17 авг. 2011 г.

Интерпретация текста “Doctor in the House” by Richard Gordon

In our world, full of difficulties and various problems I am sure no one can say that he is free from spoiling his nerves and health in order to overcome some important destiny barriers. As a matter of fact, who can agree that life is more interesting, when it flows as a calm river of constantly and monotonously changing events? 

A person becomes experienced and strong only having felt the whole disgrace of the world he has a chance to live in. And what an amazing quality our memory has; it specially chooses the worst recollections and with the sense cruelty reminds us our past mistakes and annoyances, making us feel that awful feelings again and again.

The fact that nothing can be as memorable as our misfortunes was remarkably proved by Richard Gordon in his novel under the title "Doctor in the House"


Having a great medical practice, the author reveals his own recollections of the old days, when he was just a student, stumbling through the most scaring trial in his life – the finals. He colourfully describes all the sides of his extremely important event. Cheating is practically impossible, all the knowledge is an inseparable mass in the heads of young and full of hopes students. Oral and writing examinations become some kind of a “judgment day”. And not everyone becomes that lucky, who will take the diploma from the professor’s hands. With an irony the author gives us the description of students’ feelings and behaviour. Some of them have “superiosity in their faces”, others were trying to complete the last brilliant sentence, “dissatisfied with the period allowed for them to express themselves”.

Richard Gordon describes in details the examiners too, people, who were maybe the most scaring ones for poor students. All the professors were calm and steady. For most of them the finals were just a point in their schedule, and their calmness seemed to the narrator to be the act of real cruelty.

“One doesn’t fail exams. One comes down, one muffs, one is ploughed, plucked or pipped”. In this amplification the author shows the real significance of the exams, and for somebody the failure can be a synonym of “dying”. The hopelessness of the situation is supported by the day, when the results are published. The past can’t be changed, and everything a person can do is just waiting, the most annoying thing for people, who practically won through the circles of hell. Fortunately, the narrator reached the finish line with success.

After years such event seems to be extremely funny. The author showed us the atmosphere people sometimes have to be in. Recollecting my own experience I can say that in many cases my feelings were the same. Everything, which happens to us sooner or later turns into the simple recollection. Of course it puts a trace in our mind, and not always pleasant one. Richard Gordon gives us a way to understanding of such things. It is humour, the best “cure of the injures” the life gives us. Remembering this rule a person is able to overcome many life trials, becoming stronger and wiser. In this case even the best professor can’t be compared with the teacher we all have – our past.


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02 авг. 2011 г.

One Stair Up by Campbell Nairne

The book “One stair up” was written by a Scottish novelist Campbell Nairne in 1934 and describes the life of a working-class family from Edinburgh. The great advantage of this novel is that it shows the life with great realism, fine style and good sense of humour. 

It the short fragment of this novel the scene takes place in one of the Broadway cinemas. Two young people – Andrew and Rosa – decided to watch some movie. Andrew supposed some comedy, not a big film, but very fun, in his opinion. It was some kind of sitcom, and all the fun was when somebody appeared in any foolish situation, for example, had an egg broken on his head or was all covered with custards. Andrew really enjoyed this comedy, but Rosa was very unsatisfied. In order not to hurt Andrew she just said that she had another sense of humour.

The composition of the story can be divided in 4 parts: coming to the cinema, Rosa and Andrew sitting in the circle before the comedy, the comedy itself and the final part, when Rosa says her opinion about the movie. The culminating point of this story is the moment when Andrew says in excitement, “Good, isn't it?”, but receives the answer, “I don't see anything funny in that”. In this scene we can see how different Rosa and Andrew are. 

From this fragment we don’t know anything about their origin and social status, but we can guess that Rosa was from richer family than Andrew, that’s why she had better taste and didn’t like the foolish comedy. We can also easily understand it from one sentence: “It pleased her to be seen in the dress circle, even with Andrew”. She hoped to see some of her friends to spend more pleasant time with them, but as she couldn’t see anybody, she had to stay with Andrew. There is one more evidence for it: “Is he really so stupid, she wondered. Yes, I suppose he is”. All these facts show us that Andrew and Rosa had very different social status. 

So, we can say that the main idea of this small fragment is to show how difficult it is for people from different classes to understand each other. What is fun for one is absolutely fool for another. Some habits, like talking in the cinema, are absolutely normal for one and unacceptable for another. I think that the moral of the story can be very well illustrated with two proverbs: “Tastes differ” and “A place for everything and everything in its place”. 

