The most powerful expressive means (EM) of any language are phonetic. Pitch, melody, stress, sounds, pausation, drawling, whispering, a sing-song manner of speech are very effective EM. These EM are studied by phonetics. Stylistics observes the nature of EM and their capacity of becoming stylistic devices (SD). The phonetic SD are alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, rhyme, rhythm.
Alliteration [ælite´rei∫n] is A phonetic stylistic device which consists in the repetition of similar consonants IN close succession to express a definite feeling, to contribute something to the general effect of the message.
Cf. Those evening bells! Those evening bells!
How many a tale their music tells,
Of youth, and home, and that sweet time,
When last I heard their soothing chime.
The repetition of the sounds /lz /, /m/ renders the effect of bell chiming, the beauty of music.
Assonance [´æsənəns] is a phonetic SD which consists in the repetition of similar vowels in close succession with the purpose to create a strong emotional effect.
Cf. This tuneful peal will still ring on. /Th. Moore/
The repetition of the sound /i/ in this line renders the musical effect too.
Onomatopoeia [ no mæto ´piə] is a phonetic SD which consists in imitating sounds produced in nature (wind, sea, thunder), by people (sighing, laughter, patter of feet), by animals, by things, etc. This SD achieves a certain euphonic impression; expresses a definite feeling or state of mind.
Cf. Seem sweet in every whispered word.
A gentle winds, and waters near. /О.Вуron/
In these lines alliteration and onomatopoeia go together, these SD render the effect of wind and soft noise.
Rhyme is a phonetic SD which consists in the repetition of identical or similar sound combinations of words. In verse they are usually placed at the end of the final lines. The rhymes may be arranged in couplets (аa), in triplets (aaa), in cross rhymes (abab) and in framing (abba).
Rhythm as a phonetic SD consists in regular periodicity of long / short, stressed / unstressed, high / low segments of speech. It brings order into me utterance. Rhythm intensifies the emotion. It is based on the regular alteration of opposing units in verse. In prose rhythm rests on certain syntactical SD (enumeration, repetition, parallel construction, etc.). In prose rhythm, unlike verse rhythm, lacks consistency.
Rhythmical inversion is traced in Shakesperian lines Youth is full of pleasance, Age is full of care. Youth like summer Morn, Age like winter weather. The poet's discourse is expressed here by both syntactical and rhythmical parallelism.
Test in Stylistics
1 Commit to memory the poems "The Bells of St.Petersburgh" by Th. Moore, "Twilight" and stanza by G. Byron.
The bells OF sT. PETERSBURGH
Those evening bells. Those evening bells a
How many a tale their music tells, a
Of love, and home, and that sweet time, b
When last I heard their soothing chime. b
Those joyous hours are passed away c
And many a heart that then was gay c
Within the tomb now darkly dwells a
And hears no more those evening bells. a
And so 'twill be when I am gone. d
That tuneful peal will still ring on, d
While other bards shall walk these dells. a
And sing your praise, sweet evening bells. a
Вечірній дзвін, вечірній дзвін!
Багато дум наводе він.
Про рідний край, де я розцвів,
І щастя знав, і де любив,
Я як прощавшись з ним один
В останній раз там слухав дзвін!
Як марево, весна моя,
Пройшла; її не бачу я!
І скільки вже нема в живих
Тоді веселих, молодих!
Вони спочили, як один;
Не чутен їм вечірній дзвін!
Засну і я в землі сирій!
І по долині не моїй
За вітром пісні прогусти:
Там іншій лірник буде йти,
І вже не я, а стане він
Співати там вечірній дзвін!
It is the hour when from the boughs
The nightingale's high note is heard;
It is the hour when lover's vows
Seem sweet the every whispered word;
And gentle winds and waters near,
Make music to the lovely ear.
Each flower the dews have lightly wet
And in the sky the stars are met,
And on the wave is deeper blue,
And on the leaf a browner hue,
And in the heaven that clear obscure,
So softy dark, and darkly pure,
Which follows the decline of day,
As twilight melts beneath me moon away.
2 Pick out the cases of the phonetic SD and explain their stylistic charge.
3 Speak on the idea of the poems, the images the poets resort to in rendering their messages to the readers.
4 Comment on the main phonetic SD elaborated by both poet.
5 Identify rhyming schemes working in each poem.
6 What phonetic SD culminate each poem?
7 In your answers make use of the following topical units: it rhymes to a (fixed) scheme, it gives a profound reflection, of the dominant SD is, interrelation of SD, to give a concrete picture of the natural phenomenon, to describe the image of, the parallel rhythmic arrangement of lines, to correspond to the real picture of, the images of wind, water are employed, the emotive tone is brought out by the interjections, it becomes clear that the striking phonetic SD is, rhymes not only mark the end of lines but also bring the poet's idea home, the lyrical, meditative tone of the poem, devoted to the everlasting beauty of Nature.
8 Commit to memory and analyze the next poem by G.G. Byron:
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is a society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and Music in it's roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more, From these our interviews, in which I steal From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.
EXPRESSIVE MEANS AND STYLISTIC DEVICES
ON THE LEXICAL LEVEL
The expressive power of poetic words, archaic words, barbarisms, vulgarisms, interjections and non-standard units can hardly be doubted. Lexical EM are language words and set-expressions emotive-expressive power of which arc contrasted to neutral units.
In the realm of stylistics flourish both colloquial and literary units which are neither standard nor trite. Lexicology deals wim different strata of vocabulary. Stylistics deals with stylistic functions of the language units, their novelty force, unexpectedness, unpredictability. Lexical EM are not enigmatic, they are registered in dictionary. The styfistic value of units becomes vivid only in the text, in linear representation. EМ and SD go together but apart. EM are made use of on the syntagmatic level when they are transformed into SD. Among lexical SD one should distinguish topical arrangement of words, choice of words.
Thus in the poem "Those evening bells" Th.Moore used a special
group of words (SD - choice of words) which are thematically (topically) oriented.
Cf. bells, soothing chime, tuneful peal, sweet evening bells. The archaic structure many a heart, dialectal word bard aren't
relevant here either, they convey freshness to everlasting unity of the past and present, praising the beauty of art.
1 Pick out the cases of the lexical SD in the Madrigal by W.Shakespeare.
Crabbed age and youth
Cannot live together:
Youth is full of pleasance,
Age is full of care;
Youth like summer morn,
Age like winter weather,
Youth like summer morn,
Age like winter bare:
Youth is full of sport.
Age’s breath is short,
Youth is nimble, Age is lame:
Youth is hot and bold.
Age is weak and cold,
Youth is wild and Age is tame:
Youth, I do adore thee
Age, I do abhore thee:
O my Love, my Love is young.
Age, I do defy thee.
