A discourse analysis of the metaphors with the word “time” in two Nicholas sparks’ novels

Abstract. This research paper looks into the main ideologies conveyed by linguistics features, mainly metaphors, in the two Nicholas Sparks’ novels The Notebook and A Walk to Remember. Corpus techniques were adopted to get an overview of the data. The qualitative method was applied with Fairclough’s (2015) three-dimensional framework to analyze the data. A software called Antconc was integrated into this study to achieve the most accurate statistics. The results showed a list of twenty most frequently used keywords, in which “time” is the noun with the highest frequency. Using Fairclough’s three-dimensional model, 40 metaphors with the word “time” based on Lakoff’s (2003) theory were analysed thoroughly. Three main ideologies embedded in those metaphors were then detected. It was found that in Nicholas Sparks’ point of view, time is a valuable commodity, time is an immense invisible power, and time is a non-renewable resource.

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47 HNUE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE DOI: 10.18173/2354-1067.2018-0049 Social Sciences, 2018, Volume 63, Issue 7, pp. 47-53 This paper is available online at A DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF THE METAPHORS WITH THE WORD “TIME” IN TWO NICHOLAS SPARKS’ NOVELS Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan Faculty of English, Hanoi National University of Education Abstract. This research paper looks into the main ideologies conveyed by linguistics features, mainly metaphors, in the two Nicholas Sparks’ novels The Notebook and A Walk to Remember. Corpus techniques were adopted to get an overview of the data. The qualitative method was applied with Fairclough’s (2015) three-dimensional framework to analyze the data. A software called Antconc was integrated into this study to achieve the most accurate statistics. The results showed a list of twenty most frequently used keywords, in which “time” is the noun with the highest frequency. Using Fairclough’s three-dimensional model, 40 metaphors with the word “time” based on Lakoff’s (2003) theory were analysed thoroughly. Three main ideologies embedded in those metaphors were then detected. It was found that in Nicholas Sparks’ point of view, time is a valuable commodity, time is an immense invisible power, and time is a non-renewable resource. Keywords: Word “time”, linguistics features, metaphors, The Notebook, A Walk to Remember. 1. Introduction Stephen King (2000) once claims books a uniquely portable magic. Moreover, with the growing in popularity of English as an international language and the high demand to take command of the language, literature has never been as invaluable as it is now, to the learning process of language learners. However, in order to apply successfully English literature in language classrooms, the necessity to fully understand the text is of great importance. Often referred as the analysis of language “beyond sentences” (Stubbs 1983:1), discourse analysis is one of the most effective tools to help one to fully comprehend a text. Hence, integrating discourse analysis into the analysis of literary work is likely to bring about profound and genuine results of what is beyond the sentences. With more than 105 million copies sold worldwide, Nicholas Sparks is undoubtedly one of the most prominent and influential authors at present. However, the number of research into Sparks’ novels under the light of discourse analysis is rather small, so it was of great interest to investigate his two most famous novels: The Notebook and A Walk to Remember with the discourse analysis approach. The goal of this thesis was to take into account how language, especially metaphors, is used in the two novels The Notebook and A Walk to Remember so as to convey ideologies. This paper is organized into 4 sections as follows: introduction, theoretical foundation, results and discussion, and conclusions and future studies. Received January 17, 2018. Accepted July 29, 2018. Contact Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, e-mail address: nganntk1201@gmail.com. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan 48 2. Content 2.1. Theoretical foundation 2.1.1. Definitions of major concepts Developed in the 1970s as a field of study, discourse analysis, also called discourse studies, is an extensive term refers to the study of the way language is used not only in terms of semantic meaning but also in its specific contexts. The main purpose of discourse analysis is to clarify the influence of factors such as social context, cultural values, and social relationships among speakers on the meaning of languages. Among many theories given by scholars, this study mainly adopts Lakoff’s (2003) theory of metaphor. He claims that “Metaphor is for most people a device of the poetic imagination () on