'Good heavens. I took That to be a fisherman. But isn't it a woman?'
'By jove. look at this.' 'Bv heavens. I'm not sitting with a socialist. am I?1
'Heaven forbid. I have heard terrible account of them/
'Sam! I am an absolute one hundred per cent Heaven forgive me damned fool!
The social practice of replacing The Taboo words with words or phrases that seem less straightforward, milder, more harmless (or at least less offensive) exists in any language, whereas genuine euphemisms are often an effective stylistic means.
Euphemism (Greek - "speaking well") is a stylistic device that consists in the substitution of an unpleasant word or expression by a conventionally more acceptable one.
Read one more passage from the novel and do the tasks to follow.
Charles put his best foot forward, and thoughts of the mysterious woman behind him. through the woods of Ware Commons. He walked for a mile or more, until he came simultaneously to a break in the trees and the first outpost of civilization. This was a long thatched cottage, which stood slightly below his path. There were two or three meadows round it. miming down to the cliffs; and just as Charles came out of the woodlands he saw a man hoying a herd of cows away from a low byre beside the cottage. There slipped into his mind an image: a deliciously cool bowl of milk. He had eaten nothing since the double dose of muffins. Tea and tenderness at Mrs. Tranter's called: but the bowl of milk shrieked ... and was much closer at hand. He went down a steep grass slope and knocked on the back door of the cottage.
It was opened by a small barrel of a woman, her fat aims shiny with suds. Yes. be was welcome to as much milk as he could drink. The name of the place? The Dairv. it seemed, was all it was called. /.../ Charles remembered then to have heard of the place. Its cream and butter had a local reputation; Aunt Tranter had spoken of it. He mentioned her name, and the woman who ladled the rich milk from a chum bv the door into just what he had imagined, simple blue-and-white china bowl, glanced at him with a smile. He was less strange and more welcome.
As he was talking, or being talked to. by the woman on the outside the Dairy, her husband came back driving out his cows. He was a bald, vast-bearded man with a distinctly saturnine cast to his face; a Jeremiah. He gave his wife a stem look. She promptly forwent her chatter and returned indoors to her copper. The husband was evidently a taciturn man. though spoke quietly enough when Charles asked him how much he owed for the bowl of excellent milk. A penny, one of those charming heads of the young Victoria that still occasionally turn up in one's change, with all but that graceful head worn away by the century's use. passed hands.
Analyse the fragment in terms to follow. Expressive means:
• Comment on the usage of words. What layers of language do they belong to? Why?
Comment on the choice of words. Are they mostly bookish or neutral? Up-to-date or obsolete? What effect does John Fowles pursue and why? Analyse the personages speech. What conclusions can you come to in regard to their social status and educational level?
• Comment on the grammar and syntax of this piece of prose. Find grammatical expressive means and say how they contribute to the intended effects.
Are the grammar constructions employed more typical for the nineteenth or twentieth century?
Are the rules of reported speech usage always obsen'ed or not? What is achieved? Stylistic Devices (periphrasis among them):
• Find stylistic devices belonging to the metaphoric group and comment on the effect produced.
- allusion (the sources referred to)
Find example(s) of metonymy. What type of transfer is (are) it (they) based upon?
Find example(s) of periphrasis. Identify its kind.
Summing Up (Base your opinion on all the excerpts quoted if necessary):
• Make character sketches of the people portrayed.
Charles: Does he conform to the tastes of the time? If not what seems to repel him in it? Is he in any way different from his contemporaries? The dairyman: are his values and manners with or against the conventional stream of the period? Take his social status into account. Dwell upon the social role of woman in Victorian society.