The stylistic power of the pronoun — КиберПедия 

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The stylistic power of the pronoun

The stylistic functions of the pronoun also depend on the disparity between the traditional and contextual (situational) meanings. This is the grammatical metaphor of the first type based on the transposition of the form, when one pronoun is transposed into the action sphere of another pronoun.

So personal pronouns We, You, They and others can be employed in the meaning different from their dictionary meaning.

The pronoun We that means "speaking together or on behalf of other people" can be used with reference to a single person, the speaker, and is called the plural of majesty (Pluralis Majestatis). It is used in Royal speech, decrees of King, etc.

And for that offence immediately do we exile him hence. (Shakespeare)

The plural of modesty or the author's we is used with the purpose to identify oneself with the audience or society at large. Employing the plural of modesty the author involves the reader into the action making him a participant of the events and imparting the emotions prevailing in the narration to the reader.

My poor dear child, cried Miss Crawly, our passion unrequited then ?

Are we pining in secret? Tell me all, and let me console you. (Thackeray)

The pronoun you is often used as an intensifier in an expressive address or imperative:

Just you go in and win. (Waugh)

Get out of my house, you fool, you idiot, you stupid old Briggs. (Thackeray)

In the following sentence the personal pronoun they has a purely expressive function because it does not substitute any real characters but has a generalising meaning and indicates some abstract entity. The implication is meant to oppose the speaker and his interlocutor to this indefinite collective group of people.

All the people like us are we, and everyone else is they. (Kipling)

Such pronouns as One, You, We have two major connotations: that of 'identification' of the speaker and the audience and 'generalization' (contrary to the individual meaning).

Note should be made of the fact that such pronouns as We, One, You that are often used in a generalized meaning of 'a human being' may have a different stylistic value for different authors.

Speaking of such English writers as Aldus Huxley, Bertrand Russel and D. H. Lawrence, J. Miles writes in her book "Style and Proportion": The power of Huxley's general ONE is closer to Russel's WE than to Lawrence's YOU though all are talking about human nature.

She points out that scientists like Charles Darwin, Adam Smith and many others write using ONE much in the same way as Huxley does.

She maintains that it is not merely the subject of writing but the attitude, purpose and sense of verbal tradition that establish these distinctions in expression (41).

Employed by the author as a means of speech characterisation the overuse of the I pronoun testifies to the speaker's complacency and egomania while you or one used in reference to oneself characterise the speaker as a reserved, self-controlled person. At the same time the speaker creates a closer rapport with his interlocutor and achieves empathy.

- You can always build another image for yourself to fall in love with. - No, you can't. That's the trouble, you lose the capacity for building. You run short of the stuff that creates beautiful illusions. (Priestly)

When the speaker uses the third person pronoun instead of I or we he or she sort of looks at oneself from a distance, which produces the effect of estrangement and generalization. Here is an example from Katherine Mansfield's diary provided in Arnold's book Стилистика английского языка (4, С. 187).

I do not want to write; I want to live. What does she mean by that? It's hard to say.

Possessive pronouns may be loaded with evaluative connotations and devoid of any grammatical meaning of possession.

Watch what you're about, my man! (Cronin)

Your precious Charles or Frank or your stupid Ashley! (Mitchell)

The same function is fulfilled by the absolute possessive form in structures like Well, you tell that Herman of yours to mind his own business. (London)

The range of feelings they express may include irony, sarcasm, anger, contempt, resentment, irritation, etc.

Demonstrative pronouns may greatly enhance the expressive colouring of the utterance.

That -wonderful girl! That beauty! That world of wealth and social position she lived in! (London)

These lawyers! Don't you know they don't eat often? (Dreiser)

In these examples the demonstrative pronouns do not point at anything but the excitement of the speaker.

Pronouns are a powerful means to convey the atmosphere of informal or familiar communication or an attempt to achieve it.

It was Robert Ackly, this guy, that roomed right next to me. (Salinger)

Claws in, you cat. (Shaw)

Through the figurative use of the personal pronouns the author may achieve metaphorical images and even create sustained compositional metaphors.

Thus using the personal pronoun she instead of the word "sea" in one of his best works The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway imparts to this word the category of feminine gender that enables him to bring the feeling of the old man to the sea to a different, more dramatic and more human level.

He always thought of the sea as 'la mar' which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her. Sometimes those who love her say bad

things about her but they are always said as though she were a woman. (Hemingway)

'n the same book he calls a huge and strong fish a he:

He is a great fish and I must convince him, he thought. I must never let him vam his strength. (Hemingway)

Such recurrent use of these pronouns throughout the novel is charged with the message of the old man's animating the elemental forces of the sea and its inhabitants and the vision of himself as a part of nature. In this case the use of the pronouns becomes a compositional device.

All in all we can see that pronouns possess a strong stylistic potential that is realized due to the violation of the normal links with their object of reference.

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