analysis of that language is regarded to be injurious to it. Besides, it is believed to be elusive element in that analysis will ‘defuse’ what is essentially a work of ‘synthesis’ and ‘fusion.’
Linguists, however, disagree and believe that whatever literary ‘effect’ and ‘vision’ is reconstructed in a poem or piece of fiction, it is constructed through language and should be subject to linguistic analysis like any non-literary language.
Attempts of linguists to study literature, especially literary prose have, however, revealed that a long piece of fictional prose can be studied only when, firstly, guided by readers’ intuitive judgement, and secondly, by a ‘judicious’ selection of language (Leech, Widdowson and Short) made by a discriminating mind about what constitutes the emotional, expressive or visionary element of a text. The intuitive judgment is considered to be an important ‘tool’ of investigation in qualitative research methodology in general (Hakim), and in the study of literary discourses in particular
(Carter and Burton).

Analyzing the Language of Fiction
Since fiction is written in prose, all discussion about the language of fiction necessarily concerns with the language of ‘prose’ in fiction. For the word ‘fiction’ taken alone may refer to invention of character, plot and other schemes that create and present a world of imagination. In linguistic studies, however, our concern is not with the invention of characters, or plot construction - not directly, that is. The primary concern is with those linguistic features, or patterns of the ‘narrative’ which distinguish literary prose from non-literary prose. Literariness is considered to be an elusive quality. At best it is defined as the emotive or expressive element of language in poetry or prose fiction. The only linguistic
element associated with the ‘emotive’ element in literature has been found to be lexis or vocabulary. There is a special vocabulary of literature, which will look ‘deviant,’ outside literature, but it conveys the subjective and emotive meanings in literature. But then, much of literature is written in normal language. In that case the literary element is always difficult to define in purely linguistic terms – especially in lengthy prose.
There is generally an agreement that apart from metre, the differences between the language of poetry and the language of prose may not be readily discernible. The study of some forms of poetry may sometimes reveal more readily some linguistic features of vocabulary and grammar which appear to be ‘deviant’ (Widdowson) when compared to the ‘norm.’ But then a careful examination of literary prose, especially in fiction, also reveals the same features- only differently distributed (Lodge). The literary element in both, poetry and prose fiction, consists in the fashioning of ‘patterns over and above those required by the actual language system’ (Widdowson). Now these ‘patterns’ need not be ‘deviations’ nor may they appear to be lying apart from the patterns that form the norm of language. The components of these patterns my be ‘deviant’ or ‘non-deviant’ or both. The literary ‘patterns’ fashioned ‘over and above’ the normal language are recognised to be images, metaphors, similes, symbols, figures of speech, irony paradox and a host of other rhetorical devices that may or may not be specific to certain ‘genres.’ And they may be composed of deviant, or non-deviant or both kinds of components.
A linguistic study of the literary language may concern itself with any form of these components, deviant or non-deviant; or alternatively, with how both components knit together a specific form of ‘literary’ pattern, or effect. Therefore, in any given investigation one must ‘select’ some features for stylistic analysis in one study and ignore the rest. This is done for the following reasons:
There is no objective way of determining a statistical norm, against which to evaluate a deviant structure or pattern. So for the sake of convenience and practical necessity we have to rely in general on relative norms.
It is not possible to have a complete list of the properties of a text; therefore, we have to select the features to study.
There is no direct relation between statistical deviance and stylistic significance: Literary considerations therefore must guide us in selecting what features to examine. There is no absolute consistency of style within a given domain, and therefore, in measuring the overall statistical properties of text, we may fail to capture significant variations of style.
Therefore, there is no agreement on the set of descriptive categories required for an adequate account of a language such as English; consequently different investigators
are likely to differ in the way they identify linguistic features in a text. (Leech and Short)
Hence in this investigation, only those sentences are studied that strike me as ‘ingenious’ expression of some kind on the basis of my intuitive judgement as an ordinary reader. My aim is merely to explore and find some linguistic patterns in Sara’s sentences. I have used linguistic tools and terminology primarily for the sake of precision. But in the study of ‘literary’ expression, it is absolutely essential not to be confined to/ by it. To seek linguistic ground for reactions or responses intuitively aroused in the reader through the experience of literary or poetic language, linguistic structures must be interpreted for functions in a literary context. Hence intuition guides linguistic analysis made here, and analysis and interpretation merely seek, at least at this initial stage of enquiry, to account for reactions and responses that Sara’s expression arouses in ordinary readers, like me.