the contrary, metaphor is pervasive in everyday life”. One of the major concepts in discourse analysis is “ideology”. Fairclough (2015) in his book “Language and Power” defines: “Ideologies are representations of aspects of the real world that are open to normative critique yet also necessary to sustaining existing social relations and relations of power and the forms (economic systems, institutions, etc.) in wdâhich they are embedded”. To someone who is influential and who receives worldwide attention, his ideologies inevitably have strong impacts on millions of people. This study pays attention to the hidden ideologies in Nicholas Sparks’ two novels with a view to understanding more thoroughly this prominent author’s ideologies and how he used language to convey his ideologies. 2.1.2. Methodological considerations This study mainly adopts Fairclough’s (1992) approach. Fairclough has always considered language as a social practice, so he believes that “whereby a text is a product of the process of text production” and discourse refers to “the whole process of social interaction of which a text is just a part” (Fairclough, 1989:24). His framework contains three dimensions, which are: (1) Description – talks about the linguistic formal properties of the text. (2) Interpretation - analyses the relationship between the discursive process of production and interpretation and the text. (3) Explanation – is concerned with the relationship between the processes (production and interpretation) and the social conditioning along with the social effects. 2.1.3. Corpus Linguistics in Discourse Analysis Francis (1982:7) considers “corpus a collection of texts assumed to be representative of a given language, dialect, or other subset of a language to be used for linguistic analysis.” This thesis took The Notebook and A Walk to Remember, two Nicholas Sparks’ novels as the corpus. This research paper utilizes corpus-based techniques to achieve the most accurate interpretation of the data. 2.1.4. Previous studies As Sparks’ novels have become a worldwide phenomenon, his books have been taken into great consideration. Putri (2012) conducted a paper entitled “An analysis of stylistics in Dear John novel by Nicholas Sparks” and she has found out the figurative language and the significance of each figurative language implied by the author in the novel Dear John. In 2013, Ermawati conducts an analysis into the personality of John, the main character in Sparks’ novel Dear John with the psychoanalytic approach. With the similar psychoanalytic approach, Putri (2017) carried out an analysis on the meaning of love reflected in Nicholas Sparks’ Dear John novel. 2015 marked the first research paper concerning the field of discourse analysis when Dhyaningrum conducted a paper with the emphasis on cohesive devices. Also in 2015, the novel The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks was taken into account in terms of the main character – Noal A discourse analysis of the metaphors with the word “Time” in two Nicholas Sparks’ novels 49 Calhoun’s devotion in his love and his life. Although Nicholas Sparks’ novels have grown in popularity for the past two decades, there has not been any research on the metaphors of “time” in his books yet. This is a gap to be filled in this study. 2.2. Data Analytical Framework This study utilizes both quantitative and qualitative methods. A computer software called Antconc was utilized to analyze the corpus of two novels in the form of texts with approximately 100,000 words. The analysis includes three steps with an overall aim to figure out Nicholas Sparks’ ideologies through the metaphors with the word “time”. 1) With the application of the software Antconc, a key word list of 20 most frequently used lexical words are compiled from which only one keyword was opted for further analysis in terms of discourse analysis. 2) Fairclough’s (2015) Dialectical-Relational framework was adopted as the main analytical tool in the discourse analysis of the metaphors with the word “time”, the noun with the highest frequency. 3) Finally, the metaphors with the word “time” in the two novels were analyzed based on Lakoff’s metaphorical theory “Time is money”. 