2 What words are selected by the poet to create the image of youth?
3 Do the neutral words go alongside with the literary and colloquial ones in the poem, what's their function?
4 What elevated units are employed to render the effect or beauty (in the poems you've committed to memory)?
5 What's common for W. Shakespeare , Th.Moore and G.Byron in arranging lexical SD?
6 Are barbarisms or neologisms at work with the poem?
7 Did W. Shakespeare, Th. Moore and G. Byron welcome the poetic words into the poems we analyse?
8 In your answers try to use the following key units:
the theme / the message of the poem, structural design, the image of the poem, lexical SD used by the poem in the description of, poet's concept of youth, the contrasting images are depicted by the special choice of words (SD), to acquire a great emotional force, to bring out the intensity of, the poet's feelings, the topical words are, to achieve the desired effect, to glorify Nature/music, to manifest the ideas, opposing EM, to add to the solemn atmosphere, appeal of the poet.
EXPRESSIVE MEANS AND STYLISTIC DEVICES
ON THE SEMANTIC LEVEL
The words possess different meanings. The interaction of meanings results in SD (see table).
The interaction of dictionary and contextual meanings
Interaction of primary and derivative meanings
Interaction of logical and emotive meanings
Interaction of logical and nominal meanings
[ ksi´m r n]
[hai´p :b li]
Metaphor is based on similarity of certain features / properties of corresponding objects affinity of which results in the transference of the word from one thing onto the other. Cf.: a wing of a bird, a wing of a plane. The fresh, unpredictable, unexpected metaphors are dealt with by stylistics. They are called SD, tropes, e.g. Where this gal was a lioness, the other one was a panther /A.Christie/.
Similes are metaphors with special indicators: as wet as cucumber, as cold as an icicle, as blue as the sky, as like as two peas, etc.
Metonymy is another SD on the lexical level. The transference of names here proceeds from the fact two objects have common grounds of existence (neighborhood, association, contiguity). Cf. The Union Jack, the Stars and Stripes, the Red riding hood, to earn one's bread. Synecdoche is a metonymy which is based on the relation between the part and the whole. Contextual metonymies serve as SD, they reveal unexpectedness, freshness and picturescueness. Cf. He was worth his salt
Irony crowns the first group of semantic SD resulted by interaction of dictionary and contextual meanings. With irony these meanings stand in opposition and are realized at a time. Irony renders the effect of irritation, regret, displeasure, pity, sorrow. It conveys a negative attitude, denounces something. Cf.:
No Enemies /by Mackay/
You have no enemies, you say?
Alas, my friend your boast is poor;
He who has mingled in the fray of duty.
That the brave endure,
Must have made foes!
If you have none,
Small is the work
That you have done.
You've hit no traitor on the hip,
You've dashed no cup from the perjured lip,
You've never turned the wrong to right,
You've been a coward in the fight.
Negative in form the title of the poem implies the warning ("one should have enemies"). This message of the title is extended and enlarged on in the poem itself. The poet's concept of enemies is brought home by the form and the concept which struggle together for the adequate conclusion on the part of the render.
In the ironic text word may also acquire opposite negative meaning. Cf.: I like the taxes, when they're not too many;
I like a sea coal fire when not too dear;
I like a beef-steak, too, as well as any;
Have on objection to a pot of beer;
І like the weather, when it is not rainy.
Zeugma as a SD is produced by the interaction of primary and derivation meanings. Zeugma works with polysemantic verbs which realize two or more meanings at a time. Thus the norm of the language is broken and a humorous (linguistic) effect is achieved. Cf. She lost her heart and necklace. The verb lose realizes here direct and indirect meanings. Together with nouns heart and necklace it makes a zeugma.
Pun (play on words) is grounded on homonymy. Different parts of speech may be involved in this SD. Cf. earnest (Adj) :: Earnest (N) -The Importance of Being Earnest /O. Wilde/.
Epithet, oxymoron, hyperbole, understatement are caused by interaction of logical and emotive meanings. See table
a dog of a friend, a devil of a woman, the giant of a man, the toy of the girl, the kitten of a girl, a faded white rabbit of a woman, don't-you touch-me
low skyscrapers, horribly
beautiful, sweet sorrow, poorest millionaire, littlest great men, terribly sorry, darkly pure, worst friend, open secret, crowed loneliness
A giant of a woman, haven't seen you for ages, violently glad
A woman of a pocket size, a sparrow of a woman
These SD may be considered lexico-syntactical devices for they are mostly realized m word-combinations.
Epithets are much stronger than logical attributes. They are figurative, evaluative, metaphoric, subjunctive, producing the desired impact on the reader. Language and speech epithets are of different structures - simple, compound, phrase, reversed, transferred, stringed.
Oxymoron is a SD which: impresses us by non-combinative words in close succession, but semantically apart. They are mostly met in one structural model Adj +N or AdV + V. This SD is brightly emotive and subjective.
Hyperbole is a SD which is conditioned by overstatement, exaggeration, irreal individual assessment. Hyperbole awakens the reader's attention by a deliberate white lie.
Trite hyperbole and understatement are often used in everyday speech. Fresh SD are individual, subjective, unexpected and highly emotive.
Lexico-syntactical devices include some more SD : antithesis, simile, climax, anticlimax, litotes, synonyms, antonyms.The term Lexico-syntactical devices speaks for itself.
Syntactical SD depend on the completeness of the sentence (1) on the arrangement of members (2) and types of connection (3). These groups are represented by: 1) Ellipsis [i´lipsis], one-member sentence, apokoinu, aposiopesis [æpo saio ´pi:sis]; 2) repetition, inversion, suspense [s ´spens], detachment; 3) polysyndeton [ p lisindit n], asyndeton [æ´sindit n], attachment [ ´tæt ment].
1 Commit to the memory the poem "Yet each man kills the thing he loves" by 0. Wilde. Pick out the cases of lexical and syntactical SD, define speak on their functions
Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with the flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword.
Some kill their love they are young.
And some when they are old:
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.
Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and other buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
And some without sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
Yet each man does not die.
Возлюбленных все убивают, -
Так повелось в веках,
Тот - с дикой злобою во взоре,
Тот - с лестью на устах;
Кто трус - с коварным поцелуем,
Кто смел - с клинком в руках.
Один любовь удушит юный,
В дни старости - другой,
Тот - сладострастия рукою,
Тот - золота рукой,
Кто добр - кинжалом, потому что
страдает лишь живой.
Тот любит слишком, этот - мало;
Те ласку продают,
Те покупают; те смеются,
Разя, те слезы льют.
Возлюбленных все убивают, -
Но все ль за то умрут?
2 Name the major groups of syntactical SD.
3 Find examples of lexical and syntactical SD in other poems. Analyze their function.
4 Try to use in you answers the following units: elevated epithets, the archaic forms are prominent, implication of, a contrasting statement, to be imbued with irony, unexpected and odd arrangement of words, the appeal is expressed through the SD.
Texts for stylistic analysis
LIVE WITH LIGHTENING
by Mitchell Wilson
Professor Earle Fox ignored for the second time the buzzing signal from his secretary in the adjoining office. He stared at the switch on the interoffice telephone and postponed permission to the outside world to flood in and nag him. For still one more moment he roamed unhappily about his inner emptiness, seeking, this thousandth time, for a sigh of what had gone wrong with his life.
