The Dolls House

A Stylistic Analysis of The Doll??™s House
Dra. Dina Dyah Ks, MA.

Abstract: Analisis Stilistika pada cerita pendek The Doll??™s House mencoba menggunaka pendekatan lexico-grammar analysis untuk menelaah hubungan personal dan emosional antar tokoh-tokoh didalamnya. Secara tehnis pilihan pengarang pada penggunaan article, deixes dan konstruksi pesan yang disampaikan melalui dialog dan argumen tokoh-tokoh kecilnya, merupakan pilihan yang sengaja dibuat untuk menajamkan konflik antar kelas. Kata-kata kunci:

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INTRODUCTION The Doll??™s House (TDH) was written by Katherine Mansfield in 1922. This is a story about little girls from different class society in England who lived in the writer??™s time. Boddy (1988), acknowledged that TDH is Mansfield??™s best-known and most accessible story that few who read it can forget the little lamp and the reality of the children??™s playground. The main concern of this essay is to see the way the writer exposes the lamp. Since we will see the lamp is the center of attention. The relation between the lamp, the children and the class conflict is crucial in presenting the theme of the story. Besides as the central point, the lamp functions as a channel for the readers to get acquaintance with the children from different families with different social status and with the social values that encompass them. Else Kelvey has a significant role to bring the theme of the story. These children are the representation of their different societies (They are called the theme bearer). The analysis, therefore, will be focused on them. Due to limited space, only part of TDH with strong description of each theme bearer attractive to the readers will be analysed. The analysis is done on the basis of clause division. As suggested by Hasan (1985) a story can be divided into some movements which can be seen from the perspective of its causal sequences. In this way, the movements will become apparently meaningful and interpretable. On the contrary, if the movement stands alone it would be insipid and would not have meaningful contribution to the whole story. Hasan (1985) relates this movement to the concept of transitivity. She refers back to Chatman??™s definitions of an event which he says

that ???Events are either actions (acts) or happenings in which both are changes of state??™ (1987: p. 44). To make the analysis easier to follow, this essay will be arranged into some headings: movements, tense, the use of conjunctions and of deixis to display the class conflict, the lexico-grammatical analysis, the lexis chains and the closure of the story. TDH is divided into seven discourse units, which identify each movement and exhibit each event: Move 1: The coming of TDH and it??™s feature (p. 291) Move 2: The Burnell children were eager to tell everybody at school about TDH (p. 292) Move 3: About the Kelveys (p. 293) Move 4: The Burnell were telling the story about TDH to their schoolmate (p. 294) Move 5: The fame of TDH and Kezia??™s eagerness to invite the Kelveys (p. 894) Move 6: Students were ridiculing the Kelveys (p. 295) Move 7: At last there was chance for the Kelveys to see TDH (p. 296) Tense The nature of TDH is narrative, which has a social function ???to entertain and deal with actual or vicarious experience ??¦??¦..??™ (Gerot & Wignell, 1997: 204). To them, one of the features of a narration is the existence of past tense. It is because to narrate something is almost equal with to make a report on something. The difference between the two is that narration is usually based on a writer??™s imagination while report is based on actual events. Mansfield uses Simple Past Tense (SPT) for the most occurring tense in the story, because SPT is commonly used to report events or actions that happened in the past. When writing TDH, we assume that she reports it to the readers??™: TDH was so big, that the carter and Pat carried it into the courtyard ??¦??¦??¦ etc.??? (TDH: p. 291). Yet, sometimes she uses Past Progressive Tense (PPT). This tense is employed to say that someone is in the middle of doing something at a certain time. The action or situation has already started before this time but has not finished yet. Moreover, the past progressive does not tell us whether an action is finished or not. It may be finished it may be not. In many events Mansfield mainly uses SPT, however, in describing Kezia??™s protest to Isabel, she utilizes PPT. That afternoon, the children had their play time