2.3 Results and Discussion Within this study, increased emphasis was being placed on the keyword “time” for the reason that “time” is the noun with the highest frequency (345 times of appearance) and it directly refers to the main issue in the two novels. The author centers on the metaphoric aspect of the keyword “time”. According to the Oxford Living Dictionaries (Time. (n.d). In Oxford Living Dictionaries. Retrieved from www.en.oxforddictionaries.com), as a noun, “time” has six main meanings. However, the concordance analysis confirms actually the first meaning of “time” as “The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.” Table 1. Sample of the concordances of the keyword “time” in the study corpus Thanks to From the analysis of the concordances and collocates tool, the metaphors and collocations link with the word “time” are illustrated in these following tables. Table 4.2 Metaphors with the word “time” Corpus Novel 1. Time, unfortunately, doesn’t make it easy to stay on course. The Notebook Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan 50 2. It’s good that we spend some time together The Notebook 3. A person can get used to anything, if given enough time. The Notebook 4. you barely have time to catch your breath. The Notebook 5. she asked, stalling for time. The Notebook 6. She wondered how much time he spent there alone The Notebook 7. Passion would fade in time, and things like companionship and compatibility would take its place. The Notebook 8. Time passes, and gradually our breathing begins to coincide just as it did this morning. The Notebook 9. making up for lost time The Notebook 10 She had seen too many men in the past few years destroyed by war, or time, or even money. The Notebook 11 Take your time, I say. A Walk to Remember 12 I have no time for worry in this twilight of my life. A Walk to Remember 13 I am not sure if this is due to a failing memory or simply the passage of time. A Walk to Remember 14 Don’t dismiss my time with you, it’s not wasted. A Walk to Remember 15 Of this I’m sure, for as time slips by, I begin to see the signs of concern in her face. A Walk to Remember 16 and though I offer you time to relax A Walk to Remember 17 and this left him scant time for anything else. A Walk to Remember 18 so I’d have plenty of time to get there. A Walk to Remember 19 but I appreciate your taking the time to do this. A Walk to Remember 20 I was running out of time. A Walk to Remember A discourse analysis of the metaphors with the word “Time” in two Nicholas Sparks’ novels 51 2.3.1. Lakoff’s explanation of the metaphorical concept TIME IS MONEY According to Lakoff (2003:9), “Time is money”, “time is a limited resource”, and “time is a valuable commodity” are all considered metaphorical concepts. The interpretation of the metaphors with “time” in this research was based on Lakoff’s basis. 2.3.2. Analysis of the metaphors with the word “time” in Sparks’ two novels 2.3.2.1. Time is a valuable commodity Excerpt 1(from The Notebook) : Instead, his father took matters into his own hands. He kept him in school and afterward made him come to the lumberyard, where he worked, to haul and stack wood. It is good that we spend some time together, he would say as they worked side by side, just like my daddy and I did. From these excerpts, it can be found that Nicholas Sparks shares with Lakoff’s (2003) concept of ‘time is money,’ or ‘time is a valuable resource.’ Since the two novels are both written under the influences of the Western culture, it is likely that they follow the same perception of time as their society and culture. Time in its denotative meaning only takes the meaning as “The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole”. Not to mention the fact that “time” is often considered an uncountable noun. Hence, if taking this original meaning of the word “time” from the Oxford Living Dictionaries, there is no way time can be used that frequently with the verb “spend”. The phrase “spend time” can be used in everyday life without hesitation, but actually it is a metaphor taken from the concept of work which has been developed for a long time in Western countries. Under the social impact, time has become a valuable resource, a limited unit that people need to save up and use properly. The way Nicholas Sparks used “time” as a valuable commodity suggests that in these two novels, the characters consider time something really important and essential for their love. In The Notebook, Noah and Allie have been away for about 15 years. Hence, when they finally meet again, each minute, each second to them can be considered more valuable than even the most expensive commodity in life. It is the same for Landon and Jamie in A Walk to Remember, when he finds out his girlfriend is dying and she only has a few months left, time for the young couple now has become the most precious thing in their life. Hence, this use of language, particularly metaphors, conveys the Sparks’ ideology which is time is very precious to human in general and to love in particular. With this ideology, the readers are likely to understand the reason why in these two novels, characters have to struggle a lot to be with each other for just a few seconds or minutes, as “time” is even more precious for people who are in love. 2.3.2.2 Time is an invisible immense power Excerpt 2 (from The Notebook): She felt strangely satisfied that she’d come, pleased that Noah had turned into the type of man she’d thought he would, pleased that she would live forever with that knowledge. She had seen too many men in the past few years destroyed by war, or time, or even money. It took