Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Analyzing Style: Words and Sentences

First, read a whole bunch of short passages written in different styles. Read at least a dozen.
You'll find some here by scrolling down and clicking.
You'll find more here.
Choose two passages whose diction (types of words used) you will compare. Type the passages, authors' names, and book of origin into a word processing document.

And choose two other passages whose sentences (structure, syntax, length) you will compare. Type the passages, authors' names, and book of origin into a word processing document.

Next, type* everything you notice about the words used in the first two passages. Think about the formality, language of origin, register, and connotations. Then, speculate about what might be rhetorically and literarily significant about what you have noticed about the words used. Write** down your ideas.

Then, type *everything you notice about the sentences used in the second two passages. Think about the sentence structures (simple, compound, complex, compound-complex). Think about syntax (standard, inverted, periodic). Think about the sentence length. But most importantly try to describe the way the sentence works. Does it start off with an independent clause and then add on additional description and information? Does it begin with a series of dependent clauses before revealing what the sentence is really about? Does it employ listing? Are there any digressions, pauses, or delays on the way to completion? Then, peculate about what might be rhetorically and literarily significant about what how the sentences are constructed. Write** down your ideas.

* Type what you notice on the left side of double entry notes.
** Type your ideas about the significance of what you've noticed on the right side of double entry notes.
Bring the notes to class on Friday, September 13.
Finally, write a paragraph comparing and contrasting the word choices and significance of the word choices in the first two passages. And write a paragraph comparing and contrasting the sentence structures and the significance of the sentence structures in the second two passages. Post these paragraphs in the comment box below before class on Friday, September 13. Use your name and first initial. Make it's clear which passages you are analyzing.


  1. Ryan B.
    Passages: MLK JR., King James
    The diction within the two passages are very different and I attribute it to the audience and purpose of the passage. In King’s passage he uses very long intellectual words that really make it seem like he is intelligent and someone that should be listened too. The line “Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states” worked very well to establish him as an intellect. I had no idea what that sentence was saying at first, so I doubt that many people understood the long words in the sentence when he was giving this speech. King James put great pressure on certain words by repeating them like vanity. Repeating the word over and over again clearly gives the reader the authors meaning of the passage. I thought it was quite odd how he repeated it so often but I accept that doing so was a successful tactic. King James expertly connected his sentences by including rhyming words of old English. They make what he is saying more interested and colorful.
    Passages: Twain, Hemingway
    The two passages I chose are structured very differently. Hemingways passage includes many short sentences with a single thought in each sentence. Mark Twain forges his sentences so that they are long and extravagant. There is no shortage of adjectives in his work. Hemingway included a large amount of question marks due to all the rhetorical questions he asked. Twain expertly used a different type of punctuation, the comma. His sentences are very long and often include two parts. Mark Twains writing is very artistic and paints a great picture in the readers mind. Hemmingway is more on the point and really makes the reader think twice about what they are reading. Rhetorically these sentences succeed in very different ways. Twain floods the reader with description and Hemingway bombards the reader with rhetorical questions.

  2. Meagan H.
    The word choice in William Faulkner's "Barn Burning" was very distinct. The diction had a very strong theme throughout it, and the connotations that followed the words were also negative. Words like "urgency, wild grief, hurl, choked, ditch, furious, strained abruptly" all added to the destruction of the passage. The character that was sobbing and screaming out for his father added to the eerie urgency. The words were mostly standard- formal on a formality scale. There was also a lot of definite "cement" words, ones that had a very specific and strong essence. Words such as "galloping mare, wings, ultimate instant, swirling roar incredible and soundless" which all sounded very concrete and strong in the passage around each other. In other instances, they could just sound like they are describing a unicorn movie. The other passage I compared this to was by Flannery O'Connor, from "A Good Man is Hard to Find", this short passage centered mostly around the irony in the words (the opening being, "'But nobody's killed'",). There is the negative connotation in this one as well, but it is a little more humorous. With the little girl complaining that no one died, and the focus on the grandmother's hat. The whole passage is colloquial- adding to the element of this unprofessional, informal atmosphere. There are also a lot of words centering around a sort of defection, or brokenness, words like "limped, broken, hanging", all leading to something worse about to happen. The words mostly sound Anglo-Saxon or Greek. Both the first passage and the second have a lot of similarities, but they are both alarmingly different in their own rights.

    Sebastian Junger wrote of history in "Massoud's Last Conquest", there is his writing style on display. With the immediate acknowledgement to his formality and detail-orientation. His sentences are both long, and complex. They also are following a standard word order, getting right to the point, but also pausing to clear up vocabulary along the way. There is also a political jargon and language throughout his sentence that can make it hard to keep up with, unlike James Joyce's sentence from "Araby". In "Araby" he speaks very directly. The sentences are shorter and much more understood by the common person. The sentence in the passage is compound, following standard word order, but still with a little bit of detail. Where Junger's sentence was at least 20+ words, Joyce's is a little over half of that. Joyce's work has less of a professionalism throughout it, and it is less formal and political, but still a standard piece of writing. Both of these passages are quite literal as well, with no "deeper meaning" or things you really have to pick apart to figure out what the metaphors were. While Junger found comfort in a very historical piece, Joyce found theirs in a more narrative piece, using smaller sentences.

  3. Josette T.
    Passages: Virginia Woolf and Mark Twain
    In these passages both authors use similar diction and connotation throughout their passages. In Woolf's passage she says, "...for he was sharing Mr. Ramsey's evening walk up and down, walk up and down the terrace." Woolf uses this repetition to create a certain connection in the sentence that gives the passage a rather melodic feel. The language flows together much like Twain's language in his passage because of the words they use. Twain's use of words are for a much simpler purpose, so the reader can understand exactly what is going on in his passage. Twain uses words such as quiet, smooth and lovely to describe a peaceful scene on the river. This use of informal words manipulates the reader into relating to the situation because it is the type of words they can relate too. Twain's use of words help the reader connect to the text.