In the following section 1.3, I simply present a general but also a systematic and explorative account of what appears to me ingenuity of Sara’s language.

Intuitive ‘Cue’ to Ingenious Expression
In this section, I quote a selection of sentences that I have felt intuitively to be the most ‘expressive’ in the language of Meatless Days. Although the effort to work out prominent patterns of Sara’s style is momentarily deferred, I have divided these examples in three parts for general comment, again on the basis of ‘intuition’. The measure of Sara’s mastery over the creation of such ingenious sentences is that one can quote a handful out – of the (con) text, though such an act would rob them of their beauty and significance.
The first list of sentences that strike me as unusual are given below. I have made an effort to make this list as representative as possible. Italics here and elsewhere are all mine: I thought she was the very air I breathed, but Ifat was prior, prior.  Karachi’s traffic grew lunchtime crazed.
She gulped on her own eloquence, her breakfast bosom quaked… I was surprised beyond measure when that big head bent backward and wept, a quick summer shower of tears. By the time he left, all surfaces were dry.  Dadi with her flair for drama had allowed life to sit so heavily upon her back that her spine wilted and froze into a perfect curve, and so it was in the posture of a shrimp that she went scuttling through the day.  Sometimes, to my mother’s great distress, Dadi could berate satan in full eloquence only after she had clambered on top of the dining room table and lain there like a molding centerpiece.
Dadi…. waited for the return of her eldest son, my father. He had gone careening off to a place called Inglistan, or England, fired by some of the several enthusiams made available by the proliferating talk of independence.
I can tell this only to someone like Anita…as we go perambulating through the grimness of New Haven and feed upon the pleasures of our conversational ways.
There are many more like these. About these examples we notice that they contain different linguistic categories of ‘ingenious’ expression.

These categories are the following:
1. Words (Ifat was prior, prior)
2. Collocations (lunchtime crazed, breakfast bosom)
3. Phrases ( a quick summer shower of tears)
4. Clauses (She gulped on her own eloquence, her breakfast bosom quaked)

In linguistic description, we shall regard, ‘lunchtime crazed’ and ‘breakfast bosom’ as ‘deviant’ collocations. And though the words ‘gulp’ or ‘eloquence’ are not in themselves ‘deviant,’ the clause ‘She gulped on her eloquence’ is not a ‘norm’ either. According to semantic rules of English ‘gulp’ requires a food item and not ‘eloquence’ as its object. Since it is an unusual combination of ordinary words, it is ‘deviant’ – a form of ‘ingenious’ expression which has symbolic meaning in its ‘context.’ Similarly ‘summer shower of tears’ is symbolic description of tears – it is not an ordinary ‘shower’ but the literal meaning (of an image) are extended to apply it
to a different kind of phenomenon. This symbolic use of language is what we call ingenuity of literary expression.
One can infer from this brief discussion that Sara’s ‘ingenious’ literary expression consists in the blending of some deviant patterns into non-deviant patterns in her language. The full significance of their power and beauty can come into notice only in a larger context. A sentence like, “I try to lay the subject down and change its clothes, but before I know it, it has sprinted off evilly in the direction of ocular evidence” cannot make much sense without its immediate context: My audience is lost and angry to be lost, and both of us must find some token of exchange for this failed conversation. I try to lay the subject down and change its clothes, but before I know it, it has sprinted off evilly in the direction of ocular evidence. It goads me into saying, with
the defiance of a plea, “You did not deal with Dadi.”
Or, alternatively, only the context explains a particular ‘collocation’ or combination of words, revealing Sara’s freedom of invention:
The following morning General Yahya’s mistress came to mourn with us over breakfast, lumbering in draped with swathes of overscented silk. The brigadier lit an English cigarette – he was frequently known to avow that Pakistani cigarettes gave him a cuff - and bit on his moustache. “Yes,” he barked, “these are trying times.” “Oh yes, Gul,” Yahya’s mistress wailed, “These are such trying times.” She gulped on her own eloquence, her breakfast bosom quaked, and
then resumed authority over that dangling sentence, “It is so trying,” she continued, “I find it so trying, it is trying to us all, to live in these trying, trying times.” Ifat’s eyes met mine in complete accord: mistress transmogrified into muse:”
One can notice how Sara draws on the ‘context’ to create unusual patterns of language and meanings. The origin of ‘breakfast bosom’ becomes evident. So does the expressive quality of the sentence ‘She gulped on her own eloquence, her breakfast bosom quaked,’ when it follows the comment uttered by Yahya’s mistress, “These are such trying times.” And then it is followed by Sara’s own comment “and then resumed authority over that dangling sentence.” One also notices the impact of Sara’s cheeky reflections, like ‘mistress transmogrified into muse’ or her perceptions of sound effects
‘yes he barked’, and Yahya’s mistress ‘wailed’. There is a variety in the use of innovative expression. Such innovation is the result of Sara’s deep, intimate, intensely personal reactions in her private thoughts.
