In this class, we want to focus on four points (examples from Hodge and Kress in italics):
1. How word choice can translate the point of view of the narrative voice (is the event called a demonstration, a riot, a street battle or a confrontation?);
2. How the use of the passive or active voice can hide or reveal agency (Does the speaker say: Has the garbage been emptied? or Have you emptied the garbage?);
3. How point of view can be explicit (the transactive model where agent, process and person affected are clear) or implicit (the non-transactive model where ‘something happens,? but who is doing what to whom is not specified directly in the text). (TIP: when the point of view in a text is implicit, it can be more difficult for us to pinpoint.); and
4. How the transactive and the non-transactive models (and their implications for narrative point of view) can be identified through sentence structure (passive formulations) and use of noun formulations for verbal actions (both of which don’t require the author to name the agent).
1. Read Hodge and Kress (or the above summary) and then take a look at the letter that Jack McClelland wrote to Leonard Cohen, dated May 9, 1966 (I will scan and send this).
2. It is clear that Cohen has written to his publisher to ask for better treatment, i.e. more promotion for one of his books. McClelland categorizes this action as an ‘unreasonable complaint’ Identify how McClelland positions Cohen’s demands, and his own response. Pick out the vocabulary and point of view structures he uses to validate the publishing company’s position and to undermine Cohen’s point of view.
3. write a summary of your analysis of McClelland’s point of view.
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