Tag: short stories

Contextual frame theory and Shirley Jackson’s ‘A Visit’ 

Contextual frame theory explains ‘how readers track reference to characters and events through the process of reading’ (Stockwell, 2002: 155). To summarise the essence of this approach, the reader constructs mental images, or ‘contextual frames’, containing characters and objects which are said to be ‘bound’ to that frame. The binding process enables the reader to…

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‘My little stories like birds bred in cages’: The Letters and Journals of Katherine Mansfield

I’ve recently written an essay on Katherine Mansfield’s short story The Man Without A Temperament, and because the details of the story bear so close a resemblance to Mansfield’s own illness and exile to warmer climes in order to escape the damp chill of an English winter, I felt I ought to look at some…

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Politeness theory and the complicit hearer-reader in Saki’s ‘The Talking-out of Tarrington’

In this essay I use the politeness theory framework as formulated by Brown and Levinson (hereafter B&L) in their 1978 study (reissued in 1987) to explore the interaction between two fictional interlocutors in Saki’s satire of the process of ‘talking-out’ a Parliamentary bill. I describe the progress and outcome of the characters’ conversation in terms…

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Like a hell-broth boil and bubble

This post is about Muriel Spark’s short story The Twins, and the first thing I have to note is that if you search for ‘creepy twins’ in Google Images, you get a whole load of stuff that you really, really don’t want to see: ‘creepy’ in every sense of the word. But I did manage,…

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