at school. Isabel and her sisters were gathering with many other school girls. Isabel started to boast about TDH. But , she forgot to tell about the lamp so that Kezia broke out: ???The lamp??™s best of all,??™ cried Kezia (1). She thought Isabel wasn??™t making half enough of the little lamp (2). But nobody paid any attention. Isabel was choosing the two who were to come back ??¦??¦??¦. (3) (Mansfield, 1922 : 294). By using PPT, Mansfield wants to draw the readers into the character??™s situation, to perceive what they were perceiving, to think what was in their mind as if the readers were intensifying the words making half enough of the little lamp. The reader??™s impression would not be the same if Mansfield changes that sentence into Isabel didn??™t make it half enough ??¦??¦??¦??™. The result toward our perception as readers might be different. This sentence seems to make the relation between the readers and the characters quite a distance. Clearly enough that the original sentence gets the readers involve and share the same experience with the characters of TDH. At this stage the intimacy among the writer, readers and characters is made so robust. In addition to this, PPT takes role to give impression that the story style is simple. This simplicity represents the simplicity and purity of the children??™s soul, especially Kezia??™s. Likewise, using PPT for sentence (2) and (3) implies that Mansfield thinks those events were important to her as well. Those sentences are attached to the character??™s wish toward the lamp. Kezia wished Isabel to expose the lamp more than Isabel had done. Kezia was very fond of the lamp but she didn??™t have a chance to boast about it. She expected Isabel would tell much more about it. Apart from that, Isabel wished to look powerful and important in front of her friends by choosing and inviting the girls to see the lamp. The Use of Conjunction and Deixis to Display the Class Conflict I suspect that there is a class conflict in this story. The conflict is brought not only by the lexicogrammar of TDH but also by the use of conjunctions in the text, and of the deixis. If we follow Butt et als. (1997) we find that the deictic in the title of this story could be identified as a ???demonstrative??™ whereas the definite article ???a??™ in a tug and a twitch (TDH: p. 294 & p. 296) is a deictic functions as non-specific pointers. First, the role of conjunctions to bring the idea of class conflict is analysed as follow. Of the 43 conjunctions, 22 of them are additive either external or internal cohesion with paratactic relation. Meanwhile, twelve other conjunctions are

consequential with paratactic relation, and the rest are comparative, additive temporal conjunction with either paratactic or hypotactic relation. Details follow: 1. ???and??™ = 22 (varying with ???and then??™; ???and as??™; ???and by??™) 2. ???but??™ = 12 (including ???but then??™) 3. ???even??™ = 2 4. ???because??™ 5. ???than??™ 6. ???if??™ 7. ???then??™ 8. ???but then??™ 9. ???by??™ 10. ???and as??™ I would say that the paratactic relations between clauses are dominant rather than the hypotactic relations. There is something special that can be grabbed from it. According to Gerot and Wignell (1994) the hypotaxis is found when one clause relates to the other dependently. Whereas parataxis is used when one clause relates to the other independently, in which one clause follows one from another. The paratactic relation between most of the clauses in The Doll??™s House which relate and tell about the main characters can be interpreted through the three main characters (Kezia, Lil and Else). They should be seen equally because they are independent to one another. No character is superior to the others. By the author, these characters are intended as having a single entity, an independent individual. Surprisingly, when talking about Isabel Burnell and her friends the hypotactic relations are often found. It seems that in her boastful manner Isabel is a lonely person who is in fact powerless. In drawing a social relationship she has to bring TDH into her friends??™ attention. Among others, Kezia, Lil and Else are robust and autonomous characters led by their feeling of humanity and truth. We can then ask if the use of conjunctions is the only tool to examine this class conflict. Now is the turn to have a look at the indefinite article versus the definite article. ???The??™ is a definite article that refers to something that we have already known. The thing has already been mentioned before and has already been in our mind. In other words, the thing is familiar to us. Mansfield??™s effort to use ???the??™ in The Doll??™s House indicates that she expects her reader to have a preoccupation of TDH before proceeding through the whole story. The use of these two types of article is not without motivation.

It was quite common for young girls at the age of the girls of Burnells and Kelveys to play a house. Mansfield dedicated her time for subtle but clear details of TDH in this part. The details which could be traced back from her own time when she played in a house in a garden of her house in Tinakori Road in Wellington. Goddy described her time as ???a time of roaming and exploring in fields and gardens??™ (1988:4), which reshaped into some of her stories including TDH. Critics agree that describing imaginative details so real and strong is one of Mansfield??™s natures on writing. She gets her talent and it has been sharpened by her habit of writing diaries. The evidence of her talent is seen in her description about her house in Tinakori Road. No wonder, at the early part of the story she provides TDH delicately, as if she writes her diaries. TDH and its details awaken her memory and she expects her readers would share it. Regards the indefinite article, which Mansfield used for ???a twitch??™ and ???a tug??™ on Lil??™s skirt, it is apparent that, Mansfield??™s motivation is showing the readers that she herself feels so strange to that kind of twitch and tug. Giving a twitch and a tug to sister??™s skirt instead of conveying an utterance was so peculiar. Yet, this peculiarity produced a powerful effect of the contrastive manner of children of different classes. It is not without consciousness when Mansfield uses this indefinite article to confront it with the definite article the story. Mansfield??™s intention of using this non-specific pointer is to make the class confrontation more severe. The indefinite article is used embedded to the working class children whereas the definite article is used as a part of the description of the high-class children. The indefinite article also functions as a sign that the one who gave ???a tug??™ and ???a twitch??™ was as marginal and alienated as any events commonly take place at the high-class society. In TDH, the indefinite article appears only twice, which is in the middle and almost at end of the story. Readers are expected to realize that it represents a reality of a kid who is so oppressed by the social prejudice. The kid was never willing to talk because their talk would not be listened. The reader??™s sympathy is thus shaped at this very moment. Let alone, the first appearance of the indefinite article is in the part of Mansfield??™s brief story of the Kelveys??™ family background. The Exico Grammar Analysis Material process dominates the story (61 processes) while mental, behavioral, verbal and relation processes spread out evenly ??“ 27, 30, and 25, 18

