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Feminist Stylistic Analysis of the Short Story "Prelude"

Author HeWei
Tutor DongQiMing
School Capital Normal University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords feminist stylistics narrative analysis transitivity choices conversational analysis contextual factors analysis
Type Master's thesis
Year 2006
Downloads 276
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Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) is a prominent woman short story writer in modern English literature. Her great contributions to the origin of the modernist fiction, however, were not assured until the end of 20th century. Most of Mansfield’s works are concerned with female subject, depicting the living condition of women in various social classes. In her masterpiece "Prelude", Mansfield renders a vivid picture and spiritual world of women characters in a middle-class bourgeois family. There have been many critiques on "Prelude" concerning her outstanding writing techniques and modernist artistic devices. And in some recent review, "Prelude" is approached in the perspective of feminist literary criticism or psychoanalysis. This thesis studies the feminist theme in "Prelude" with feminist stylistics as the main analytical tool and narrative analysis as the supplementary method.First, according to the complementary feature of narratology and stylistics in analyzing fiction, this thesis studies the point of view and the narrative methods in "Prelude", making use of the narrative theories. From these analyses we have a deep insight into the works’ multi-personal points of view, and the narrative methods of accretion and reproduction.Second, this thesis tries to reveal the feminist theme of "Prelude" in three analytical perspectives—transitivity choices, pragmatic interpretation of conversation, and creation of symbols. Through "Prelude" Mansfield makes it clear that the origin of women’s misery is the oppression of the patriarchal society. Marriage and childbearing are the destiny of women in that kind of society, and they are born to be the sacrifice of their family and the properties of their husbands. The female protagonist, Linda, in "Prelude", however, is different from the

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