In order to describe the scene properly author uses different stylistic devices. On the whole he describes the movies that the heroes watched in details, so the reader can easily imagine everything that happened on the screen. For this aim the author forms his speech into short sentences that follow one after another like the scenes of the movie. But to make the story more artistic he uses, first of all, different epithets: “shadowy faces”, “looped curtain”, “hardest hearts”. 

Epithets make the speech more artistic and interesting; what is more, they help the reader to imagine everything in details. Secondly, we can see here a personification: “voice rise above another voice and sink again into voluptuous stillness”, which transforms the reality of the cinema in some kind of illusion. The hall was dim, so everything could seem absolutely unreal. Also there are similes: the carpet “yielded like springing turf”, “a hard-worked dog, for you saw it, or another like it, in dozens of these comic films” and other to recall some associations in the readers’ mind and to make the images more “visible”. What is more, similes help the reader understand the way of thinking of different characters and the author, too. For example, the comparison of soft carpet and springing turf must have belonged to Andrew, as he was a member of a working family and knew what the turf was like. As we can guess, Rosa could associate it with something else.

But the main device that the author uses is irony and parody. It is very visible at the moment, when the writer describes the announcement of the “Mothers of Broadway” movie. Here he uses different set phrases that were very common for that time: “The film seemed to have smashed all records. It drew tears from the hardest hearts. It sent thrills down the spine” and others. It is described even with some kind of sarcasm as a sample of bad taste. Also there is an oxymoron: the main part in the “mightiest drama of Broadway” has a “bewitching” actress named Minnie Haha. Also the author uses book and high lexicon for usual things, for example: “to-night he would resist that awful temptation to explain the story in a whisper”, so it’s a burlesque.

The description of the sitcom is also very interesting. It is really neutral, so we can’t see whether the author likes it or not. But then we can see very clear two absolutely opposite points of view. So, we can call it contrast that shows us how different Andrew and Rosa are. 

As for me, I liked this story, but I feel pity to Andrew. From different books we know about life in America in the 30-s (for example, Theodore Dreiser’s “American Tragedy”) and we know that young people from lower classes wanted to have better social position and dated with girls from rich families. But the chasm between them is so big and so deep that it’s really difficult for them to be equal. The one thing can have opposite estimations. So, I think that Campbell Nairne had shown everything really truly, without any embellishments.

26 июля 2011 г.

Стилистический анализ “My Watch” by Mark Twain

The story under the title "My watch" by Mark Twain tells us about one man, whose watch broke at once and how he gave it to different watchmakers and had no success. He suffered very much, as he believed his watch very much and he appeared out of time, he was usually late or too early and his life became a complete trouble. Finally he understood that the best thing was to get rid of this watch, because it "ran away once".

The main idea of this story is that we shouldn’t try to repair or return that was once lost for us, and this idea repeats in uncle William’s words, that a good horse was a good horse until it had run away once. The message of the author is to make us think about the choices and decisions we make in our life and what we prefer: to look forth or back, to choose something new or not let go something old. 

The culminating point is the murder of the last watchmaker who appeared to be just a steamboat engineer of other days. At the moment main hero’s vicious reached its culmination and he couldn’t keep calm.

The moral of the story is not to trust unknown people too much and not to entrust our precious things to others. 

Mark Twain uses different stylistic devices to describe the hero and his watch. First of all, there are a lot of similes, such as "it ticked like a tolling bell", "it kicked back like a musket", "shut together like a pair of scissors" , "seemed a delicate spider’s web over the face of the watch" and some other.

All of them show us how terribly the watch worked and that they worked in the most inappropriate way for watch, as watch should have nothing in common with a musket or a tolling bell. Secondly, there are several epithets like "beautiful new watch", "fair and square average", "plain truth". They help us imagine the whole situation, items and what happened to them.

Finally, there are many personifications and metaphors, there are few of them: "it sickened to a raging fever, and its pulse went up to a hundred and fifty in the shade", "it was a recognized messenger and forerunner of calamity", "I danced around him in anguish, and implored him to let the watch alone". 

The first two let us compare the life of the watch with human life, as this watch really was something alive for the hero. The last one also is some kind of irony.  

As for me, I liked this story, as it’s short, but very substantial. It gives us a chance to think about our actions and our values.



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