    Passages: Didion, Dickens
    Both sentence structures are very similar in these two passages. Didion's passage is a complex compound sentence while Dicken's passage is a compound sentence. Didion immediately assaults you with information about her life in New York, filling the reader with suspense before finally making her point at the end of her passage. This is very similar to Dicken's passage, he writes everything with imperative detail and moves around the main point until the end of his passage as well. While they both use different types of sentence structure they both hold the reader in suspense until the very end of their passages and refuse to leave out any details they find. These passages manipulate the reader by sparking their interest when they refuse to get to the point right away. this rhetorical strategy keeps the reader interested and wanting to know what happens next. Though both authors have different sentence structures they both succeed in engrossing their readers.

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  5. Emma P.
    Passages:Form first link Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

    Mark Twain's writing in Huckleberry Finn is full of slang and informal writing which, is perfect for the novel, because it puts you right in the setting with the character. You feel you are in the south. Huck is also written to be very endearing, he fits the stereotype of an ignorant sort of southern, yet he is learning and you want to foster him. On the other hand Martin Luther King's writing is set towards being self-sufficient, he wants you to see him as respectable and intelligent. He uses large words and clear sentences. They both use religious language, Huck's use is informal but it invokes a familiarity with passing words like sin and glory and Dr. King's is used to invoke respectability. He wants to be seen as the man of god that he is. They both use Anglo-Saxon and greek and Latin language.

    Passages: From second link Salman Rushdie, The Wizard of Oz and William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!

    Faulkner's sentence is the longest I have ever seen. Both sentences have a periodic syntax. Rushdie's clearly builds, it does not complete the independent clause until after all the dependent clauses have been listed. However, Faulkner's is less obvious, it gives you conclusive information in all parts of the sentence but the final idea is really at the end. Both sentences are written in a way that needs to read more than once and it makes you think. In Rushdie's the independent clause sandwiches the dependent clauses. Both sentences fit the topic, Faulkner's sentence is as airless (especially when you are reading it out loud) as the room ad Rushdie's sentence is as absurd and magical as the original Wizard of Oz with its delayed ending and lyrical details.

  6. Tess B.
    Passages: Dickens "Traumatic Childbirth" and Hemingway's "Traumatic Childbirth"
    Dickins uses formal diction and third person narrative to describe the traumatic birthing of Oliver Twist. He focuses on the child’s breathing and his well-being instead of the mother’s. His vocabulary and word choice reflect a French word origin, evident in their sophistication EX: “specimen of biography” as opposed to baby. He uses human curiosity to his advantage as he baits readers in with suspension. Will Oliver live? Will he die? He also induces a higher level of thinking with words such as “ushered” instead of “brought”. This targets an audience that must have a sophisticated vocabulary. Hemingway’s style of writing is more conversational with the reader. He uses informal dictation and personal emotions. The origin of his language appears to be Anglo-Saxon in its simplicity and short statements. His writing speaks to the reader. He becomes intimate with the reader on a personal level. He uses the father as a template to portray an inner struggle. He expresses the father’s fear of his wife dying and the bitterness the father expresses upon seeing the child for the first time after endangering his wife’s life. Humans relate to the feelings of resentment and fear and Hemingway uses these feelings in order to get readers to enter into the story and feel the anxiety as if they were the man himself.

    Passages: Faulkner's "Barn Burning" and Twain's "Contrasting a Peaceful Moment on the River and a Dangerous Storm"
    Faulkner does not divide his passage by use of punctuation; instead he uses commas as if he is continuing one long thought. The purpose of using the commas instead of standard punctuation is to get the reader to feel as though he/she is running with the boy. There are not periods because the boy does not stop. The reader is running alongside the boy. We are trying to keep up with him just as he tries to keep up with the changing environment, stumbling as he goes. His writing diction is Anglo-Saxon and he tells the story from third person using standard speech. The most noticeable aspect of Twain’s writing is the Southern speech. He writes informally and with occasional slang. He connects most of his ideas using “and”, and pays close attention to details. He uses onomatopoeia to describe the surroundings, and to instantly invite you into Twain’s world. Not only do his words vividly describe the surroundings but the fsst and screaking play to our sense of hearing. He helps us to imagine the scene he sees and the Southern accent provides an interesting twist. Both writers exercise the use of commas but Faulkner does so to build anticipation while Twain’s use of commas is to imitate a human’s way of connecting ideas, often with too many “ands”.

  7. Joseph C.

    The word choices made in The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain differ in formality and register, but use similar word origin. Hemingway uses a register that a fisherman would easily understand, whereas someone who has not lived by the ocean may have difficulty understanding. He refers to the “mouth of the harbor,” “trade winds,” and the “great well,” which is specified language. The audience begins to see the narrator as someone who has experience with fishing that others may not have. The narrator uses standard formality, which may fit the character of a fisherman, as opposed to formal or frozen formality. The choice in register and formality allows the narrator to tell a more believable and realistic story, by using more accurate language. Mark Twain creates a similar effect, but by using different formality and register. Twain uses informal language and slang to create a more realistic dialect of a stereotypical southerner. This allows Twain to use phrases that may be common in southern states, but are not common anywhere else. This gives Twain the ability to describe things in a way that certain phrases may suggest, but do not directly state. Both Hemingway and Twain use Anglo-Saxon word origin, with short consonant-sounding words. They do not use a French or Latin origin to sound sophisticated, cultured, or to create abstract images.