A good many sentences gain power and beauty from the conclusions she draws from her thoughts. These form the second kind of sentences I want to comment on:
There were times, as with love, when I felt only disappointment  In summers, too, we slept beneath the stars… until sleep came as a confirmation of the magnificent irrelevance of beauty.  Darkness after all is too literal a hiding-space, pretending as it does to make a secret of the body: since secrecy annuls, eats up, what is significant in surface, it cannot be sufficient to our tastes.  There is nothing that can disappoint someone who has learned to be engaged by the wavering course of disappointment  To mourn perhaps is simply to prolong a posture of astonishment
Something is coming to strip us to the bone....  Nobody can miss the suggestive power or the implied thought of these sentences, though full significance and the cutting- edge sharpness of these sentence will come home only when we put them back in their context. These are metaphoric or symbolic uses of language. They contain metaphors, comparisons or contrasts – sometimes identified by a linguistic element like ‘as’ or ‘since.’ Or, they may sometimes contain some ‘figures of speech’ (nothing can engage someone who has learned to be engaged by the wavering course of disappointment) or rhetorical devices (since secrecy annuls,….it cannot be sufficient to our taste). But most of the sentences have merely semantic connections with other ideas and images scattered in the texts. For example, the sentence ‘Something is coming to strip us to the bone…’ is a reference to the arrival of the ‘summer’ in its immediate context – but the statement also refers to ‘death’ through association of ideas like changing weather and passing time. There is another very special feature of Sara’s style. She frequently uses sentences, echoing some already heard idiom or quotation, or gives subtle twists to some famous literary expression or phrase for her desired meanings:

Let sleeping giants lie, I would say [about Tom] and widely skirted all subjects that might make him stir.   “Go, find yourself another legend and then return,” she quoted from
a forgotten rhyme.  I had not yet had my fill of educating America  ….but how could I do it, become Lilliput to the Gulliver of Tom? What a Jonah my voice feels to the whale of that context  Ifat before him and me following so fast behind
After the hurly burly of our childhood’s constant movement
But the hurly burly of it all ?… for the trouble with hurly burly is that it can sound convincing…  Those tales would wend their way into a final story.

I …watching my friend T.K formulate and reformulate sentences I knew he would never say. Down on the ground there was too much chatter anyway ....  We dangled quiet thought into the water until our sentences happened to tug us… into the kind of startlement that says: “My goodness – there’s actually a crab at the end of my line  I felt put out of joint by such bodily statement  …then chastened to imagined the arduous ness of what it means to scaffold me: poor winter tree, put upon by such a chattering plumage…
These sentences resonate with what has been said elsewhere, or before; Sara draws on several contexts, near and far. I am reminded of Chaucer, T.S Eliot, Donne, Shakespeare (particularly Hamlet), Swift and several others. No doubt, deviant collocations like ‘chattering plumage’ are understandable from the immediate context, but their full suggestive power comes into play only when a reader can hear echoes of the classical writers of English literature. These examples are, then, what form the ‘suggestive’ and ‘evocative’ power of her language. She evokes in the reader a meaning, an association, already known and a response already formed. It makes her language rich and powerful – for she adds to the meaning and significance by applying them to her personal and emotional life and experience.
This section has shown that the ingenuity of Sara’s literary style lies in: creating some deviant patterns of language and meaning - out of ‘normal’ patterns of grammar and vocabulary, that gain an expressive quality from several contexts both ‘near’ and ‘far’ Although we have already seen to some degree how ‘deviant’ and ‘non- deviant’ patterns are created, drawn from and blended with new and old contexts, this information is rather sketchy. It consists of examples randomly selected from the text. Since fiction is a large piece of ‘prose’ it will be advisable to look at the selection and choice of vocabulary and grammar together in larger pieces of discourse, to look for regular patterns of style beyond words.

