Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Semantics,vocabulary,semantic

Analysis of Dialogues in Sons and Lovers from Relevance-theoretical Perspective

Author LiuWenQiang
Tutor XiaoLiJun
School Hunan University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords Sons and Lovers character’s dialogue relevance theory ostension and inference
CLC H313
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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In portraying characters, especially complex and dynamic ones, a writer can employ various techniques. As character dialogue helps unfold the plots, depict characters and reveal the theme of the novel, it is one of the techniques applied by writers. This thesis, an interdisciplinary study of linguistics and literature,intends to analyze in detail the characters’dialogues in Sons and Lovers from the perspective of relevance-theoretical communication. Although this classical novel has been much studied since its publication, few studies have explored it from the perspective of pragmatics. The fact that Lawrence unfolds the complicated relationship between characters, character psychological contradiction and Paul’s growing process through a large number of characters’dialogues makes it possible to analyze the characters’dialogues from the relevance-theoretical perspective.First, the criticism and reviews on Sons and Lovers are surveyed with much emphasis on the existent subject matters since the nineteenth century. The analysis of characters’dialogues from the pragmatic approach is thus introduced. Then, relevance-theoretical communication is carefully reviewed, which serves as the theoretical ground for the analysis of characters’dialogues in Sons and Lovers.After reviewing previous studies on this novel, this thesis focuses on analyzing the characters’dialogues in detail from four perspectives of the relevance theory: ostension and inference, mutual manifestness, contextual effect and optimal relevance with the hope to making out how the dialogues help convey the novel theme, draw pictures of the characters and reveal their inner world. It is found out that the characters’dialogues in this novel are the natural results of the writer’s intensions. It is explored that the indispensable function of fictional dialogue viewed from the pragmatic point of view in Sons and Lovers helps shape character images: Paul Morel, Gertrude, Miriam Leiver, Clara Dawes and Walter Morel. Besides Paul’s effort to inform Clara of her husband’s illness and his attempt to show his mother that he does not love Miriam reveal a psychology, where the dialogues have undergone a series of ostension and inference processes. Oedipus complex, a well proved traditional theme of the novel, can also be obtained through the analyses of characters’dialogues from relevance-theoretical perspective. The analyses of characters’dialogue also reveal a series of contradictions: Paul’s inner contradiction, Gertrude’s feeling towards her husband—a contradiction between love and hate and Miriam’s spiritual and physical love contradiction.Novel reading is a kind of communication between the writer and the reader, in which the reader must infer and seek the most relevance to the writing intention behind the language so as to catch the hidden meaning intended by the writer. It is hoped that this pragmatic approach to Sons and Lovers may contribute to the interdisciplinary study of literary works, which should be encouraged, to a better interpretation and appreciation of traditional literary works and even to literary criticism as well.

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