Literary Study on the Language

It will be known that literature is the lifeblood of a nation, in which its ancient history, culture, and tradition had been described by virtue of language. To be said better, literature is the valid past soul of human beings as a whole. As mentioned earlier, so much will also have been known about the fact that literature and language always go hand in hand. Hence, literary study means the same as linguistic study. The literary study may comprise three big parts: literary history, literary forms, and literary criticism, which are closely interrelated with one another as well. Here, literary forms that are a collected study of thought descriptions, vocabulary expressions, and grammatical usages will be emphasized through partial extracts and sample explanations. This article, too, will be good for both young readers and amateur writers, the likes of me, I hope.
Firstly, the following paragraph is extracted from Treasure Island by R. L. Stevenson as a good example of the writer’s thought description, which is also the most adventurous section of the story.
The ship began to turn as she was taken along the current. Suddenly I found that another rope was hanging over the side near me. I decided to have one look through the cabin window above me. I pulled myself up carefully by the rope, keeping a foot in a coracle. The ship was beginning to take me along as she moved, and I wondered why no watchman had given the alarm. But one glance into the cabin showed me why, and I dare not hold myself in the coracle any longer. I saw Israel Hands and a sailor with a red cup, locked together in a deadly fight, each with a hand on the other’s throat. I dropped carefully down into the coracle again. I could see nothing for a moment but those two furious faces bent in that deadly struggle under the smoky lamp.
With a sense of adventure, the writer had written nearly all the sentences that are neither short nor long in length as in `I pulled myself up carefully by the rope, keeping a foot in a coracle´ except for `I dropped carefully down into the coracle again´, I think. The writings `The ship began to turn as she was taken along the current´, and `I wondered why no watchman had given the alarm. But one glance into the cabin showed me why´ suggest that the events in a story are of causes, effects, and sequences. Next, the expressions `Suddenly´, `pulled myself up carefully by the rope, keeping a foot in a coracle´, `dare not hold myself in the coracle any longer´, and `locked together in a deadly fight, each with a hand on the other’s throat´ is expressing the thrills and spills of an adventure story. Then, the usages `hanging over the side near´, `with a red cap´, `in a deadly fight´, `two furious faces´ and `under the smoky lamp´ plays the living words in that distinctive story of a brave boy who took risks.
Secondly, the following paragraph is taken out from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte as a fine example of the writer’s choice of vocabulary expressions, where a fatherless child’s great endurance to others’ bullying behaviour will be found while he is being brought up in his non-relative second family, to be sure.
He seemed a sullen, patient child, hardened perhaps to ill-treatment. He would stand Hindley’s blows without shedding a tear, and my pinches moved him only to draw a breath and open his eyes as if he had hurt himself by accidents, and nobody was to blame. This endurance made old Earnshaw furious when he discovered his son Hindley persecuting the poor, fatherless child, as he called him. Earnshaw took to Heathcliff strangely, believing all he said (for that matter, he said very little, and generally the truth) and petting him up far above Cathy, who was too mischievous for a favourite.
The expression `a sullen, patient child, hardened perhaps to ill-treatment´ has strengthened due to such these lettering as `stand Hindley’s blows without shedding a tear´, and `my pinches moved him only to draw a breath and open his eyes as well as indicating the dead character trait of the protagonist Heathcliff. Plus, the writings `as if he had hurt himself by accidents´ and `nobody was to blame´ can manage to make readers’ hearts go out to Heathcliff. In addition, the participle clauses `made old Earnshaw furious when he discovered his son Hindley persecuting the poor, fatherless child´, `believing all he said´, and `petting him up far above Cathy´ point out the living character trait of Earnshaw, a minor character in the story.
Thirdly, the following paragraph is from The Last Leaf by O. Henry, depicting the very artist’s life of making the final sacrifice, as a nice example of the writer’s grammatical usages.
Old Mr Behrman was a painter who lived on the first floor beneath them. He was more than sixty years old. Behrman was a failure in art. He had always wanted to paint a masterpiece, but he had never yet begun to paint it. For many years he had painted nothing, except now and then something in the line of commercial or advertising work. He earned a little money by serving as a model for those young artists who could not pay the price for regular models. He drank a lot of whisky and when he was drunk always talked about the great masterpiece he was going to paint. He was a fierce, intense little man who considered himself as a watchdog and protector for the two young artists living above him, of whom he was very fond.
Since the story is a past event, the tenses of the verbs used are all in the past, that is to say, `was´, `lived´, `had always wanted to paint´, `had never yet begun to paint´, `had painted´, `earned´, `could not pay´, `drank´, `talked about´, `was going to paint´, and `considered´. What is more, in the form `had always wanted to paint´, the frequency adverb `always´ means `for a long time´, not `at all times’, for the adverb `always´ often refers to the meaning of `for ages´ if it goes with the perfect tenses. Also, care should be taken that in the form `had never yet begun to paint´, the adverb `yet´ can follow the negative word `never´ and the original sentence can be even rewritten as `he had never begun to paint it yet´ if we wish. The form `could not pay´ shows young artists’ past general ability, but this form must not be written as `were not able to pay´ for the reason that the pattern `was/were able to´ is normally used for something in a specific situation. Besides, the form `was going to paint´ says the decisive arrangement of Behrman painting his masterpiece.
Let me draw a conclusion for this article. Many readers and writers tend to think it boring or difficult to conduct a literary study, especially owing to outdated thoughts or archaisms, to my mind. Even some experienced authors, to my certain knowledge, like to advise little writers that just reading a daily newspaper is adequate to meet the basic needs of writing for a newcomer to the world of literature. That would be right to some extent for a person who has decided to earn a living as a journalist or so, as I see it. Even so, it is noticeable that every successful writer has got a mastery of both classic literature and modern literature, and they will be able to create a new way of literature or their own writing styles on condition that they have known classical ways of literature in their use in depth. When I said so, I do not mean that young writers must not read daily newspapers at all. Actually, the literary study will certainly become pleasant and enjoyable after readers have seen that universal theories from literature are still true until now, to say nothing of the writer’s thoughts, or after they have studied enough literature, or after they have understood the literal meanings and connotations of archaisms. Above all, not only readers but also writers can perceive how on earth a writer’s thought descriptions, vocabulary choices, and grammatical usages help his literature reach its respective subject matter and main theme. Only this perception is the essence of literary study, really.

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