His office was in the southwest corner of the twelfth floor of the Physics Building1. The walls were panelled because this was the office of the department chairman2; and because the department was physics, the panels held smell engraved portraits of Newton, Leibnitz, Farady and other scientists. From one window, he could look at Barnard College3 and beyond this, at the Palisades4. From the other window, one saw the four large city blocks of university buildings and lawns: while beyond everything was the August haze. Sometimes, Fox would turn around in his deep swivel chair and stare blindly out one window or the other, but now he pondered the blankness of his desk. Lazily, almost without caring, he depressed the toggle switch and allowed his secretary to talk to him.
"Professor Fox, Mr. Erik Gorki is here to see you."
He frowned. Now who the devil was Erik Gorin? From habit Fox said nothing when he was puzzled, and so his secretary's voice continued with a tactful hint.
"I've put off your other appointments for a while, just as you said so that you could see the new assistant as soon as he arrived." "Oh yes," said Fox. "Have him come in, please." Earle Fox was only fifty-four, but he felt timeless and ancient. After twenty-seven years of research he was out of love with his science. Realization had come slowly, against his reluctance, and then in the end with a small explosion. He was listening to a paper being read, and he found himself asking "Who cares?" It was the first open admission that curiosity was dead, and he was surprised in the way a man look at Iris wife one morning and think, "Why, I haven't loved her for years!"
In the beginning of his career, Fox had been mildly socialist in accordance with a fashion of the decade of the century, and to overcome this lapse, Mrs. Fox had cultivated the proper people while he worked assiduously at his laboratory investigations. The promotions had come regularly, and only after he had received his full professorship did he realize that his wife deserved more credit for his position than did his research, which had been steady, undramatic, and ahead of his time. The Nobel Prize5 was given to him in 1924 when the advent of wave mechanics had revealed the importance of his work, ten years after his famous experiment had been performed. But the recognition came to crown his wife's achievement and not his, because he was already chairman of the department.
Now, in 1931, he listened with a diffuse sadness to the younger man as they wrangled over differences in theory and fine points in each other's experiments. He envied their immersion in work with me dim vagueness of one who doesn't really want the return of what he has regretfully lost Recently, this emptiness had become intolerable and Fox longed for an earthquake to shake him back to life, or a sudden passion for an idea, for a woman, even for a girl - for anything, no matter how unsuitable. All he wanted was to be made to care again, but each night he took up his briefcase and walked home to dinner at 117th Street and Riverside Drive, apartment 12 D.
The door to his office opened, and he saw a young man, about twenty-one, enter behind his secretary. Erik Gorin was a little above middle height, slender, and wearing not very good clothes. He had dark living eyes and straight black hair that grew to a precise widow's peak.6
"Mr. Gorin," said the secretary.
Fox rose to shake hands, and men asked the young man to sit down. His own voice sounded cold to him, and he wished it could be more affable. He returned to his chair and tried to remember who had recommended Gorin because that was how these interviews had to be started.
"Dr. Hollingworth?" Fox asked suddenly. "How is he?"
"Very well sir," said Gorin. He spoke in a slow steady voice, and he sat up straight as though prepared for any onslaught. But he had to clear his throat before answering, and Fox felt sorry for him even though he was sure that the quick eyes would have been amazed at any expression of sympathy.
Don't be impressed by me, Fox wanted to say, I just wish to God that I were you. He saw the bright watchful face and the eager intelligence it held. My God, he thought, he's scared, he's probably hungry, and he still wants to set the world on fire.
"We're very glad to have you here, Mr. Gorin," he said gently. "This year we've taken on опту one new assistant.7 You've come with excellent recommendations and you'll have every opportunity to live up to them. As you know, you'll be teaching freshman physics lab8 while you take your own courses towards your doctorate. You'll probably find the first year rather confusing and hard work between the two schedules, but things will straighten out for you after a while. Is there any field of physics in which you're especially interested so far?"
"No," said Erik after the slightest hesitation. "I really don't know enough about any of them yet. All I had as an undergraduate were the usual courses in mechanics, light, thermodynamics and electricity."
Fox nodded. He knew that Gorin must have been tortures; for a moment by the conflict between the fear that he might make a poor impression and the desire to tell the truth. But Fox had been through this interview on the average of twice a year for twelve years and the answer was standard, just as all life to Fox had become a stereotype.
"You'll have plenty of time to make up your mind," he said, and there are any number of researches going on your work won't start for another two weeks. Professor Beans is the man to whom you'll be responsible for your undergraduate teaching. He gives the freshman physics lecture. Professor Cameron will be your adviser in your graduate work. In the meantime, leave your address with Miss Prescott, the secretary. Each year just before the semester starts, Mrs. Fox and I hold an open house9 for all the members of the staff so that the new men can meet everyone else. Naturally, we're expecting you, but Mrs. Fox will prefer to send you an invitation anyhow."
This just about to made up the usual speech and Fox knew that his tone had warmed as he went along. He took a certain satisfaction in his performance, and he was prepared to bring down the curtain before he retreated into himself again. Was there anything he had left out, he wondered. The invitation, the names of Beans and Cameron, the general air of encouragement - he had remembered them all. Oh yes, one more touch...
"And did you have a pleasant summer, Mr. Gorin?" "A pleasant summer?" Erik was silent for the time of two long breathes. His dark gaze never moved from Fox's face. "No, sir," he said explosively. "I damn well did not have a pleasant summer!"
Notes and Commentary
1 Physics Building - the part of the University building in which the Physics department is accommodated.
2 department chairman - the head of the department
3 Barnard [ ba:nəd] College - a single-sex institution which is open for women only. It constitutes one of the departments at the Columbia University established in 1754 in the city of New-York.
4 the Palisades [ 'pǽliseidz] - the high rocks of the Hudson river.
5 the Nobel Prize - the international prize awarded for outstanding discoveries in science or the best works of fiction
6 widow's peak - men's front making a semblance of peninsula.
7 an assistant - a junior teacher at a college.
8 you'll be teaching freshmen physics lab - you'll be sponsoring the first year students' laboratory work in physics.
9 to hold an open house - to give a reception.
Note the following college terms: freshman -first year student
sophomore - second year student
graduate - a student who has completed his last year at college undergraduate - any student, who has not yet graduated
postgraduate - a student who has completed his college course and is taking up a graduate course
The Social Sense
by W. Somerset Maugham
I do not like long-standing engagements. How can you tell whether on a certain day three or four weeks ahead you will wish to dine with a certain person? The chances are that in the interval something will turn up that you would much sooner do and formal party. But what help is v there? The date has been fixed thus far away so that the guests bidden may be certainly disengaged and it needs very adequate excuse to prevent. Your engagement hangs over you with gloomy menace. It interferes with your cherished plans. It disorganizes your life. There is really only one way to cope with the situation and that is to put yourself off at the last moment. But it is one that I have never had the courage or the want of scruple to adopt.