respectively –. Various circumstances are employed through out the selected part of the story. The variation of circumstances make the story run efficiently such as seen in these sentences: (i) Four windows, real windows, were divided into panes by a broad streak of green; (ii) It was even filled already for lighting, though, of course you couldn??™t light it etc. Mansfield uses circumstances conspicuously, that in this way, they affect the propinquity of the readers to the nouns that follow the preposition and results to the readers perception to the events in the story. Readers involve deeply to every moment experienced by the characters. Mansfield often placed the Kelveys in a passive sentences such as in: ???The Kelveys were shunned by everybody??™ (4) and in ???Only the little Kelveys moved away forgotten??™ (5). May we remember that ???Language has an interpersonal function to encode the interaction between participants (Butt et al., 1997: 64) than we know that it means there is an exchange of information between Mansfield and the readers of The Doll??™s House. It is not a real mutual and reciprocal exchange of information of course, as when they have to encounter TDH, readers do not have opportunity to negotiate the bounded meaning in the language used by Mansfield. But, readers become aware that at this interpersonal stratum, the Kelveys are at the beginning of the sentence. In other words, at the semantic level, the interpersonal stratum shows us how the Kelveys becomes the subject of the sentence. When we come across the thematization of sentence (4), it is the Kelveys who is thematized. It highlights the Kelveys??™ position from Mansfield??™s perspective. She seems trying to keep them as her major characters. She wants to make them remain conspicuous ??“ hence, thematized. Accordingly, their position as subject of the sentence may lead us to a conclusive remark that they are the subjects of Mansfield thought at the time of creating TDH. Amazingly, when we see sentence (4) at its ideational stratum, we will interpret that the Kelveys has turned into a victim of the social injustice, as they are the goal (particularly as phenomenon) of that passive sentence. In addition to this, in a sentence with passive verb, agents are sometimes omitted. Let alone if the agent is indefinite such as everybody, people, public etc. But, the writer decided to keep the agents explicitly stated. Keeping the word everybody explicitly will strengthen the verb ???shunned??™. This is because everybody comprises anybody of the society. It could be the middle class, other Burnells or even the readers. In this way, the writer attempts to put her readers into two different positions. On the one hand, they may become ???everybody??™ who hates and shuns them. On the other, they

could possibly turn to be sympathetic to the Kelvey??™s suffering. Yet, readers might provide different responses. The clause forgotten in sentence (5) is made dependent to the previous clause. By which then we call it as having hypotactic relation to that clause. This clause is structured in passive sentence. Since it is embedded to the preceding sentence then the subject is omitted. Embedding is the way ???an element of a clause comes to function within the structure of a group??™ (Gerot & Wignell, 1997 : 87). But this clause is not only embedded, it is also an ellipsis in which some or parts of it are left out and recoverable by the accompanying text. In this case the recoverable bit is the subject of the preceding clause. This clause has an implied subject and is lack of an agent. This time, the writer lets the agent remain implicit, hence, become agentless . Readers could only infer that the clause has an indefinite agent as most passive clauses do. Every selection of the use of language always ends up in a consequence. The consequence of letting that clause agentless and subjectless is to give a chance to various possibilities of interpretations by the readers on the bases of the lexico-grammatical style used in both sentences. The Lexical Chain This essay will also see The Doll??™s House from its lexical cohesion based on the clause division as it is assumed that it will be too complex and too long to see it from the whole story. That is why the lexical cohesion is drawn from the clause divisions, which is grouped into five. Twenty nine chains decorate and tighten up this story. Since there are five groups of very strong descriptions of the children, the house and its lamp, so there will be five major lexical chains about that group : (1) the house (2) the lamp (3) the society (4) the Burnell and (5) the Kelveys encountered the lamp of TDH. For the sake of space the lexical chain is made on the basis of group (1), (2) and (5). Lexical chain is used when we need to take a look at how participants are distributed throughout a text (Gerot & Wignell, 1997). Included in participants are the people, places, things that have been talked about in the text, and that the writer has referred to. The lexical chain is able to show us what, who and which participants have major roles in the text. More than that, at the higher level of examination, by using lexical chain, we are helped to trace the writer??™s process of creation and what, who, and which participants become so important to the author to bring her thought and feeling.

