The Stylistic Analysis of “The Supreme Illusion” by Arnold Bennette I`d like to speculate upon Arnold Bennette and one of his works. Arnorld Bennette is a British novelist, playwright, critic, essayist and journalist. His first published novel was The Man From The North. This was followed by Anna of The Five Towns, The Old Wives` Tale, Clayhanger, The Card and Hilda Lessways. Bennette is credited with more than 80 books and during the 1920s was considered among the leaders of English literature.
And now I`d like to analyse a tragic tale from The Matodor of the Five Towns which is called The Supreme Illusion. As for the title, it`s a topical one. This text is about one of man`s disillusions and this suitable title helps us to understand the contents of the story, which deals with such themes as art, theatre and famous people and their satisfied ambitions. According to its form, it`s a short story in 2 parts. A narrator comes to Paris for the production of Notre-Dame de la Lune but at the hotel an ugly woman upsets his arrival.
He meets his friend Minor Boissy and they talk about Minor`s careeras a playwright. Boissy tells about his leading actress Blanche and the narrator believes that she`s a young and pretty woman but in fact Blanche is just that woman whom he met having arrived at the hotel. In the plot structure there`s exposition where we make the acquaintance of the characters and Minor tells about his life and Blanche; climax, where the narrator expects Blanche to be magnificent, and denouement – his disappointment.
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It seems to me that the message of the story can be formulated as a proverb “If you want no disappointment, don`t indulge in illusions” The author uses some stylistic means to create the atmosphere and to convey it to the reader: flashback- to explain the reader the reason of the narrator`s state of excited annoyance; here we can see a great number of epithets describing French hotels (reasonable little hotel, haughtily-managed hotels, a magnificent porter); detachments (humiliated and helpless, her eyes were hard-hard) and parantheses (which we all know, and whose name we all give in confidence to all our friends).
The narrator`s annoyance is showed even with the help of elliptical sentences (But no! ) and it also should be noted that they are with exclamatory marks. Later the narrator calms down and to prove it the author uses antithesis (a disagreeable excitement changes into an agreeable one). The author uses direct and indirect methods of characterization to describe his characters, that`s why we can judge about his attitude to them through his descriptions.
To show how unpleasant and stout the woman is numerous epithets are found (barbaric and repulsive creature, offensive hag, odious creature), climax (a savagely-dressed, ugly and ageing woman); simile (her automobile as large as a railway carriage); inversion (pretty she could never have been) and of course irony (if she had been young and pretty, she would have had the right to be rude and domineering). But for Boissy Minor she`s different; he admires her, he always desires to satisfy her ambitions.
She`s the sense of his life (it`s proved by anadiplosis: it`s the woman, it`s the woman who.. ) but he`s a rather realistic person (Don`t expect too much) despite he`s a prominent and wealthy man (metonymy: all the walls of Paris were shouting his name; climax: Octave Boissy was a very wealthy man, he even looked a very wealthy man; metaphor: one of the darlings of success; epithet: of an absurdly luxurious civilazation).
He`s unpretentious and always says simply (the fact is I`m neurasthenic) although his disease hurts him (epithet: a morbid horror of walking) and usage of exclamatory sentences (I couldn`t.. ; I couldn`t.. ) but he tries to show it (antithesis: at once comic and tragic smile) as he laughs a lot. By his own words he explains his choice. There`s a great number of anadiploses (it`s not a question.. , that was my sole reason.. , it`s the woman…, his life consisted in one thing only) I like Arnold Bennette`s style of writing.
It goes without saying that his language is stylistically coloured, he perfectly mixes formal, informal and harsh words (offensive hag, to deign, monstrosities, barbaric creature). Sometimes they are useful to express the narrator`s disgust , sometimes – delight but always to intensify desired effect. The topis of this story is vital and actual and upon the theme of illusion and its aftermath we`ve speculated last time talking about the John Boyton Priestley`s play entitled The Dangerous Corner.
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