Language through Poetry: A Stylistic Analysis of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “To —“ A Stylistic Paper Presented to The Faculty of the Department of English Institute of Arts and Sciences Far Eastern University Manila In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirement for the Course Eng C 31—Introduction to Stylistics Osabel, Julla C. Panis, Kimberly Nicole S. October, 2012 I. Reaction and it’s effects on you II. Summary of the Text Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “To —“ is one of his lyrical poetry—is a poem used to express feelings—ideally of the Romantic Era.
In his poem, the poem is about an unrequited love—a term that is used when one person has strong feelings towards another that is not reciprocated. Or in other words, someone is in love with someone else who is not interested. It is also about realistic and complicated love, which means that the persona of the poem wants to express his emotions towards the addressee but he feared to show because in reality, he knew that it is impossible for them to be together, thus, this depicts the persona’s complicated feelings or emotions and the reality of their relationship to each other.
The poem illustrates farewell and goodluck to the addressee. To summarize the poem, it is about a man who is in love with someone else or he secretly in love with, who is not interested. He wants to express his feelings to the addressee but he feared to express it, due to his complicated emotions, he chose not to say his emotions because in reality, the addressee will not love him back. Instead of obvious insisting his feelings towards the addressee, the man shows farewell and goodluck to the person he loved most. III. Stylistic Analysis
Basic Sound Patterns Sound devices are resources used by poets to express and emphasize the meaning or experience of poetry through the skilful use of sound. After all, poets are trying to use a focused blend of sound and imagery to form an emotional response. The words and their order should evoke images, and the words themselves have sounds, which can reinforce or otherwise clarify those images. Sound patterns have different elements that show the nature of poetry, and these are the following: 1. Alliteration C-V-C
Alliteration is the repetition of the same letter or sounds at the beginning of two or more words immediately succeeding each other, or at short intervals. e. g Dewdrops dancing on the drifting dust made for a dreary day. 2. Assonance C-V-C Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in nearby words. It is used to reinforce the meanings of words or to set the mood. e. g Try to light the fire. 3. Consonance C-V-C Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds by not vowel sounds. e. g Some mammals are clammy. 4. Reverse Rhyme C-V-C
Reverse Rhyme it is the repetition of consonant and vowel sounds which happen at the beginning. e. g brainless, bracelet, brakeless 5. Pararhyme C-V-C Pararhyme is the repetition of of first and the last consonant sounds. e. g bat and brat 6. Rhyme C-V-C Rhyme is the repetition of similar sounds. In poetry, the most common kind of rhyme is the end rhyme, which occurs at the end of two or more lines. It is usually identified with lower case letters, and a new letter is used to identify each new end sound. e. g I saw a fairy in the wood, He was dressed all in green. He drew his sword while I just stood,
And realized I’d been seen. 7. Repetition is anything that is repeated. e. g “goodnight goodnight, parting time is such a sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow” — Romeo and Juliet, W. Shakespeare These sounds or elements of sounds are used by the poets to convey the meaning of the text. In this procedure, the poet or author strengthen the vividness of the imagery of the poem to discern its effects or significance of the text. Sound Symbolism Sound symbolism is the study of the direct relationship between the sound of an utterance and its meaning (Hinton, 1999).
Sound symbolism is persistent among the world’s languages. Furthermore, sound symbolism plays a significant role in language, especially at the affective level. Essential to the study of cognitive poetics is the concept of sound symbolism, which has been defined differently by different authors but here refers to cases in which ‘a sound unit such as a phoneme, syllable, feature, or tone is said to go beyond its linguistic function as a contrastive, non-meaning-bearing unit, to directly express some kind of meaning’ (Nuckolls,1999).
Jespersen (1922) made the claims that sounds that are suggestive of meaning (which he claims happens through association, not because a sound intrinsically has a specific meaning) ‘makes words more fit to survive and give them considerable help in their struggle for existence’. Mithun (1982) notes that, in many languages, ‘words for noises, animal cries, mental states, physical states, and actions, termed by Fudge ‘expressive vocabulary,’ seem particularly resistant to regular phonetic change’.
She goes on to give the specific example of Iroquoian languages, where expressive terms are ‘characterized by special syntactic, morphological, and phonological patterns’. Expressive vocabulary and taboo words contain sounds that do not occur elsewhere. She also claims that expressive vocabulary in Iroquoian languages is imitative and therefore resistant to phonological change. While she does not make specific claims about certain sounds being related to certain meanings, her data suggest that phonemes do have a relationship to meaning in Iroquoian ideophones, but that relationship may be imitative rather than iconic or symbolic.
The significance of sound, sound patterns and sound symbolism is that in terms of writing texts, particularly poetry, it helps the poets or writers convey the message of the text in implicit manner. This may add to the aesthetic effects of writing poetry while on the readers, the advantage is that, it helps them to understand, appreciate and feel the emotions of the text that the poet is trying to convey. Every sounds of the text has its meaning, whether it describe or gives emphasis to the text. B. Stylistic Tool/ Discussion of coding In this short phonological analysis it begins with the analysis of the sound pattern of the poem.
In each sound pattern, it has shaded area where it shows the comprehensibility of the analysis after that, the researchers tabulated it to find the frequency and percentage form the least number of sound pattern used up to the most number of sound pattern used. Alliteration, Assonance, Consonance, Rhyme and Repetition To —- BY PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY One word is too often profaned For me to profane it, One feeling too falsely disdained For thee to disdain it; One hope is too like despair For prudence to smother, And pity from thee more dear Than that from another. I can give not what men call love,
But wilt thou accept not The worship the heart lifts above And the Heavens reject not,— The desire of the moth for the star, Of the night for the morrow, The devotion to something afar From the sphere of our sorrow? As can be seen in the text, the most number of shaded sound patterns belongs to Rhyme. As rhyme pattering is concerned, two types of rhyme to be distinguished. First, in the first stanza of the text, the shaded rhyming words are rhyme has several syllables and the stressed rhyming syllable, which means that this type of rhyme is Feminine (Latham, 2010).
While on the second stanza, same as in first stanza of the text, the shaded rhyming words are in feminine type expect from the first line of the 2nd stanza. (“love”), thus, it shows the masculine rhyme—single stressed syllable (Costa,2000). The least number of sound pattern used in the text is the Consonance. The sound /t/ occur once in the first and second line of the 2nd stanza. In this two lines practically all the consonants are plosives. To them is generally associated a sound of harshness and hardness (Costa,2000). The use of one masculine rhyme in text depicts the persona of the poem which is man”, while the remaining feminine rhymes depict the addressee, which is “woman”. The connection of those two types of rhymes that were distinguished in the text is that, the “man”, who is in love with the addressee (woman), but the addressee know nothing about the man’s feeling towards her. The use of one consonance in the text, illustrates the volume of hardness of the feelings to the persona to express is least. Therefore, it shows the persona’s attitude which is fearful of expressing his thoughts to the addressee and due to this, it is explained suitable for the theme of the poem—unrequited love.
Figure 1. Sound Pattern Percentage Sound Pattern| Frequency| Percentage (%)| Consonance| 1| 5| Assonance| 3| 16| Alliteration| 4| 21| Repetition| 4| 21| Rhyme| 7| 37| TOTAL| 19| 100| As revealed by the number of percentage of the sound pattern used in the poem, Rhyme has the most number of percentages. This shows that rhymed stanzas are used in lyrical poetry. Traditionally, in romantic era, lyrical poetry use rhymed stanzas to convey or express strong feelings thus, the significant use of the it is that, it reveals the fusion of sound and sense in the poem.