So to speak, knowing who relates to whom and to which one in the text will illuminate the reader??™s awareness of the message in the story. The lexical chain of TDH exhibits TDH first time appearance both in the title and in the first three paragraphs of the story. TDH appearance at the beginning of the story is aimed at familiarizing the readers to its features and at building up the readers??™ sympathy to it. After that first appearance, the writer left the middle part of the story with the absence of TDH. In the middle of the story, she merely presents the children and their playground. The playground which is used as an arena of mockery and showing off. It is at this playground that the conflict between the children from different classes became apparent. In this also, Mansfield finds her own ground to explore and to generate the class conflict. Mansfield construes the characters in few words, with simple vocabularies but they are so alive and so convincing. In stylistic, Leech & Short (1981) makes these language features include in the lexical categories. In this way, the relationship of the three Burnell sisters is made so subtle, the blind prejudice of society is clearly exposed, children are shown to be as cruel as the adults. But the little lamp in TDH shows us that there is always a thing in the world where every one is interested in, that every one should have equal chance to get it. Adults are as excited as children in talking about TDH, the poor has the same eagerness in having a look at TDH as the rich . But the world is so strange and is sometimes unfair. The unfairness that lets the Kelvey girls feel painful, embarrassed, anxious, ignore, despised. But this poor little girl are so patient and entrust. The unfairness, pain, anxiety and ignorance are only part of life, to be balanced against those qualities suggested by the little lamp which is so much more important to Kezia and Else than those social injustice, those prejudices, and those mockery. The Ending of the Story Mansfield is one of writers who are good at depicting dead silence among characters. In most of her stories, silence is usually put at the very end. Readers can find it in The Garden Party (TGP), for example. That is when Laura, the main character, could not speak about the dead of a young neighbor. Silence could also be found in The Education of Audrey [Silence again in the dark room ??¦??¦] and in The Daughters of the Late Colonel [Josephine was silent for a moment]. The Doll??™s House is ended when Lil and Else both are trapped in a silence after seeing the lamp in the doll??™s house [Then both were silent once more].

This is the way Mansfield ends most of her stories. I find this as one of the styles that Mansfield has. Readers are always left in silence. In this way, Mansfield lets her readers find the real ending of the story. In short, as Eggins (1994) writes, the discourse pattern of cohesion which include the lexical cohesion, conjunctive relations, etc. will show us the logical relation and the explicit or the implicit relation structure of the text. Reference Bloor, T. & Mereil Bloor. 1995. The Functional Analysis of English: a Hallidayan Approach. London: Arnold. Boddy, G. 1988. Katherine Mansfield: the woman and the writer. Victoria: Penguin Book. Butt, D. et al. 1997. Using Functional Grammar: An Explorer??™s Guide. Sydney: National Center for English Language Teaching and Research (NCELTR) Caffin, E. 1982. Introducing Katherine Mansfield. New Zealand: Longman Paul. Carter, R (ed.). 1982. Languagae and Literature. London: George Allen & Unwin. Eggins, S. 1994. An Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics. London: Pinter Publishers. Gerot, L. 1995. Making Sense of Text. Quensland: Antipodean Educational Enterprises. Gerot, L & Peter Wignell. 1995. Making Sense of Functional Grammar. Quensland: Antipodean Educational Enterprises. Halliday, MAK. 1994. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Arnold Hasan, R. 1985. Linguistics, Language, and Verbal Art. Victoria: Deakin University. Haynes, J. 1988. Introducing Stylistics. London: Unwin Hyman. Leech, G.N. and Michael H. Short. 1981. Style in Fiction. London: Longman Martin, J.R., C.M.I.M. Matthiessen &C. Painter. 1997. Working with Functional Grammar. London: Arnold. Toolan, M (ed.). 1992. Language, Text, and Context: Essays in Stylistics. London: Routledge.