It was with a faint sense of resentment then that one June evening towards half-past eight I left my lodging in Half Moon street to walk round the comer to dine with the MacDonald’s. I liked them. Many years ago I made up my mind not to eat the food of persons I disliked or despised and though I have on this account enjoyed the hospitality of far fewer people than I otherwise should have done, I still think the rule a good one. The MacDonald’s were nice, but their parties were a toss up. They suffered from the delusion that if they asked six persons to dine with them who had nothing in the world to say to one another die party would be a failure, but if they multiplied it by three and asked eighteen it must be a success. I arrived a little late which is almost inevitable when you live so near the house you are going to that it is not worth while to take a taxi, and the room into which I was shown was filled with people. I knew few of them and my heart sank as I saw myself laboriously making conversation through a long dinner with two total strangers. It was a relief to me when I saw Thomas and Mary Warton come in and an unexpected pleasure when I found on going in to dinner that I had been placed next to Mary.
Thomas Warton was a portrait painter who at one time had had considerable success, but he had never fulfilled the promise of his youth and had long ceased to be taken seriously by the critics. He made an adequate income, but at the Private View of the royal Academy no one gave more than a passing glance at the dull but conscientious portraits of fox-hunting squires and prosperous merchants which with unfailing regularity he sent to the annual exhibition. One would have liked to admire his work because he was an amiable and kindly man. If you happened to be a writer he was so genuinely enthusiastic over anything you had done, so charmed with any success you might have had, that you wished your conscience would allow you to speak with decent warmth of his own productions. It was impossible and you were driven to the last refuge of the portrait painter's friend.
"It looks as if it were a marvelous likeness" you said. Mary Warton had been in her day a well-known concert singer and she had still the remains of a lovely voice. She must in her youth have been very handsome. Now, a fifty-three, she had a haggard look. Her features were rather mannish and her skin was weather beaten; but her short grey hair was thick and curly and her fine eyes were bright with intelligence. She dressed picturesquely rather than fashionably and she had a weakness for strings of beads and fantastic earrings. She had a blunt manner, a quick sense of human folly sharp tongue, so that many people did not like her. But no one could deny that she was clever. She was a great reader and she was passionately interested in painting. She had a very rare feeling for art. She liked the modern, not from pose but from natural inclination, and she had bought for next to nothing the pictures of unknown painters who later became famous. You heard at her house the most recent and difficult music and no poet or novelist in Europe could offer the world something pew and strange without her being ready to fight on his behalf the good fight against Philistines. You might say she was a highbrow: she was; but her taste was almost faultless, her judgment sound and her enthusiasm unaffected.
No one admired her more than Thomas Warton. He had fallen in love with her when she was still a singer and had pestered to marry him. She had refused him half a dozen times and I had a notion that she had married him in the end with hesitation. She thought that he would become a great painter and when he turned out to be nothing more than a decent craftsman without originality of imagination she felt that she had been cheated. She was mortified by the contempt with which connoisseurs regarded him.
Thomas Warton loved his wife. He had the greatest respect for her judgment and would sooner have had the world praise from her than columns of eulogy in all the papers in London. She was too honest to say what she did not think. It wounded him bitterly that she held his work in such poor esteem and though he pretended to make a joke of it you could see that at heart he resented her outspoken comments. Sometimes his long horselike face grew red with the anger he tried to control and his eyes dark with hatred. It was notorious among their friends that the couple did not get on. They had the distressing habit of flipping in public.1 Warton never spoke to others of Mary but with admiration, but she was less discreet and her confidants knew how exasperating she found him. She admitted his goodness, his generosity, his unselfishness. She admitted them ungrudgingly: but his defects were of the sort that made a man hard to live with; for he was narrow, argumentative and conceited. He was not an artist and Mary Warton cared more for art than for anything in the world. It was a matter on which she could not compromise. It blinded her to the fact mat the faults in Warton that maddened her were due in large part to his hurt feelings. She wounded him continually and he was dogmatic and intolerant in self-protection. There cannot be anything much worse than to be despised by the one person whose approval is all in all to you; and though Thomas Warton was intolerable it was impossible not to feel sorry for him. But if I have given the impression that Mary was a у discontented, rather tiresome, pretentious woman I have been unjust to her. She was a loyal friend and a delightful companion. You could talk to her of any subject under the sun. Her conversation was humorous and witty. Her vitality was immense.
She was sitting now on the left hand of her host and the talk around her was general. I was occupied with my next-door neighbour, but I guessed by the laughter with which Mary's sallies were greeted that she was at her brilliant best. When she was in the vein no one could approach her.
"You are in great form to-night", I remarked, when at last she turned to me.
"Does it surprise you?"
"No, it's what I expect of you. No wonder people tumble over one another to get you to their houses. You have the inestimable gift of making the party go."
"I do my best to earn my dinner."
"By the way, how's Manson? Someone told me the other day that he was going into a nursing home for an operation. I hope it's nothing serious."
Mary paused for a moment before answering, but she still smiled brightly.
"Haven't you seen the paper to-night?" "No, I have been playing golf. I only got home in time to jump into a bath and change."
"He died at two o'clock this afternoon."
I was about to make an exclamation of horrified surprise, but she stopped me.
"Take care. Tom is watching me like a lynx. They're all watching me. They all know I adored him, but they none of them know for certain if he was my lover, even Tom does not know, they want to see how I am taking it. Try to look as if you were talking of the Russian Ballet."
At that moment someone addressed her from the other side of the table, and throwing back her head a little with a gesture that was habitual with her, a smile on her large mouth, she flung at the speaker so quick and apt an answer that everyone round her burst out laughing. The talk once more became general and I was left to my consternation.
I knew everyone knew, that for five and twenty years there existed between Gerard Manson and Mary Warton a passionate attachment. It had lasted so long that even the more strait-laced of their friends, if ever they had been shocked by it had long since learnt to accept it with tolerance. They were middle-aged people, Manson was sixty and Mary not much younger, and it was absurd that at their age they should not do what they liked. You met them sometimes in a retired corner of an obscure restaurant or walking together in the Zoo and you wondered why they still took care to' conceal an affair that was nobody's business but their own. But of course there was Thomas. He was insanely jealous of Mary. He made violent scenes and indeed, at the end of one tempestuous period, not so very long ago, he had forced her to promise never to see Manson again. Of course she broke the promise, and though she knew that Thomas suspected this, she took precautions to prevent him from discovering it for a fact.
It was hard on Thomas. I think he and Mary would have jogged on well enough together and she would have resigned herself to the fact that he was a second-rate painter if her intercourse with Manson had not embittered her judgment. The contrast between her husband's mediocrity and her lover's brilliance was too galling.
"With Tom I feel as if I were stifling in a closed room full of dusty knickknacks", she told me. "With Gerard I breathe the pure air of the-mountain tops."
"Is it possible for a woman to fall in love with a man's mind?" I asked in a pure spirit of inquiry.
"What else is there in Gerard?"
That I admit, was a poser. For my part I was quite ready to believe that Mary saw in Gerard Manson a charm and a physical attractiveness to which most people were blind.