    The structure of sentences in A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway and Barn Burning by William Faulkner differ in sentence length but both use frequent punctuation to build suspense. In the first paragraph, Hemingway only uses short sentences that ask the same questioned followed by a reassuring answer. The sentences do not reveal the specifics of the situation the main character is in, but instead continue to build suspense until it is eventually revealed that the child is “all right.” While the suspense is being built, the reader learns there is some kind of major threat to who we later learn is the mother of main character’s son. The threat becomes so intense that the reader can empathize will the main character when he mentions he is not proud of his new son. Without the suspense, a reader who learned that a father is not proud of a healthy baby would side against the father and see him as an antagonist. Faulkner does not use short sentences, but instead uses different punctuation such as commas and colons to elongate his sentences. By doing this, he can continue on one idea and create a vivd scene quicker than he would be able to if he separated his ideas into multiple sentences. Without periods, the reader begins to take on a quicker pace, which fits the intense moment that Faulkner is creating. The commas he uses do provide a pause, but like Hemingway, Faulkner uses the pauses to build suspense. Both authors use the abundant punctuation marks to create quick, short, ideas or sentences, that allow the reader to move at a rapid pace. A similar level of intensity of suspense is created in both passages, because similar techniques are used.

  8. The passages from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist and Thomas Browne’s Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial use varied rhetorical techniques. Both authors effectively express their thoughts through unique diction, particularly. Describing young Oliver Twist’s birth, Dickens uses a variety of formal, “proper”, and sharp words. Possibly one of his fullest lines ends with, “ they would have possessed the inestimable merit of being the most concise and faithful specimen of biography extant in the literature of any age or country.” Dickens provides readers with formal words - “inestimable merit”, “extant” - as well as sharp ones - “concise” - resulting in flowing, intellectual prose. By using a fair amount of uncommon, high-level vocabulary, the author is giving himself the power to, himself, create a mood associated with the words, while ridding himself of the fear that words will have unhelpful connotations in making his points. Dickens’ calm, smart vocabulary result in an engaging, unparalleled piece of fiction. Whereas Dickens uses unique diction to tell his story, Browne uses intellectual diction to make a stance. The author discusses life and death using very formal words - “But the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy, and deals of the memory of men without distinction to merit of perpetuity” - as well as some archaic language, including “considereth”, maketh”, and “scattereth”. Due to his use of high-level vocabulary, readers take his grand ideology into great account, much more so than with average prose. Browne’s prevalent formal word choices indicate he is near attempting to evolve the way writers write. Dickens and Browne have ultimately used formal, distinctive diction to communicate their messages.

    The passages from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and St. Augustine’s The Confessions have unique sentence structures that contribute to the communication of the authors’ messages. Twain, writing in a colloquial register, uses a variety of sentence structure. He includes many smoothly flowing independent clauses in his lines, which are often very long. In the passage, the author writes, “you couldn't make nothing else out; then a pale place in the sky; then more paleness, spreading around; then the river softened up, away off, and warn't black any more, but gray” - after a hyphen, and followed by another semicolon and continued writing. Twain carefully uses semicolons and other punctuation in order to string related thoughts together, with a Mississippi tone of voice, resulting in unusual, folksy prose with complex syntax. His intriguing style and vivid, playful descriptions flow well in this now-classic. In the passage from The Confessions, the author uses simpler sentence structure, consisting of shorter sentences with less fancy arrangement and more straightforward message delivery (although still bountiful in intellectual diction). The passage reads, “Either he desired his wife or his property or else he would steal to support himself; or else he was afraid of losing something to him; or else, having been injured, he was burning to be revenged.” This line represents the highest complexity St. Augustine shows in regards to syntax. Like Twain, he uses semicolons, to organize his direct, less-demanding propositions. The simplicity of St. Augustine’s organization makes for his ideas to be easily recognized, as well as fast-paced reading. The author also uses an interactive technique, by presenting his ideas gradually in the form of questions - “Who would believe such a thing?”, “And to what purpose?” His most solid thoughts occur at the end of the passage, with extremely simply-structured statements expressing the author’s own refreshing contentedness with his newly found conclusions. Through a variety of unique, and simple and complex syntax, Twain and Augustine are successful in their rhetoric.

  9. From a little after two oclock until almost sundown of the long still hot weary dead September afternoon they sat in what Miss Coldfield still called the office because her father had called it that -- a dim hot airless room with the blinds all closed and fastened for forty-three summers because when she was a girl someone had believed that light and moving air carried heat and that dark was always cooler, and which (as the sun shone fuller and fuller on that side of the house) became latticed with yellow slashes filled with dust motes which Quentin thought of as being of the dead old dried paint itself blown inward from the scaling blinds as wind might have blown them.

    William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!

    "But nobody's killed," June Star said with disappointment as the grandmother limped out of the car, her hat still pinned to her head but the broken front brim standing up at a jaunty angle and the violet spray hanging off the side.

    Flannery O'Connor, "A Good Man is Hard to Find

    These poassages in particular were chosen in that they use similar choices in diction to convey completely different concepts. Faulkner uses long, stretched out sentences full of flowing, simplistic words to bring about a feeling of being smothered and uncomfortable, as the reader feels weighted down by the sentence length, and lack of comma breaks on top of a series of consise, yet compicated words that do not force thought into each individual word, but more on the great homogenous blob that is the passage. Flannery O'connor, on the other hand, uses her form of long, drawn out sentences without commas and simple, almost conversational language to tell a more airy and out-of-body like experience,, as if the reader is floating on a cloud of flowing words watching the events in the story from above. Both use similar types of diction, at roughly similar areas of the formality scale, and even have similar sentence structure to boot. However, the flow and personal tone brought about by frank, conversational diction can be used either to connect the reader to the setting, in Faulkner's case, or to detatch the reader as if they are being told the story by a friend, as in O'Connery's.

    Dorothy, stepping into colour, framed by exotic foliage with a cluster of dwarfy cottages behind her and looking like a blue-smocked Snow White, no princess but a good demotic American gal, is clearly struck by the absence of her familiar homey grey.

    Salman Rushdie, The Wizard of Oz.

    Today Arthur Schlesinger's assessment of Reagan, written with such serious and deluded assurance, has something of the air of those scratchy old newsreels showing a turkey-necked Neville Chamberlain fluttering a paper bearing Herr Hitler's signature.