Viewing Patterns in Discourse
As already demonstrated in section 1.2, the significance of a word, collocation, sentence or phrase can be grasped only in its context. This is so because the context provides the necessary connections. However words and collocations may refer to meanings beyond the context of discourse. We have already seen phrases like ‘the hurly burly of it all ” look for meaning outside the context. It is for this reason that Sara believes that words give her a freedom that grammar does not: “— as an infant I was absorbed with grammar before I had fully learned the names of things, which caused a single slippage in my nouns: I would call a marmalade a squirrel, and I’d call a squirrel a marmalade. Today I can understand the impulse and would very much like to call sugar an opossum; an antelope, tea. To be engulfed by grammar after all is a tricky prospect, and a voice deserves to declare its own control in any way it can, asserting that in the end it
is an inventive thing.”  Words give her the freedom to ‘recall’ many ‘contexts’ and then reconstruct them with words. Hence to study certain ‘deviant patterns’ one may have to go beyond the immediate (con) text. An extreme example of this kind can be represented through the following example. Talking about the Muslims who migrated from India to Pakistan, at the time of India’s partition in 1947, she makes strange use of ‘wail’ and ‘clattering’. The italics represent ‘deviations’ from the norm:
They tell me, nightmare trains had wailed them there, clattering
irreversibility over the tracks of that long unmaking  The immediate context of the text enables a proficient to work out that: ‘wailed them there’ means ‘brought them there’
‘clattering irreversibility’ means ‘making it impossible to reverse this situation’ In order to grasp the implication of these words, however, the reader should know that her reference is to trains which came to Lahore loaded with amputated dishevelled migrants from all over India who presented pictures of gruesome massacre, and unbearable misery. There was a lot of mourning, literal ‘wailing’ (a word that she has frequently used in Meatless Days) over the loss of human life. Of course the trains came ‘clattering irreversibility’ after the horror of 1947. She calls them ‘tracks of long unmaking,’ because the making of Pakistan for her is also its ‘unmaking.’ Unlike ‘breakfast bosom’ where the (con)text explains a deviation, it requires some knowledge of history to understand what ‘trains wailed them there’ refers to. Those who do not understand the context will be like the reader who does not grasp in full that ‘Ifat before and me following fast behind’ echoes Donne, or ‘hurly burly of it all’ refers to Shakespeare. One has to look ‘far’ to other ‘contexts’ or - other ‘texts’ to hear echoes of Swift, Chaucer and Shakespeare.
In contrast to these ‘deviations’ that require ‘contexts’ for meaning, Sara can also use a perfectly ordinary word to extraordinary effect. Notice, for example the use of wrinkle’ in her description of her friend Mustakor’s origin:
The first place where she lived was East Africa. My most trustworthy sources intimate me that Mustakori was born in the early 1950s, in the Tanganyika that was, the Tanzania of today. Her birthplace was Arusha, a coffee growing girdle of a district, lying in the shadow of Mount Meeru: a mountain, they say, which is far more shapely and satisfactory qua Kiliminjaro’s inflated slopes. Her parents, Asiatics,
claimed origin from Indian Punjab and Kashmir, via a de tour through Hong Kong, but I cannot stop to explain that complex wrinkle.
Here, we suddenly come upon it, to receive the new meanings of wrinkle, like all of her other comments that follow statements, qualifying them, colouring them with her feelings, perceptions and moods. Evidently, her mind has been working upon the map of geographical distances from India to Africa in terms of an image. She talks about ‘a girdle of a district’, ‘a de tour through Hong Kong’ that must indeed form a ‘complex wrinkle.’
Words not only help her to ‘recall’ or allude to context, but also ‘build’ (con)texts of her own choice – in relational patterns all her own. Hence I have noticed, one very special feature of her ‘style’ is to stay with some one word or idea through a number of sentences within a given paragraph, and move on to the next sentence or clause with the help of word associations, semantic connections and so on. In fact her paragraphs are built around the significance of one idea. Or, sometimes, in one paragraph she may simply be trying to reach from one idea to another associated thought. It will be useful now to look at a paragraph in order to understand this. I have chosen a representative paragraph of pure ‘reflection’ connecting a present moment  with the past. It is an example of self- incriminating thought, a reflection over the use of ‘bullying litanies’ while in love with Tom. But as they part ways, Sara learns about the folly of love, and admonishes herself for hiding a ‘Mother Baptist’ in her attitude without knowing it at first. Each sentence diverges far from the other, but the whole series aim to reach at the word ‘Mother Baptist’ connecting ‘stern pronouncements’ and bullying litanies’ in ‘her imperative mood’ to suggest her ‘transmogrification’ over the years.
