Stylistic analysis of the pickwick club

7 July 2016

The passage is an extract from Dickens’ novel “The posthumous papers of the Pickwick club” from the chapter II which originally was called “The First Day’s Journey, And The First Evening’s Adventures; With Their Consequences”. Here we are able to see the outset of the novel and we get to know the main character of the novel – Mr. Samual Pickwick. The description of Mr. Pickwick is a brilliant example of Dickens’ biting irony. While representing him, Dickens mocks him, revealing him as a “great man” who reflects early morning on philosophical questions and who “is ready for the reception of any discoveries worthy of being noted down”.

The irony is hidden in the comparison of Mr. Pickwick with the sun which “burst from his slumbers”. We also notice repetition of the word “sun” relative at first to the sun itself and then to Mr. Pickwick. It increases the irony. But he isn’t just subject of mockery, but also the personification of joy. The choice of epithets employed by Dickens to describe “the great man” reveals his ironic but also appealing attitude to him. One should note a peculiar use of the word “to put” in the first paragraph which isn’t use in its direct meaning to cause to be (in a position or place).

It is used as if we didn’t speak about a man, but about an inanimate think. It shows the Mr. Pickwick’s neglect to his own appearance or material values at all. The description of the cab driver of the second passage makes the metaphor and the sense of inanimate think stronger. He is described as “a strange specimen of the human race, in a sackcloth coat… and number round his neck”. We see an example of non-omniscient narrator who know everything about the character and reveals them through telling, that’s mean that he himself speaks about characters without stepping aside and letting them reveal themselves through actions.

There used the prolonged metaphor of Mr. Pickwick being compared in the some cases with inanimate think. We can see it from the selection of words used by Dickens when he states that “Mr. Pickwick and his portmanteau were thrown into the vehicle”. Here Mr. Pickwick and is inseparable from his own things. Then we notice the fine example of showing when author steps aside and lets character reveal himself through his own actions. We may note the exquisite curiosity of Mr. Pickwick and even inquisitive and prying.

It is revealed through repetitions of the word “reiterate” and “searching for further information”, “To note down”, “out came the note-book again”, and at last “Mr. Pickwick entered every word of this statement in his note-book, with the view of communicating it to the club”. Here we can also see the outset of getting to know the members of the club, who were waiting for their “illustrious leader”. That epithets shows how much did they appreciate Mr. Pickwick who had founded the “Pickwick club”.

Author is also use logical and figurative periphrasis – Is a device which according to Webster’s dictionary denotes the use of a longer phrasing in place of a possible shorter or plainer form of expression. It is also called circumlocution. Periphrases aims at pointing to one of the seemingly insignificant or barely noticeable features or properties of the given object and intensifies this property by naming the object by the property. The example of logical periphrasis in this chapter is – The punctual servant of all work – sun.

Periphrasis are used to increase the irony of the narration. In the description of driver we can see the finest example of simile. To use a simile is to characterize one object by bringing it into contact with another object belonging to an entirely different class of things. Here it comes “to spar away like clockwork”. The cabman’s speech is also worth looking through. He speaks with mistaken pronunciation of the words, often swallowing the sounds: ‘and then arter aggerawatin’ me to assault him, gets three witnesses here to prove it.

But I’ll give it him, if I’ve six months for it. Come on! ‘ It is made to produce an effect of a man from a lower social class by using him such lexical stylistic device as colloquial words. The description of a man saved Mr. Pickwick from the enraged crowd arise the peculiar interest to wit here is used synecdoche which is a form of metonymy- a figure of speech in which a part is substituted for a whole or a whole for a part. “Come along, then” said he of the green coat. In his speech, as he lead Mr. Pickwick away, the syntax stylistic device was used to wit – ellipsis.

Elliptical are those sentences in which one or both principal parts (subject and predicate) are felt as missing. It is used especially in colloquial style of speech. It is used with certain stylistic aims in view. Thus it imparts a kind of emotional tension to the author’s narration. Here it contributes to the acceleration of the tempo in speech to create the sensation of a hurry and agitation of the man. All the panoply of stylistic devices used in this chapter are put together in order to create the humorous, ironic impact on the reader.

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