He was a shriveled little man, with a pale intellectual face, faded blue eyes behind his spectacles, and a high dome of shiny bald head. He had none of the appearance of a romantic lover. On the other hand he was certainly a very subtle critic and a felicitous essayist. I resented somewhat his contemptuous attitude towards English writers unless they were safely dead and buried; but this was only to his credit with the intelligentsia, who are ever ready to believe what there can be no good in what is produced in their own country, and with them his influence was great.
On one occasion I told him that one had only to put a commonplace in French for him to mistake it for an epigram and he had thought well enough of the joke to use it as his own in one of his essays.
He reserved such praise as he was willing to accord his contemporaries to those who wrote in a foreign tongue. The exasperating tiling was that no one could deny that he was himself a brilliant writer. His style was exquisite. His knowledge was vast He could be profound without pomposity, amusing without frivolity, and polished without affectation. His slightest article was readable. His essays were little masterpieces. For my part I did not find him a very agreeable companion. Perhaps I did not get the best out of him. Though I knew him a great many years I never heard him say an amusing thing. He was not talkative and when he made a remark it was oracular. The prospect of spending an evening alone with him would have filled me with dismay. It never ceased to puzzle me that this rite with so much dull and mannered little man should be able to write with so much grace, wit and gaiety.
It puzzled me even more that a gallant and vivacious creature like Mary Warton should have cherished for him so consuming a passion. These things are inexplicable and there was evidently something in that odd, crabbed, irascible creature that appealed to women. His wife adored him. She was a fat, frowzy, boring person. She had led Gerard a dog's life, but had always refused to give him his freedom.
She swore to kill herself if he left her and since she was unbalanced and hysterical he was never quite certain that she would not carry out her threat One day, when I was having tea with Mary, I saw that she was distraught and nervous and when I asked her what was the matter she burst into tears. She had been lunching with Manson and had found him shattered after a terrific scene with his wife.
"We can't go on like this," Mary cried.
"It's ruining his life. It’s ruining all our lives."
"Why don't you take the plunge?"
"What do you mean?"
"You've been lovers so long, you know the best and the worst of one another by now; you are getting old and you can't count on many more days of life; it seems a pity to waste a love that has endured so long. What good are you doing to Mrs. Manson or to Tom? Are they happy because you two are making yourselves so miserable?" "No."
"Then why don’t you chuck everything and just go off together and let come what may?"
Mary shook her head.
"We’ve talked that over endlessly. We’ve talked that over for a quarter of a century. If s impossible. For years Gerard could not on account of his daughters. Mrs. Manson may have been a very fond mother, but she was a very bad one, and there was no one to see the girls were properly brought up but Gerard. And now that they are married off he's set in his habits. What should we do? Go to France or Italy? I could not tear Gerard away from his surroundings. He'd be wretched. He's too old to make a fresh start. And besides, though Thomas nags me and makes scenes, and we rip and get on another's nerves, he loves me. When it came to the point I simply shouldn't have the heart to leave him. He'd be lost without me."
"It's a situation without an issue. I’m dreadfully sorry for you."
On a sudden Mary's haggard, weather-beaten face was lit by a smile that broke on her large red mouth; and upon my word at mat moment she was beautiful.
"You need not be. I was rather low a little while ago, but now I’ve had a good cry I feel better. Notwithstanding all the pain, all the unhappiness this affair has caused me, I wouldn't have missed it for all the world. For those few moments of ecstasy my love has brought me I would be willing to live all my life over again. And I think he would tell you the same thing. Oh, it's been so infinitely worth while."
I could not help but be moved.
"There is no doubt about it", I said. "That's love all right."
"Yes. it's love and we've just got to go through with it There's no way out."
And now with this tragic suddenness the way out had come. I turned a little to look at Mary and, she feeling my eyes upon her, turned too. There was a smile on her lips.
"Why did you come here to-night? It must be awful for you."
She shrugged her shoulders. "What could I do? I read the news in the evening paper while I was dressing. He'd asked me not to ring up the nursing home on account of his wife. It's death to me. Death. I had to come. We'd been engaged for a month.2 What excuse could I give Тоm? I’m not supposed to have seen Gerard for two years. Do you know that for twenty years we've written to one another every day!" Her lower lip trembled a little, but she bit it and for a moment her face was twisted to a strange grimace; then with a smile she pulled herself together. "He was everything I had in the world, but I couldn't let the party down, could I? He always said I had a social sense."
"Happily we shall break up early 3 and you can go home. I don't want to go home. I don’t want to be alone. I daren't cry because my eyes will get red and swollen, and we've got a lot of people lunching with us to-morrow. Will you come, by the way? I want an extra man, I must be in good form, Tom expects to get a commission for a portrait out of it."
"By George you’ve got courage.'"
"Do you think so? I'm heartbroken, you know. I suppose that's what makes it easier for me. Gerard would have liked me to put, a good face on it He would have appreciated the irony of the situation. It's the sort of thing he always thought the French novelists described so well.
Notes and Commentary
1 They had a distressing habit of flipping in public - They had a
distressing habit of disagreeing over trifles in public.
2 We'd been engaged for a month - We had promised to go to a party which was to take place in a month's time.
3 Happily we shall break up early - Fortunately the party will finish early.
long-standing engagements-engagements arranged for a long time ahead.
Note also: a long-standing rule; a long-standing agreement; a longstanding quarrel.
to suffer from the delusion -to have a false conviction.
The chances are - it's possible that, e.g. the chances are that he will go straight to the office.
to hold in esteem - to hold in high regard. Note the opposite: to hold in contempt
It was notorious among their friends - it was widely known.
in large part - largely, e.g. My success was due In large part to your help.
to be all-in-all to one - to be very dear, e.g. She is my all-in-all. Her approval was all-in-all to him.
to be at one's brilliant best - to be brilliant, e.g. Mary was at her brilliant best
to be in the vein - to be in the mood, e.g. I'm not in the vein for it to be in (good, bad) form - to be in good (bad) spirits and health.
to have a gift of (for) doing something - to have a natural talent for, e.g. She had a gift of putting people at ease.
to make the party go - to make it a success.
to get the best out of one - to help one display his capacities, to lead one a dog's life - trouble and worry him all the time.
to put a good face on it - to put up a good show, to make believe that there's nothing amiss.
to be low - to I feel depressed; lacking strength of body or mind, e.g. I was rather low a little while ago, but now I've had a good cry I feel better.
to go through with - to complete, e.g. I'm determined to go through with it.
The text under consideration is the introductory part of the well-known novel “Live with Lightening” by M.Wilson. (Born in 1913, main works:”None to Blind”, 1945, “The Panick Stricken”, 1946, “The Kimballs”, 1947, “My Brother, My Enemy”, 1952). The novel is remarkable from many points of view - it is, perhaps, one of the first novels which opened to the reading public quite a new sphere of life -science, and the men of science who are playing the ever increasing part in the life of modern society.