    Richard Fernandez (Belmont Club), "Once I was blind, now I see."

    the sentence structures of these passages are comperable to each other in that they are very different in tone and atmosphere, but use similar sentence structures to get their point across. Salman Rushdie's sentences are very long and drawn out, allowing for a dreamy atmosphere, as if the reader has actually stepped into a new world of fantasy as dorothy has. Meanwhile the harshness of reality is conveyed by sentences of similar length in Richard Fernandez's piece, with a different, almost mocking tone. The one key difference? Commas. Rushdie's sentences are paused with commas, allowing the sentences to breathe, and the reader to take short breaks. There is no such thing in Fernandez's work. Fernandez structures his sentences a;most as if he is mocking the reader, constantly beating them down with words until they listen to what he has to say, while Rushdie prefers to immerse the reader in a dreamlike world of his creation, and rely on that to engage the reader in the story. Both use similar structured sentences, but the addition of a comma or two makes a world of difference towards the overall tone and theme of a story.

  10. SENTENCE STRUCTURE: William Faulker, Barn Burning, David Hackett Fischer Paul Revere's Ride
    William Faulker uses one long sentence divided by commas to make the illusion that we are in the scene with the boy. This method of not stoping the sentences creates the tone of urgency that he wants the reader to feel. He uses simple words from the Anglo-Saxen Origin. He uses lots of adjectives to create imagery and puts many similar sounding adjectives next to each to each other such as, "stumbling, tripping over something and scrabbling up again" to make the reader feel the intensity of the situation. His sentence combinations make the reader out of breath which builds the urgency and suspension, leaving us wondering if the boy will make it. David Hackett Fischer shares his opening sentence to his book, Paul Revere's Ride. This sentence is short and succinct using simple language but with smooth words which flow together to make it sound much more sophisticated. he uses standard syntax telling the reader the subject first and tehn using pauses to add on to the subject's description. This makes the reader aware of who he is talking about and then make them think deeper about his image.

    WORD CHOICE: King James translation Ecclesiastics 1:1-11 , David Hume A Treatise of Human Nature
    In King James's Translation of , he uses old language, calm tone and complex sentences. At the beginning he repeats the word 'vanity' to make the reader realize that that is all that matters to us. He follows his original statement with a question to make us consider his argument. he uses very old language because this is an old translation from what once was in Greek. His diction could be considered "frozen" or archaic because the words he chose are not in our common vocabulary int he modern age. By using these words the reader has to think harder about every phrase or statement made. We are not used to these words yet their meaning id still as clear. It is a very beautiful choice of words for a passage with such meaning. In David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature he uses formal language and many polysylbolic words. Every statement he makes he follows it by a comma and a reiteration of that statement or an obvious extension of that same phrase. He chooses different spelling for some words such as "inclin'd" the reader can inference what the meaning is but it is not a standard word so it makes u believe he is more scholarly than ourselves. This illusion of smooth words and phrases just mask his simple statement.

  11. Sentence structure
    The passages from William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! and Richard J. Evans' In Defense of History, both uses specific aspects in their sentence structure to demonstrate their argument. Faulkner's sentence is so long that it causes curiosity from the reader.His very long sentence keeps the reader's eyes moving continuously letting them focus in the reading because of the build up suspense and tension.He uses parenthesis to add details, and dashes to separate and organize his thoughts.The fact that he did not use many commas in a very long sentence makes you wonder how did it work. He carefully narrated his account with so much detail that commas did not feel needed. Unlike Faulkner, Evans' sentence is not very long and it uses a lot of commas for pauses emphasizing his point. He starts out with a subordinate clause that lets him starts his idea, but only wrap it up at the end. The "there is" in his sentence allows him to bring in new information without changing his precedent idea. He has a way of carrying a lot of information in his complex compound sentences without making them sound too complex.

    Word Choice
    The passages from David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature and Charles Lamb's Imperfect Sympathies both show unique diction used to emphasize their argument. Hume's passage shows an elegant writing style that catches the reader attention. He starts with "immense" instead of big going all the way to "utmost" instead of greater, elevating his vocabulary formality and at the same time showing the reader his main focus.In this passage you can clearly see formal language is being to get his point across. Hume's point is very simple, but it is as if he skips around before actually getting to the point with his abstract diction so he can emphasize his point. Lamb's word choice is very different from Hume's; he uses simple and almost standard words in his sentence. Instead of sounding sophisticated like Hume, he sounds conversational like he would say it out loud in a conversation. This type of diction can often be used to get trust from the readers. He makes the passage simple and to the point,but at the same time provides deep meanings with words like "mankind" and "excess" and creates intimacy with words like "I confess" and "I feel".

  12. Word choice Flannery O'Connor and William Golding

    The diction used by Flannery and William enhances their writing. Both of them could have use much different words and still meant the same thing, but the subtleties behind these quotes would be lost. Both authors use simple words, for the most part, but come out with more complex words for emphasis. Like William Golding who says " Ralph hit Jack in the stomach" which is very simple and straight to the point. Later though he says "Then they were facing each other, panting and furious, but unnerved by each other's ferocity." which starts out simple but ends up complex and abstract. " Ralph hit Jack..." is very simple and straight to the point but "unnerved by each other's ferocity" has a more intellectual and involve more thinking to understand. Flannery O'Connor also uses interesting word choice but for a different reason. "A Good Man is Hard to Find" is very ironic, and this sentence represents that perfectly. This long sentence could be a story in itself, the depth and diction creates this story. ""But nobody's killed," June Star said with disappointment as the grandmother limped out of the car," June Star obviously doesn't care about her grandmother and doesn't understand what death is, but it is much more than that. June Star didn't just say that she said it with disappointment, like she was looking forward to someone dying. And the grandmother doesn't just get out of the car she "limped" out. This creates a visual aspect that someone can relate too. Both use simple words for most of the sentence but throws in some more complex words for depth and to add that je ne sais quoi.

