Language in "Whose Life Is It Anyway?" by Brian Clarke

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  • Topic: Metaphor
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Model analysis of stylistic devices in an excerpt of Brian Clarke's "Whose life is it anyway?"(p. 28, 10 – 30,18)

General remarks

the conversation is held in a very witty style. Both sides think carefully about how to react and the impacts their remarks might have. Ken wants to provoke Dr Scott with sexual allusions to make her think about his situation Dr Scott tries to remain professional. She wants to avoid to hurt him. Neither does she want to end up being hurt herself. She is a position of self-defence whereas Ken takes the leading role in the discussion. She can't help getting more and more involved in his tragic situation.

Style of language

Ken mainly uses formal, sophisticated and elaborate language to show his clear state of mind. He uses a lot of ironic and sarcastic remarks. Dr Scott uses neutral, rational, professional language. She wants to keep up the distance between a patient and a doctor. However, she is in defence and only manages to give short replies to his provocations and explanations.

Stylistic devices

Ken uses metaphorical language which refers to sexual desire. He wants to provoke and to point out to what extent his life has changed. After his accident he isn't treated like a "real" human being any more but like a pitiful existence which needs to be cared for in every respect (=in jeder Hinsicht). Good examples of powerful metaphors are the reference to his useless sexual organs ("piece of knotted string", p. 29, 15). This symbolizes his suffering from his lost manliness. The metaphor "the computer section of a complex machine" (p. 30, 7-8) describes his miserable prospects of the future. To express his clear state of mind he keeps on using precise technical terms and elaborate, maybe stilted words and expressions: "alter the validity of my decision", p. 29, 29; "lethargic and quiescent", p. 29, 32; "catheter, enema", p. 29, 33. His impetus to start a general discussion about the meaning of moral causes Dr Scott to end...
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