This paragraph is selected from the story called “Goodbye to the Greatness of Tom.”
The habit broken, it was sweet relief to me to be spared the follies of each of my stern pronouncements, those bullying litanies I would deliver up to Tom, litanies of proper behaviour that sprang from hidden funds of my corrective zeal. At the time of their uttering, I was roundly persuaded by myself, but learned after a while to suspect the lack of conditionality in my own imperative mood. I had gone to
school in a convent, that must be it, the fault of a building in which nuns walked in unison to the whirring of a fan. 4For us their very habit was admonitory, a reminder that our souls were a little dishevelled, always in flight from the duty instigated by the dawning of each day. But who could think of dawn when already by midday the combination of heat hunger and all manner of inkiness sent us wheeling down those quiet corridors impulsively calling for carnival? In those days my friend was that wonderful woman, Kausar
Mehmood, who had artist’s hands and whose face always amazed us because it could look like James Mason and Ravi Shankar and Nazrul Islam, the mad Bengali poet, all at the same moment. "Why do photographers always catch me,” she once wondered aloud, “before my smile has reached its summit?” Well she would smile today if she saw my transmogrifications and in the cast of scold or frown recognize continuing traces of Mother Baptist in me.  There are eight sentences in this paragraph. None is simple. All are clause complexes (Halliday). So we find various arrangements of alpha, beta, gamma and theta clauses (Halliday), but alpha or super-ordinate clause comes always first except in the sentence which starts with ‘The habit broken’ – a subordinate clause. The clause complexes, one can see are built in such a manner that co-ordinate or subordinate clauses allow her to ‘comment’ or ‘muse’ on the ‘statements’ given usually in the main clause. Or sometimes, the following sentence ‘comments’ on the proposition in a preceding sentence. Now, the ratio of her declarative statement in the main clause to her ‘musings’ in co-ordinate or subordinate clauses is one to several at least in this ‘reflective’ paragraph. The only variation of this pattern is that sometimes comments act like statements, or statements like comments – producing sentences that form a chain of comments or chain of statements, indistinguishable from each other and other sentences.
But Sara always comments, even when she is not reflecting. In her style of writing is mirrored a need to ‘color’ with her perception even the most mundane of descriptions. Even a totally descriptive piece of her prose fiction will demonstrate this tendency. Notice, for instance, the following example:

Dadi, my father’s mother, was born in Meerut towards the end of the last century. She was married at sixteen and widowed in her thirtees, and by her latter decades could never exactly recall how many children she had borne. When India was partitioned, in August of 1947, she moved her thin pure Urdu to Punjab of Pakistan and waited for the return of her eldest son, my father. He had gone careening off to a place called Inglistan, or England, fired by some of the several enthusiasms made available by the proliferating talk of independence.
In this paragraph one cannot fail to notice the use of ‘appositives’ structures  - semantic reformulations in grammatical units, mainly of nouns, that stand in the relation of co-ordinates: Dadi, my father’s mother, was born in Meerut …waited for the return of her eldest son, my father. …a place called Inglistan, or England
To this one may add, the use of qualifying clauses like ‘fired by one of the several enthusiams…’ expressing again Sara’s view of things. Qualifiers are, then, the most obvious and direct form of her personal thought. It is essential to identify ‘qualifiers,’ then, for not all sub-ordinate or coordinate clauses are ‘qualifiers’ representing the writer’s subjective view, emotions and feelings in the following paragraphs:
So, worn by repetition, we stood by Ifat’s grave, and took note of narcissi, still alive, that she must have placed upon my mother on the day that she was killed. 2It made us impatient, in a way, as though we had to decide that there was nothing so farcical as grief and that it had to be eliminated from our diets for good.  It cut away, of course,
our intimacy with Pakistan, where history is synonymous with grief and always most at home in the attitude of grieving. Our congregation in Lahore was brief, and then we swiftly returned to a more geographic reality.‘We are lost Sara,’ Shahid said to me on the phone from England. "Yes, Shahid’ I firmly said, ‘we are lost.’  Qualifiers double almost in every sentence, especially of nouns, whether lexical or grammatical. One can notice that double qualifiers occur in a series of alternate sub- ordinate and co-ordinate clauses, here and in the following paragraph too. Today I’d be less emphatic. 2Ifat and Mamma must have honeycombed and crumbled now, in the comfortable way that overtakes bedfellows. 3And somehow it seems apt and heartening
that Dadi, being what she was, never suffered the  omposities that enter the most well-meaning of farewells and seeped instead into the nooks and crannies of our forgetfulness. 4She fell between the two stools of grief, which is appropriate, since she was greatest when her life was at its most unreal. 5Anyway she was always outside our ken, an anecdotal thing, neither more nor less.  Some sweet reassurance of reality accompanies my discourse when I claim that when Dadi died we forgot to grieve.  There are many things to be noted here. One can start by mentioning the number and variety of qualifiers: in the comfortable way that overtakes bedfellows Dadi, being what she was.