    Samuel Beckett and James Joyce use their sentence structures to create a connection between the reader and the author. Samuel Beckett uses dependant clause at the end of his sentence, this slows down the sentence and opens you up for his main point, but it never comes. Instead he says " Mr. Hackett turned the corner and saw, in the failing light, at some little distance, his seat." this creates some confusion and is unexpected. this sentence has a huge build up and you expect there to be some major theme or point to be at the end, but instead there is this let down. this makes the reader more engaged and makes them stay on their toes. James Joyce does something similar to Samuel Beckett, but does it with an even simpler sentence. James Joyce also appeals to the visual side of reading, with the use of describing a silhouette. He doesn't say that she is a silhouette, him makes you come to that conclusion. This creates a two way relationship between the reader and author. Instead of just telling you something he makes you think about it. He makes it easier for people to do this by using simple words, and simple punctuation. Both authors make connections with their audiences which helps make their rhetoric effective.

  13. Part Three:
    Hemmingway Vs. Ecclesiastes:
    Hemmingway and Ecclesiastes have diction that are far apart on the formality spectrum from standard to archaic respectively. Hemmingway uses his simplistic formations of Anglo Saxon diction to give the Old Man and the Sea a characterised trait of calmness. Ecclesiastes on the other hand uses his more complex older English to give a more sophisticated and prophetic feeling to the story. These two passages both have a similar conduct of word usage by using what appears to be mostly Anglo Saxon origin, Ecclesiastes makes his passage more dramatic by emphasising on phrases using archaic diction. For example “it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.”(Ecclesiastes, 1:1-11) can be compared to Hemmingway’s language by saying that the language is more complexed through the Archaic tone and by making it “it whirled about continuously, and the wind returned again.” makes the passage less dramatic in a sense. Hemmingway on the other side uses a more simplistic tone to get his point across without putting in anything more than necessary. “They spread apart after they were out of the mouth of the harbour and each one headed for the part of the ocean where he hoped to find fish.”(Hemmingway, page 28-29) is a good example to show off Hemmingway’s language. His language used is basic Anglo Saxon and to the point while being standard on the formality scale. No excruciatingly big words are used in the passage along with only basic punctuation is used. This could emphasize on the idea that Hemmingway was trying to keep the book at a level people could relate to language wise while Ecclesiastes put a regal tone in his passage to make it to be respected and above everyone. Hemmingway also includes jargon in the passage from Old Man and the Sea towards fishing while Ecclesiastes’ passage is more time locked than jargoned. Both pieces are exceptionally nice and have short and sweet words, but by adding a formality scale the tone of the two pieces changes drastically.
    Sacks vs. Dunne
    Sacks and Dunne both use complex sentences along with other punctuation along with word choice that creates a different atmosphere. Sacks for example uses a ton of commas and dashes throughout his passage. This overuse of punctuation could be an emphasis on elongating the passage, or it could have been used to give the sentences a more smooth feeling. Either way Sack’s passage needed to be smoothed as his sentence structure was almost similar in every sentence in the passage. The overuse of commas could have been used to try to attempt to hide the lack of variety. Dunne managed to avoid having similar sentence structure and managed to have a varied passage in comparison. Commas were used in appropriate places to give Dune’s passage more organized statements along with the inlaid argument being to the point. Descriptive sentences are used properly and are not overdone while his sentence structures are average length like Sack’s sentence structures. The perspective style of each passage could also contribute to the different effects of longevity compared shortness. Sack’s passage is written in first perspective and gives way to let Sacks write almost as if he, or the character, is conveying their own thoughts on paper whether it be full of commas or not. Dunnes’ third perspective writing gives a stricter code to live by as there is less ways to be flimsy in sentence structure. Where Sacks could go all willy nilly and add whatever he wants to display a character’s emotions Dunne must use simplistic and complex sentence structure to describe a scene more formally as to get the basic point across. Both the perspective and punctuation use create a varied environment for the sentence structure to be laid down to create an atmosphere for a book, and whereas the free flowing thoughts of Sack create a longevity Dunne makes his sentence structure to the point most likely for the plots sake.

  14. Emily N.

    1. Word choice and significance: Hemingway from “The Old Man and the Sea” Versus Fitzgerald translation of Homer’s “The Odyssey”

    Hemingway used a lot of "and" to connect his ideas. The Odyssey was much more straightforward with the way words just worked together. Hemingway's work was more "wordy" and seemed to contain excess in my own personal opinion. Hemingway seems more into describing the way things feel while Homer wants to explain the beauty of the ancient Greek world through his literature.

    2. Significance and sentence structure: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Versus Plato’s “The Republic”

    Plato was very "Yoda" about his sentences. King was straightforward when he made a point. Right after King said something, it would be backed up with reason and logic and understanding. Plato seemed to ask questions and then indirectly answer them using logic, making the reader think about the solution possibilities rather than having King point it out to them.

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  16. MLK's passage with "wait" emphasized and William Golding's passage.

    William Golding and MLK both use standard diction in thier writing. Golding uses more verbs than MLK with words such as,"hit" and "charged" to give the intensity of a fight scene. MLK's words use medical register to describe segregation,whereas the descriptive words of Golding are not as specific.The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King puts a lot of emphasis in the word "wait", because it is a simple word that he uses to represent delay of justice. Golding's use of the word "cheering" in relation to the tribe, stands out as being different from the other verbs in the passage. The effect this wording has is that it transports the reader back to the actual situation. The diction of Golding and King are used to draw an emotional response from the reader.