strength to hold on to inner passion, and Noah had done that. This thought occurred to Allie after she had met Noah after years apart. At the beginning of this excerpt, she was in a state of pleasure as she found out that despite such a long time they were separated in life, Noah still became a man she always expected him to be. After that, she expressed the thought that among many things in recent years which had worsen men, her love in that summer remained a man of respect and inner passion. The sentence containing the word “time” is the one that described her relatively disappointment and sadness in present men. Since the word “time” is used with the verb “destroy”, this expression is a metaphor. Moreover, “destroy” is such a strong verb that this stretch of language has shown that “time” is a really powerful entity which can have immense and destructive effects on humans. In this specific context, Allie herself has recognized how cruel and indifferent time could be. This sentence even Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan 52 puts time together with “war” and “money”, which depicts clearer the invisible power that time possess. In conclusion, despite being used in different contexts and from different characters’ point of view, the metaphors suggest that “time” is an invisible entity which has the power to change, affect, and even destroy people’s life. 2.3.2.3 Time is a non-renewable resource Of the 40 metaphors concerning the word “time” identified in the two novels, more than a quarter of them collocate with negative words or negative forms. Specifically: * You barely have time to catch your breath. * and for him there was no time for poems and wasted evenings and rocking on porches * there had been little time to spend on the water. * We didn’t have as much time as was usually allotted for rehearsals. * I was running out of time * There wasn’t time to make many arrangements. The negative forms expressed through words such as “no, barely, little, run out of, lost” and through tenses such as “wasn’t, didn’t have, don’t” suggest the fact that to human, there never seems to be enough time. People are always in short of time, always craving for more time, and always in fear of losing this valuable resource, knowing that once gone, time can never be replaced or can never be brought back. Unlike natural resources, to name but a few coal, oil or diamonds, these resources are normally considered “non-renewable” as it takes thousands or billions of years to form. However, with “time” the number of years is not a matter, for once it has passed away, it can never go back. Accordingly, “time” is the most precious resource of a person’s life. 3. Conclusions Through the employment of Fairclough’s (2015) three-dimensional discourse analysis model in combination with corpus tools, Nicholas Sparks’ ideologies of the word “time” were decoded. “Time” in Nicholas Sparks’ novels represents a valuable commodity, an invisible immense power and a non-renewable resource. Therefore, this research paper is not only beneficial to scholars who wish to take a closer look into Sparks’ ways of writings and underlying messages but also advantageous for writers who desire for success in the writing career nowadays. Furthermore, English teachers and learners can take advantage of these valuable materials in terms of Nicholas Sparks’ use of language and his vivid picture and description of the American culture and values. Last but not least, this study has also strengthened Fairclough’s three-dimensional model in discourse analysis. with literary works. This research paper still has some limitations such as using not a highly-generalized corpus and taking a small keyword list. It is proposed that further research should be conducted with a larger corpus and a larger keyword list in order to achieve a more objective and accurate result. Furthermore, as only the keyword “time” was analyzed in this study whereas there are other noticeable keywords in the list, a closer look into those left-behind keywords is highly recommended. REFERENCES [1] Fairclough, N., 1989. Language and Power, London: Longman. [2] Fairclough, N., 1992. Discourse and Social Change. London: Polity Press. [3] Fairclough, N., 2015. Language and power. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. A discourse analysis of the metaphors with the word “Time” in two Nicholas Sparks’ novels 53 [4] Fajarini, Yuli Andria., 2017. Devotion in Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook: An Individual Psychological Approach. Kajian Linguistik dan Sastra 27.1: 40-47. [5] Francis, G., 1982. Problems of assembling and computerizing large corpora. In S. Johansson, ed., Computer corpora in English language research, (7-24). Bergen: Norwegian Computer Center for the Humanities. [6] King, S., 2000. On writing: A memoir of the craft. New Yorle: Scrihner. 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