M. Wilson was one of those artists who were the first to put forth die problem of moral responsibility of scientists for their work, for consequences their investigations and discoveries bring upon the mankind. The very title of the novel which was differently but all the same poorly translated into Russian ( "Жизнь во мгле"- in the first edition of 1952, "Живи с молниями" - the second publication) is very suggestive by itself -"Live [laiv] with Lightning" is a technical term meaning "под током высокого напряжения" and the title renders not only the "professional orientation" of the novel but the very atmosphere of the novel - the atmosphere of struggle and .compromise, love and hatred, moral responsibility and moral unscrupulousness, the conflict between "Pure" science and the application of its achievements for practical ends.
The conflict mentioned is reflected in the composition of the novel -it consists of the three books - "The Laboratory", "Between the Laboratory and the World", "The World", outlining in this manner the life story of the main character of the novel - a young scientist Erik Gorki.
The extract acquaints the reader with the two major characters of the novel; - Professor Earle Fox and Erik Gorin.
Though the extract is an introductory part of the novel it can be subdivided into smaller fragments each dealing with a certain theme and having a certain function in the development of the narration.
The first paragraph may be treated as a separate fragment. It is built, in terms of cinema terminology, like "a close up". The author yet says nothing about the age, appearance, position of the person described, but, in each of the three sentences which make the paragraph he mentions some details ("...ignored for the second time the buzzing signal "...stared "postponed permission to the outside world to flood in..." -remember the titles of the books constituting the novel roamed unhappily about his inner emptiness, seeking, this thousandth time, for a sign of what had gone wrong with his life") which direct the reader's attention to Fox's inner state - his uneasiness, unhappiness, this uncertain feeling that something had gone wrong.
Syntactical constructions used in the fragment - are stylistically neutral only in the third sentence the author uses inversion - "For still one more moment he roamed unhappily..."stressing once more Fox's reluctance and uneasiness. The words used are also neutral but at the same time some of them are rich in connotations - the verbs "to ignore", "to stare", "to roam" may imply aimless actions. The outside world is something alien and hostile to Fox and to stress it the author uses metaphor here "...the outside world to flood and nag him" Standing in an evident contrast with another metaphor "he roamed unhappily about his Inner emptiness".
The second fragment beginning with the second paragraph and ending with the sentence "Earle Fox was only fifty-four" presents the scene of the action. The author proceeds from smaller to bigger and bigger objects of description - first, again like a close up - dean's office in the Physics department of the Columbia University and then - as a panorama - some details of the University and New York landscape. At the same time the author again stresses Fox's alienation from the outside world, using the same word "to stare" as in the first paragraph: "Fox would... stare blindly out of one window or the other..." but this time it means much more for firstly it is used in the modal phrase "would... stare" indicating a habitual action characteristic of Fox's state of mind in general and, secondly, it is stressed by epithet "blindly".
The last sentence of the description like the last sentence in the first fragment begins with inversion-"Lazily, almost without caring, he depressed the toglyle switch..." Note here the usage of the word "to care" for it would be repeated again and again later with some new shades of meaning.
The plot moves ahead - Professor Fox is to meet the new assistant, a certain Erik Gorin.
But a new fragment - the three paragraphs which follow suspend the action. This fragment presents the so-called flashbacks description of Fox's previous life and career which explains his present state of mind.
Using a sustained comparison the author shows mat Fox had completely lost interest in his work was out of love with his science like a man' who fell out of love with his wife." The word "to care" is used again ("Who cares?") and is used in the next paragraph but one too -"All he wanted was to be made to care again..." stressing bits desire to find any interest in life anew.
The second paragraph gives a brief account of Fox's career-a talented research worker whose Experiments though steady and undramatic were ahead of his time was recognized' not due to his own achievements but due to the social activities of his wife. This is shown by me usage of an emphatic construction and stylistic inversion "...only after he had received his full professorship did he realize that..." The disillusionment in his work brought a moral crisis. But Fox does not know and does not took for any way out. The vagueness of his feelings and sensations is shown by several epithets "diffuse sadness", "dim vagueness.'
The author is somewhat ironical in the description of Fox's career but his irony is directed not so much against Fox but against the circumstances of his life. The ironical tone of the description is created by the combination (constellation) of high-flown words and phrases-"in accordance with a fashion", "worked assiduously", "to crown his wife's achievement", "famous experiment", with rather colloquial ones-"mildly socialist", "to overcome the lapse", "to cultivate the proper people". Note also the 'use of antithesis in the description Mrs. Fox had cultivated the proper people while he worked assiduously at his laboratory investigations."
The discrepancy between Fox's longings and hopes is stressed by the last sentence of this fragment. Emphatic construction of the first clause describing the inner state of his mind and very general in meaning-"All he wanted was to be made to care again..." is connected, by the disjunctive conjunction "but" which connects- the second clause enumerating in a business-like way the external details of his routine life - a briefcase, dinner, his home address. The next fragment is a lengthy one - it contains all the paragraphs to follow but the last one. This fragment describes a conversation between Professor Fox and Erik Gorin. The two characters are shown in a sharp contrast. For Erik Fox it is a routine procedure which he had, on the average of twice a year, for Erik Gorki all this is absolutely new and exciting. It is interesting to note the important difference in the manner of presentation of the two characters. Fox is "presented by the author as it were, from within" - the author never says a word about his appearance but pays a. great deal of attention to the description of his feelings - Fox not only acts and speaks-he at the same time analyses his words and his acts - "his voice sounded cold to him", "he wished it could be more affable", "Fox felt sorry for him", etc. It is not by chance that while describing Earle Fox the author very often employs the reported speech to show Fox's thoughts and feelings. Erik Gorin. on the other hand, is being described mainly "from outside" - the author mentions a number of details of Gorin's portrait "about twenty-one", "little above middle height, slender, and wearing not very good clothes", "dark Irving eyes and straight black hair that grew to a precise widow's peak", "slow steady voice", "sat up straight "quick eyes" "bright watchful face and the eager intelligence it held", "dark gaze'. And only some seemingly minor details show how he is excited and nervous.
Professor Fox's speech is an example of the standard conversational English it's syntactic structures, choice of words and set expressions are typical of mat type of speech.
The closing paragraph may be treated as a culmination of the whole extract. Professor Fox- had played his part to perfection - it is not by chance that the author uses the word "performance" here. "The invitation, the names of Beans: and Cameron, the general air of encouragement - he had remembered them all" - and he is ready to retreat into himself again. Fox seems to have protected himself from the intrusion of the outer world. But (he traditional procedure of the interview ends unexpectedly - a formal and polite question about the past summer results in an unexpected outburst on Erik Gorin's part preparing the reader for a new turn of the narration.
THE SOCIAL SENSE
by W. S.Maugham
William Somerset Maugham (1874-1966) - one of the most popular English writers of this century. His novels "Liza of Lambeth", 1897; "Of Human Bondage", 1915; "The Moon and Sixpence", 1919; "Cakes and Ale", 1930; "The Summing Up", 1938 and others) and numerous short stories brought him world-wide fame.
A keen observer of life, a great master of narration, a perfect novelist ,VV. S. Maugham was one of the greatest short story tellers.