    Dickens description of a difficult birth and Sir Thomas Browne's passage about time use sentence structure as a way to highlight the main point of the passage. Dickens' passage is very complex-compound sentence, and it brings the effect of centering the main focus of the passage. He does this by stating the difficulty of birthing the baby in an independent clause, then the passage follows a pattern of dependent to independent clauses. Sir Thomas Browne's passage also follows a pattern. His sentences go from complex-compound sentences, to simple, back to compound-complex,then again to simple sentences. The purpose of this pattern was to support the central idea of it which is that time is fleeting,by creating a shift in how long he takes to say what is needed.

  17. Melanie M.

    In both To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf and The Studio, by John Gregory Dunne, the authors use detailed diction in their passages. The details used in these passages created vivid imagery that would not have been created if the authors had chosen not to include specific adjectives. For example, in To the Lighthouse, Woolf uses words like “due west” and “bony fingers”. Also, her choice to describe Tansley specifically as “the atheist” is important to the characterization of a character. In The Studio, Dunne uses diction to set a more sophisticated scene. The way he describes Zanuck as, “wearing sunglasses and smoking a large black cigar and in the lapel buttonhole of his well-tailored blue blazer was in the rosette of the Legion d’Honneur,” makes the character seem like a wealthy and important man. If the author had not been specific with his details, the audience may have received a different tone. The word “dauphin” stood out to me in particular, because it is higher on the formality scale. This word choice adds formality to the passage as a whole. Diction is very important in pieces of writing, because they can determine the formality and can contribute to the overall message of a passage.

    The passages from Oliver Twist’s birth, from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens and A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, have different sentence structure, but are both about traumatic childbirths. Dickens writes long and complex sentences, whereas Hemingway seems to use very short sentences. In the passage by Charles Dickens, his first paragraph is one sentence only, and the different clauses are linked by a series of comas and semi-colons. An important sentence in particular that Dickens said,” As Oliver gave this first proof of the free and proper action of his lungs, the patchwork coverlet which was carelessly flung over the iron bedstead, rustled; the pale face of a young woman was raised feebly from the pillow; and a faint voice imperfectly articulated the words, "Let me see the child, and die.’, creates a much more powerful message than if Dickens had chosen to use many brief sentences. The long sentences cause the readers to slow down when they are reading, especially when they come across a type of punctuation. On the contrary, Hemingway’s short sentences cause the reader to pause often, but instead of the words flowing, it creates more of a staccato pattern. The use of repetition portrays a tone of fear to the reader. It is apparent the narrator is worried about someone very important to him, and his internal debate emphasizes this point. The two authors may have used very different techniques to structure their sentences, but both were able to use the structures to convey darker tones.

  18. Word Choice: Sacks and Faulkner

    In the first passage, Oliver Sacks uses diction to put emphasis on his current situation. He almost repeats himself along the way to get his point across. He describes his writing as, “more easily, more naturally, with each passing day. I am adapting, learning”. He could have just proclaimed that he was getting used to his disability and was learning to live with it, however he follows more easy with more natural and adapting with learning, to show that he has truly come a long way to adjust to his injury. While Sacks is using diction to emphasize his situation, Faulkner uses it to describe his scenery. He adds many adjectives that are less common and give the room a gloomy feeling, like “ latticed with yellow slashes filled with dust motes” and “dead old dried paint”. In the second small section, Faulkner uses personification. The paint can not realistically be dead, meanwhile the adjective supports Faulkner’s description of the room and keeps the dried paint within context. Both authors use diction to describe the current situation that they are, whether it is their current health or their current atmosphere.

    Sentence Choice: Golding and Beckett

    Golding and Beckett set up their sentences very different. Golding has an independent clause followed by a dependent clause in the majority of his sentence. Golding describes the, “steady shrill cheering of the tribe”, which makes the watching kids out to be a noisy group of barbarians, rather than students rooting on their buddy in his fight. This is most likely because when a fight is occurring, we all turn into the bully ourself, rather than the person who goes to find help from higher authority, than our own. Meanwhile, Beckett strays from common English, and does not have the object immediately follow the verb. If it followed common English, the sentence would read, “Mr. Hackett turned the corner and saw his seat, in the failing light, at some little distance”. However, Beckett decided to put the description of the scenery in between the verb and the object. Both authors set up their sentences differently, but in the end they are getting their words across onto the paper.

  19. Accursio O.
    Word Choice: Ernest Hemingway's "A Farewell To Arms and William Faulkner's "Barn Burning"

    Both Hemingway and Faulkner use a standard form of diction in their passages. Hemingway wrote with Anglo-Saxon diction, many of his phrases were simply "having a bad time", "she can't die", this is very straight forward and requires little to no interpretation as to its meaning. Hemingway writes in short simple sentences to represent the character in a nervous state. Hemingway emphasizes "bad time" because it's the characters attempt to not create ill will. Faulkner wrote with more of a formal diction, using words like "ceasing" and "silhouette" instead of stopping and shadow. Faulkner writes in lengthy complex sentences full of description of either the character or the surroundings. Faulkner's word choice gives the reader a visual glimpse as to what the story describes by using words such as "weed-choked" and "summer night sky". Both passages emphasize empathy (or the lack thereof) that the main character feels toward another character.

    Sentence Structure: Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist" and Sebastian Junger's "Massoud's Last Conquest"

    Charles Dickens uses more complex-compound sentence structuring in the passage. Dickens passage is the description of the birth of Oliver Twist. The birth of Oliver Twist is an independent clause, and the passage soon takes shape by interchanging between independent and dependent clauses.The character is detatched from Oliver Twist to the point where the character wonders how the "specimen" is doing, not the child. Junger is more directly to the point by using one complex sentence that gets his point across about the Taliban taking over a war torn Afghanistan, thanks to the support of the ISI in creating "fundamentalist lunatics"..