She fell…, which is appropriate,…  ..since she was greatest when…  she was always outside our ken, an anecdotal thing, neither more, nor less. The variety of structures however, can be classified in co-ordinate ‘paratactic’ or sub-ordinate ‘hypotactic’ relations (Halliday). The next important thing to notice is how different clauses functions at lower ranks of phrases to qualify verbs, adjectives and nouns. Also sub-ordinate structures on a lower rank have been used to express paratactic or co-ordinate relations on a higher rank, or vice versa.
For to be lost is just a moment’s respite, after all, like a train that cannot help but stop between the stations of its proper destination in order to stage a pretend version of the end. Dying, we saw, was simply change taken to points of mocking extremity, and wasn’t a thing to lose us but to find us out, catch us, where we least wanted to be caught. 3In Pakistan, Bhutto rapidly became obsolete after a succession of bumper harvests, and none of us can fight the ways
that the names of Mamma and Ifat have become archaism, quaintness on our lips. Finally, there is also what Leech and Short call ‘parallelism’ – considered characteristic of literary sentences (Leech and Short). Parallelism is created through juxtaposing of similar grammatical units to work out comparisons and contrasts around one or similar notion(s). The sentence branches out in different directions to work  around these comparisons, through semantic and lexical cohesion of some sort. There is a great variety in parallel structures. Hence both grammatical and lexical patterns are used systematically to qualify ideas.
The use of qualifiers is then the most significant aspect of Sara’s style. She stops frequently, it would seem, at each step, in the middle of a statement to insert a comment with the help of a word, some phrases, or a variety of clauses. Hence, nouns, adjectives and verbs in each phrase of each clause are properly qualified, as she moves to the end of the sentences. Through qualifiers, she ‘foregrounds’ (Leech & Short) both her thought, and the thing thought upon. She uses both modifiers (through adjectives, or adverbs pre-modifying adjectives) and qualifiers in a given piece of discourse, but qualifiers (following verbs, nouns or adjectives) exceed by far the modifiers.

Qualifiers: Patterns of Ingenious Expression
This section will illustrate the linguistic patterns of sentences we have noted in the previous section of this paper. I have already commented in some detail on the use of literary vocabulary and deviant collocations. It has been shown how the choice of literary verbs, nouns, adjectives or deviant collocations make an important feature of Sara’s style. In this section, my aim is to focus on patterns of sentence into which this notably literary vocabulary is organized. Therefore, one can conclude on the evidence of paragraphs analysed here that Sara has a distinct ‘literary style’ with deviant and non-deviant structures blended together in a variety of contexts. The representative paragraphs analysed here bespeak of Sara’s dexterity in composing sentences that convey the most trivial detail strongly coloured by her perception of things, her feelings and her angle of thought. The construction of her sentences seems to have been consciously designed to make room for an essentially personal, intimate ‘comment’ which follows some statement already given. The comment is made, generally, through the use of qualifying remarks, through a number of patterns – particularly through appositives, paratactic constructions (juxtapositions of co-ordinates) and relational patterns in hypotactic constructions. This leads us to conclude that Sara’s ‘musings’ determine the structure of her sentences and paragraphs, as well as the choice of vocabulary and combination of collocations in a particular way - especially where qualifying remarks are to be made. An abundant presence of qualifiers at different ranks in her sentences provides a linguistically determined feature of ‘style’ that allow her to build her vision into the very texture of narrative art.

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