The short story "The Social Sense" is a typical piece of Maugham's prose. Though rather remote from the important social and political problems the short story appeals to the reader by the profound psychological analysis of human relations, by the defense of natural human feelings distorted by the prejudices of bourgeois society, by a simple and beautiful language. It describes a tragic love-story of Mary Warton, the wife of a portrait painter, and Gerard Manson, a literary critic and essayist. The story is being told in the first person, assumingly by a man belonging to the same circle the main characters belong to and a close friend of Mary Warton so the whole narration is made thus very subjective which explains much in the composition and stylistic peculiarities of the story .
The composition of the whole short story is rather complicated-it is a story within a story, but these two stories or two sides of the same narration are closely connected and interrelated. The story is built in two planes-the description of a dinner-party at the MacDonald’s and the description of the love-story of Mary Warton and Gerard Manson, but these two lines of the narration are united in time and space. Very roughly the whole story can be divided into three major parts-the first one from the very beginning up to the sentence "Thomas Warton was a portrait painter..." then the second principle part follows which is sometimes broken by the intrusion of the description of the dinner-party (from the sentence "She was sitting now on the left hand of her host..." up to "I knew everyone knew...") and the third part beginning with the sentence "And now with this tragic suddenness the way out had come" up to the end. Each of the parts mentioned has its own structure.
The first two paragraphs make the introduction of the whole story in which the author identified with the story-teller is presented to the reader. The introduction is built as a monologue of an idler about his social duties which he seems to utterly dislike. The first paragraph deals with his considerations about some trifle matters - long-standing engagements in general and the possible ways of treating them, in the second - paragraph the reader learns that the story-teller has been invited to a party given by the MacDonald’s at which he to his great relief meets some acquaintances of his - Thomas and Mary Warton.
The whole passage is built as a narration that's way it contains many peculiarities of the oral type of speech. The syntactical structures used in the fragment Include rhetorical questions ("How can you tell "But what help is there?") parallel constructions ("It interferes with your cherished plans. It disorganizes your life"), repetitions ("a certain day" -"a certain person"), emphatic constructions ("But it is one that "It was with a faint sense of resentment that it was a relief to me when...") stylistic inversions ("Many years ago I made up my mind ", "So long a notice..."). The usage of these constructions make the whole utterance sound informal and very personal. The choice of words and phrases is conditioned by the same principle - the author (or the narrator) employs neutral and rather colloquial words and set phrases such as: "...the chances are...", "something will turn up", "the date has been fixed", "the engagement hangs over you", "to cope with the situation", "to put yourself off', etc.
The assumed manner of the narration results in another peculiarity of this passage - the author practically does not use any regular stylistic devices such as epithets, metaphors and the like for he aims at skillful imitation of the natural unaffected speech. That’s why the attributes used here are mainly logical - "long standing engagement", "large and formal party", "guests bidden", "adequate excuse", "June evening", but now and then some epithets are used which are rather ironical in tone for high flown words are used to describe rather trivial objects -"gloomy menace" about an invitation to a dinner-party, "I saw myself laboriously making conversation through a long dinner..." about a small talk at a dinner. At the same time the author is somewhat humourous when he speaks about his "good rule" about the principles of enjoying someone's hospitality or in the description of the Macdonalds who "suffered from the delusion that if they asked six persons to dine with them who had nothing in the world to say to one another the party would be a failure, but if they multiplied it by three and asked eighteen it must be a success".
But the general tone of the narration is gay and rather amusing and absolutely nothing indicates that the story to follow 'would be a tragic one.
The next fragment Is a detailed description of the Wartons - the main characters of the story. The first paragraph is dedicated to Thomas Warton, the next one - to Mary Warton and the two more which follow-to the description of their relations. The presentations of Thomas and Mary are rather different in the methods of description. Thomas is presented by a number of circumstantial details - the story-teller says nothing about his age, appearance, etc., but says much about his painting - "the dull but conscientious portraits of fox-hunting squires and prosperous merchants which with unfailing regulary he sent to the annual exhibition." Here, even the mentioning of the subjects of Thomas' portraits is very suggestive and ironical - presentation of "fox-hunting squires and prosperous merchants" had been a long-standing tradition of English school of painting and this detail becomes especially prominent when the reader learns liter that Маху "liked the modem (art), not from pose but from natural inclination..." Such is Thomas - a mediocre painter but a very benevolent and kind man.
Mary Warton is described directly and with a number of details. Some elements of good-natured irony in her description still remain ("She had a weakness for strings of beads and fantastic earrings") but the story-teller is no longer ironical, he is even apologetic for he highly and sincerely appreciates Mary and it is evident from the choice of words used to describe her - a number of epithets are used "lovely voice", "very handsome", "rather mannish", "dressed picturesquely", "blunt manners", "quick sense of humour" and many more. This attitude to her is manifested also in the syntactic organization of this passage - quite a number of succeeding, sentences begin with the same element - the subject expressed by a personal pronoun ""she" - "She dressed", "she had a blunt manner...", "she had a weakness...", "She was not only an accomplished musician", "she had a rare feeling for art". "She liked the modern", creating anaphorical repetition thus imitating the natural tone of the oral type of speech and at the same time making the narration rhythmical and measured.
So a sharp contrast, of the two absolutely different characters is depicted a mediocre painter, "a decent craftsman"; an artist by profession - Thomas Warton, on the one hand, and a highly artistic and refined woman - Mary Warton, an artist by vocation, on the other. A conflict between them is enevitable and the next two paragraphs describe it - the first one depicts the attitude of Thomas to Mary and the second one of Mar}' to Thomas.
These two paragraphs begin with similar sentences - the first one - an emphatic construction "No one admired her more than Thomas . Warton", the second one - a syntactically neutral statement but bom sentences express practically the same idea, due to the repetition ibis idea is expressed more prominently.
The tone of the narration now is quite serious, there is neither irony nor humour in it. The words chosen to describe their relations are a peculiar combination of neutral and conversational elements ("pestered her to marry him", "refused him half a dozen times", "she felt that she had been cheated", "at heart", "horselike face", "the couple did not get on", "fripping in public", "maddened her", "all in all", "under the sun", etc.) and some rather bookish or high-flown words and word combinations - "a decent craftsman without originality or imagination", "mortified by the contempt", "connoisseurs", "columns of eulogy", "to hold its such poor esteem", "her confidants", "argumentative", "dogmatic", etc.
Sometimes the author places together two phrases of different stylistic colouring to make the contrast of the ideas expressed more vivid - "the word of praise from her", "columns of eulogy in all the papers in London".
In this paragraph the conflict is not only outlined but explicitly formulated: "He was not an artist and Mary Warton cared more for art than for anything in the world".
All the fragments analysed before make what we call the exposition of the story, that is the presentation of the place, time and the main characters of the plot, and the conflict between the characters is formulated and depicted.
The reader expects to find the possible ways amLmeans of the solution of the conflict described and here follows the so-called "a story within a story".
The dinner-party goes on. Mary Warton is "at her brilliant best. When she was in the vein no one could approach her."