  20. Word Choices in "Barn Burning" from William Faulkner and Homer's "The Odyssey"

    In "Barn Burning", Faulkner uses diction to greatly enhance the feeling of pain and longing in the given paragraph. Particularly in this sentence: "...and scrabbling up again without ceasing to run, looking backward over his shoulder at the glare as he got up, running on among the invisible trees, panting, sobbing, "Father! Father!"” The use of the words panting and sobbing as well as the other adjectives in the sentence paint a picture of the pain that is going through the characters mind and that the character is expressing in his/her actions in the passage. In Homer's passage as well as Faulkner's, he uses word choice to get his point across as well, but in a different way. Homer uses similes, as noted in the following sentence: "Odysseus clung to a single beam, like a jockey riding, meanwhile stripping Kalypso's cloak away." Homer uses his word choice to create a simile, which engages the reader and keeps the gears of their mind moving, while all the same as Faulkner, creating a vivd image in the reader's mind.

    Sentence Structure in The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

    The writing styles of Twain and Hemingway are shockingly different, yet equallly beautiful. Looking deeper into the sentence structure of both writers, it is easily noted that each writer uses their writing style to get their current passage to come alive. Hemingway tends to use more blunt sentences, very concrete and factual. Take a look at the following sentences: "Sometimes someone would speak in a boat. But most of the boats were silent except for the dip of the oars." There is no fluff in his sentences at all, he gets right to the point and delivers an excellent story. Twain on the other hand uses complex sentence structure to get his point across. This is shown in the following sentence: "...then the nice breeze springs up, and comes fanning you from over there, so cool and fresh, and sweet to smell, on account of the woods and the flowers. . . . And afterwards we would watch the lonesomeness of the river, and kind of lazy along, and by-and-by lazy off to sleep." Twain's use of complex sentences combined with his adjectives make for a beautiful paragraph. All in all, both writers use their sentence structure to deliver their stories.

  21. I compared Mark Twain’s piece of describing a calm river and rough storm to Hemingway’s piece about a traumatic childbirth.The word choice used by both Hemingway and Twain present the different ways of explaining a situation. Twain uses a larger vocabulary making what he describes vibrant. He also creates his own word a, neologism, to describe a certain sound. Twain presents his scene in such a way it makes the reader picture everything he describes in their mind. He describes the nature around him using elegant adjectives. Twain uses a variety of other literary devices such as alliteration and personification to engage the reader on how the scene looks. Hemingway on the other hand uses a simpler language. He uses very few descriptive words in his work, and if so he makes it strait to the point. Hemingway also uses his word choice along with the length of sentences to have the reader primarily focus on finding his idea or central point to the story. Hemingway is given a variety of chances to use different language, after all his piece being about a traumatic childbirth, but he chooses not to. He continues to use simple straight to the point language.

    I compared William Faulkner’s piece of a barn burning to Joan Didion’s piece about arriving in New York. Faulkner uses strong engaging language which puts the reader in the place of the narrator. Faulkner uses long descriptive sentences to put this image of the blazing barn into your head. He describes this scene using a variety of constant strong adjectives and moving verbs to show how all of these actions are taking place in a very short period of time. He writes sentences with clause after clause using this strong choice of words. Didon uses a different method of presenting her scene. Her sentence uses clause after clause similar to Faulkner’s piece. She uses fewer adjectives to describe her scene and what is going on in it. Her clauses are quite simple compared to Faulkner’s engaging imagery stimulating clauses. She prefers to use simple sentences and simple language in her sentences to have the reader focus on her point, unlike Faulkner who wants you to absorb the big colorful sentences with the vibrant vocabulary he presents to you.

  22. Zoe P

    Passages: Joan Joyce and Colin Thubron
    The words chosen by Joan Joyce and Colin Thubron have a very different feeling. Joyce's sentence had more of a formal sense to it, for example instead of using the word 'silhouette' she writes, "her figure defined by the light". She described the scene instead of summing it up. Thubron on the other hand used more of a slang vocabulary. He used terms like "boyish" and "tobacco-stained" to describe the factory workers he was writing about. Also by using connotations the reader can feel as though they are looking right at the men, we can see the short hair that is associated with a boy, and the yellow teeth we imagine on a tobacco user.

    Passages: Ernest Hemingway and Joan Didion
    The writing style of Hemingway and Didion is extremely different. Hemingway uses a series of short and simple sentences as if he is using them as building blocks to a central point. With the use of so many punctuation marks the feeling of the passage is slower as the reader takes pauses while they read. "But what if she does die? She can't die. Yes, but what if she does die?" Going back and forth between multiple thoughts gives the reader the feeling of being inside the characters mind. We feel as jumbled up in though as he does. Joan Didion wrote a paragraph using one single sentence that had many thoughts poured into it. She used the word 'and' many times and the use of multiple commas throughout made her passage flow into itself, unlike Hemingway's.

  23. Winslow L
    Salman Rushdie and David Hume
    Both authors use a large amount of descriptive words to give the reader somewhat of an understanding of how explicit each of there topics are. Rushdie uses many colors and words such as "exotic" to give the reader an understanding of the craziness that would be a real life color change from gray-scale to full color. Hume uses words and phrases like "immense" and "utmost art" to display the vastness and heaviness of the subject of philosophy.

    William Faulkner and Charles Dickens
    Faulkner and Dickens both use long sentences and periodic syntax to play with the reader and change the tone of their stories. Faulkner uses long sentences to convey a rushed tone of the situation the character finds himself in. He uses periodic syntax to build suspense into the climax of the passage. Dickens uses his long sentence to display a different tone; one of listlessness and depression. Then he uses his periodic syntax to delay what the reader thinks is inevitable death for the child, but what turns out to be a joyous turn of events. Then he shocks the reader by announcing the death of the child's mother just a few lines later.

  24. Kate P.

    Sentence Structure:

    I compared Barn Burning by William Faulkner to Charles Dicken's Oliver Twist, because the sentences were similarly structured, in that both passages convey emotions through long, drawn out sentences. Burn Burning expresses excitement and energy through Faulkner's continued sentence. He used the literary tool of syntax to create a fast paces, flustered feeling to the story. By using a continuous sentence, he gave the effect that the action in the story is rapid and continuous as well. By using this style, Faulkner is building up to the climax of the passage- where the man's father is shot. Towards the end, I noticed that Faulkner uses a considerably larger amount of commas- syntax- that gives the story a more flustered, exciting finish.