A casual conversation follows, from which the reader learns that a
certain Manson died at two o'clock that afternoon. In such a way a new
personage enters the narration Another contrast is being created a
contrast between the gay and seemingly happy airs of Mary Warton and
a sad piece of news she breaks, But the tragic aspect of the news
mentioned follows in the last paragraph of their conversation, Mary
Warton says that everybody knew she had adored him and all of them ,-
those present - are now watching how she is taking it.
certain Manson died at two o'clock that afternoon. In such a way a new
personage enters the narration Another contrast is being created a
contrast between the gay and seemingly happy airs of Mary Warton and
a sad piece of news she breaks, But the tragic aspect of the news
mentioned follows in the last paragraph of their conversation, Mary
Warton says that everybody knew she had adored him and all of them ,-
those present - are now watching how she is taking it.
The author skillfully conveys the characteristic features of a belle-monde - small-talk-short phrases full of witticisms, colloquial, even somewhat slangish expressions - "you are in great form...", "people tumble over one another...","to make the party go...", "I do my best to cam my dinner", etc.
The next paragraph opens the exposition of "a story within a story", the story-teller is left to his own considerations and the flash-back follows which explains the situation described above.
The flash-back covers rather a long passage-front the sentence "I knew everyone knew..." up to the sentence "And you with this tragic suddenness..."
The "story within a story" has a composition of its own, it is something like "the second plane" of the narration, but, as we shall see later, the both planes are closely connected.
First, the exposition follows, it is introduced with an emphatic repetition - "I knew everyone knew that..." after which another emphatic construction is used where the adverbial modifiers of time are placed in the beginning of the clause "...for five and twenty years (Note, please, that in this case we observe another inversion - instead of neutral "twenty-five years" the author uses more high flown order of words-"five and twenty years") there existed between Gerard Мал son and Mary Warton a passionate attachment". Not only the syntactic construction but the words used - "a passionate attachment" are also high flown. A possible solution of the conflict -seems to be seen but there arises another obstacle - "but of course there was Thomas". The words "of course" are repeated twice in the extract-firstly applied to Thomas' behaviour, secondly - applied to Mary - "Of course she broke the promise..." - the story-teller tries to be objective both characters are in their rights but the circumstances arc too grave.
The beginning of the exposition consists of two parts connecting the two planes of the narration: first the "objective" narration of the storyteller, and, as a conclusion of it - Mary's words, when she compares her state when being with Thomas ("With Tom I feel as if I were stifling in a closed room full of dusty knickknacks") and when being with Gerard ("With Gerard I breathe the pure air of the mountain top") - both sentences have the same anaphoric beginning - similar in form they are quite different in meaning. The author is very persistent in stressing the fact that this attachment was purely platonic-he mentions the age of Mary and Gerard, and Mary says openly that it was only his mind that had charmed her - "What else is there in Gerard?" - it was a unity of two souls - refined and artistic.
The passage to follow describes Gerard Manson - devoid of charm and physical attractiveness. The story-teller does not feel any deep sympathy for him, more than that-he is even somewhat ironical when describing him - "He had none of the appearance of a romantic lover," "I resented somewhat his contemptuous attitude towards English writers unless they were safely dead and burned..." but he does not fail to mention that one of his "bon-mots" was used by Manson in an essay, and he openly admits that Manson was a. very subtle critic and felicitous essayist. While describing him and his literary activities the author resorts to the same stylistic device which has been used in the description of Mary - the anaphoric beginning of a number of sentences- "he" or "'his'1: "lie reserved such praise...", "His style was exquisite", "His knowledge was vast", "He could be profound..", "His slightest article...", "His essays were...”. But the story-teller does not like die description new and new negative features, very mild at the beginning never heard him say an amusing thing when he made a remark it was oracular" and a little bit later more sarcastic - "The prospect of spending an evening alone with him would have filled me with dismay ", "... this dull and little man..."
But the plot of the story goes further - one more personage of the story appears: Manson's wife, an unbalanced and hysterical woman who always refused to give him freedom. But the author does not paint her absolutely black - she adored her husband, she had been a very fond mother and it was not she but all the circumstances of Mary and Gerard's life that made a new start impossible.
As in the previous case this fragment is built in the same pattern - after the author's narration another conversation between him and Mary Warton follows. It reflects, as in the cases analyzed before, all the peculiarities of the conversational style of speech in lexics, syntactic constructions, stylistic devices.
So "the story within a story" ends. The tragic situation Gerard and Man- had found themselves in seems to have no way out. But they are not sorry. Mary sums it up with noble and pathetic words: Notwithstanding all the pain, all the unhappiness this affair has caused me, I wouldn't have missed it -for all the world. For those few moments of ecstasy my love has brought me I would be willing to live all my life over again. And I think he would tell you the same thing. Oh, it's been so infinitely worth while".
All the elements of this utterance are very emphatic: parallel anaphoric commotions ("all the pain, all the unhappiness...") stylistic inversion ("For those few moments... I would be willing..." emphatic grammatical forms of the tense ("I would be willing", "he would tell you the same thing" - when he, Gerard Manson, has already died), high-flown words - "notwithstanding", "for all the world", semantic gradation - "this affair" and then "my love".
But this pathetic outburst subsides. And now that story is connected with the first one in two ways - compositionally - the description shifts to the same dinner party and syntactically - by the usage of epithetical repetition: the last sentence of "the story within a story", "Yes, it's love and we've just got to go through with it. There's no way out" and the first sentence of the next fragment - "And vow with this tragic suddenness the way out had come" end with die same phrase. The emphasis of this sentence is conditioned also by stylistic inversion - an adverbial modifier of manner is placed in the beginning or the sentence. That seems to be the denouement of the story: their passionate attachment, their love had come to its tragic end - Gerard is dead, Mary is heartbroken as she puts it: "It is death to me. Death." But the closing part follows, and it is very important for the general conception of the story. What made Mary come to this dinner party? The answer rather unexpected - her social sense. Certainly it is not that she с not let the party down - now when everybody present was witching "how she takes it", "to put a good face on it", as Gerard would have liked her to do, was her last tribute to him, the only way possible to rave her love, her integrity, her secret under the shield of stoicism and courage.
What are the main ideas of this short story? Like any piece of art it allows not one but many interpretations and the interpretation offered below is not the only one possible.
Two main problems seem to be touched upon in the short story. The first one, very characteristic of Maugham's conception of life in general the fate of an artist in bourgeois society, the eternal conflict between an artist and society. But if, for instance, in the novel "The Moon and fee Sixpence" the conflict is placed in the sphere of art here the same conflict is placed in the sphere of human relations, but the effect is the same - society tries to distort not only, the artists creative abilities but his human feelings as well. Both Mary and Gerard are the victims of die existing way of things.
Another problem - social sense of a man It is easy to note that the story begins and ends with the same theme - social sense which is also the title of the short story. But the theme of social sense is interpreted differently in the beginning and at the end of the story. Social sense and social duties in the introductory considerations of the story-teller are presented as something quite senseless, stupid and tiresome. In Mary's behaviour another aspect of social sense is revealed. Her love and feelings were so great and profound that even the fulfillment of her social duties she turned into another manifestation of her love for Gerard Manson.