    Similarly, in Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, the author uses sentences that drag, often not using periods until the end of the paragraphs. But instead of creating an exciting atmosphere, Dickens sets a dreary and depressing tone to his story. He does this to display just how poor these character's lives are. His style of writing is made to directly reflect the persona of the characters.

    Word Choice:

    To display creative diction, I compared Colin Thubron's Behind the Wall to James Joyce's Araby. In Behind the Wall, Thubron uses very specific detail, which was chosen to create a vivid image of the character he is describing, in the reader's head. The imagery implied in the phrase “tobacco-stained teeth” is my favorite, as it really gives you the idea of of dingy, run-down people traveling around each other.

    In Araby by James Joyce, the author also uses imagery when describing the woman, using the language “defined by the light from the half-opened door” instead of something that would get the point across just as well, such as a silhouette.

  25. Passage Diction:

    In the two passages authors Ghaith Abdul-Ahad and Robert Fitzgerald, use jargon, or technical vocabulary used by a certain group, to connect with specific types of readers. In Ahad’s passage he uses vernacular and jargon language. The vernacular language relates to certain geographical groups, in this case the Iraqis. An example of this vernacular is the choice of the word keffiyeh versus the more commonly known term, turban. In choosing to say keffiyeh the author knows that the readers may have to use context or look up the word. He may also be attempting to connect with readers from that geographical region. Ahad also uses jargon when using the technical name of RGP instead of the word gun. Clearly he is attempting to connect with those who may be better educated about guns and weaponry. The jargon language used by Fitzgerald appeals to seamen. In the case of the word “bilge” many readers may not be familiar with the jargon used by seamen. Fitzgerald was making an attempt to relate to his readers who are in fact familiar with the terminology. The use of jargon was in hopes of relating to certain readers who would understand the complex technical vocabulary.

    Passage Syntax:

    Both authors, Beckett and Rushdie, use periodic syntax to create a sense of suspense for the readers. Periodic syntax delays the point of the sentence to the end by adding in clause after clause to keep the reader at the edge of their seat waiting to find out what happens next. This is especially true in the case of Mr.Hacket from Beckette’s passage. The two dependent clauses in between learning that Mr.Hacket saw something and finding out what it is cause the readers to anxiously read the sentence with anticipation. This is the exact reaction the author hopes to provoke when writing in periodic syntax. Rushdie uses a periodical sentence structure too, though in a less dramatic way. The reader desires to find out what Dorothy is doing or feeling and Rushdie stalls to disclose this information until the very end of the sentence. Even though the reader is not eager with anticipation, the periodical style sentence is enough to keep the reader interested and creates the desire to continue reading.

  26. Hannah L.
    Diction: The two passages I read and noticed their interesting word choices were from Charles Dickens, "Oliver Twist" and Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms". Both describe a childbirth, but with two completely different types of language. In Dickens, he uses formal words including, trouble, sorrow, "a new burden imposed", "male infant" and others. In Hemingway's, however, he uses the words, "She can't", "Die" and "what If" repeatedly throughout the passage. His words are much more simple and informal than Dickens. Dickens may use the formal language to show how hesitant people were to welcome children into this world a long time ago because they are not sure if the child or the mother were going to survive. Hemingway uses humor, which I personally enjoyed. When the nurse asks the character if he is proud of his son and he exclaims "No, because he almost killed his mother". This may have been his take on a way to address such a sensitive subject as a child being born during that time period, just as Dickens did, but Dickens did this in a formal way.

    Structure: The two passages I read and notice a distinct difference in sentence structure were "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner and "Old Man and the Sea" by Hemingway. Faulkner's passage is one long paragraph, with only one period at the very end; which could be broken into at least ten other sentences. It makes the reader feel as though they cannot breathe when they are reading it, and creates an uncomfortable sense about the whole piece, even though the material is intricate and detailed. Hemingway's passage has brief sentences, none of which are complex. They consist of simple words, and not many commas are used. Faulkner probably made his passage in this structure to enhance the detail that it is actually made up of. He wants the reader to feel as though they cannot breathe because that is a point he is trying to make in his passage. Hemingway uses terse and brief sentences because that is how he gets his point across. He doesn't need formal and detailed language. Simple words suffice to relay his ideas.

  27. Hemingway(old man and the sea) and Twain

    These two passages share some similarities in word choice and sentence structure. However each author uses a distinct writing style that helps personify their writing. Ernest Hemingway embraces the simple nature of the aging fisherman he develops by using singularly simple yet descriptive language. The sentences in this passage are long but are broken into segments of language that embody years of knowledge and learning. Not only does the old man tell us that those onshore cannot see a storm coming, Hemingway's careful use of language tools lets us know that the old man knows this from years of working on the ocean. Mark Twain on the other hand, utilizes incredibly long sentences. Primarily to cram as much information about the storm as possible into one thought. The fact that the passage reads like a dialogue is important, it seems as if the reader is being told directly about the storm.The description of the storm has some interesting choices as well, such as the intense opposites used to describe it. Comparing it to the color of a bruise, yet choosing lovely as the word do describe it.

    Joan Didion and Tobias Wolff

    Joan Didion's passage fits the description of delay quite well. Didion uses this delay to hold off on sending her main point, that her life has been changed, by first presenting all of the different experiences she has had in a very short expanse of time. She also uses repetition, repeating the word and before every new item. This repetition further drives in her main goal at the very end of the passage. The short sentence by Tobias Wolff on the other hand uses very different tools to demonstrate a goal. Wolff is describing a person, and a situation at the same time and uses appropriate describing vocabulary to suit the description of both.