Language and abuse of language

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  • Language and abuse of language
    • PUGH 1.   Nothing happened here
      • Uses contrasting lexis throughout the poem
        • Contradictory language such as "there were" in conjunction to "never": accurancy of content is neglected and therefore meaningless
          • "never" = definitive statement (therefore by demonstratig its meaningless is a comment on the vast deterioration of language by Duffy)
      • Typographically, “Nobody died,” and “except soldiers” are displayed on separate lines of the poem, demonstrating the ease at which the truth is separated from the fabricated lies of the government.
        • differing interpretation of this is an example of the way that the media is able to control what we prioritise, regarding the structure in which the events are organised in the poem.
          • highlight the way in which language is manipulated by authority.
        • highlight the way in which language is manipulated by authority.
      • Despite the persona rejecting that anything “happened here”, within the first stanza of the poem, there follows a factually questionable account regarding the violence of the events.
        • contradiction that happens so seamlessly demonstrates the shameless lies that are told by the powerful figures of society.
    • PUGH 2. Ballade of sexy rexy
      • transition between masculine and feminine language is explored.
        • A potential feminist interpretation: transition of language from femininity to masculinity led to its devaluation.
          • “Rex” has the Latin origin of “King”, a symbol of male dominance, a great distance from the connotations of “Evangeline”, which signify a feminine heavenly omnibenevolence.
            • gender roles illuminates  significance of modern “woman” in Duffy's poem, who does not behave simultaneously with nature in the way that concept of femininity once did
              • woman may potentially represent “mother nature” within “River”, her nonsensical lexis may represent lack of understanding of nature  (prominent through the way man persists to limit it)
                • Pugh accepts that feminine, romantic language can capture the beauty of nature
                  • Duffy rejects this concept the concept that language can embody nature entirely.
      • “Sexy Rexy” itself connotes cheapness in its simplistic rhyming nature and reinforces juxtaposition that accompanies the evolution of language.
    • DUFFY        1. Weasel words
      • First person (weasel) persona
        • Weasel plays the role of an MP in the house of commons and defends the bad rep weasels have been given
          • Explores how language can evolve to a point where it becomes rendered and meaningless
          • Interjections from other weasels, mimiking the sounds of the house of parliament.
      • CONTEXT "Weasel words" (title) connotes to the idea that "weasel words are empty of meaning" as was said to sir robert armstrong
        • Weasel = anthropomorphism - reflects the unimportance of persona's use of language due to negative connotations.
          • Literal carvnivourous implications
            • little truth can be drawn from speech... thus demonstrates the meaningless and unreliable nature of it.
              • Also verb to describes someone's attempt to achieve something through deciet
          • Also verb to describes someone's attempt to achieve something through deciet
      • While depicted as devouring the egg in the final stanza, the persona describes it as a “whole egg”, despite the contents clearly being removed
        • CONCEIT "empty shell" of words that contain no true content
        • Converesly: could be interpreted as being a predatory attack on the vunerable.. represented by the foetal contense of the egg - of which gov often critisised
      • Onomatopoeia "slurp" this solidifies auditory sense when performed highlighting dishonesty of parliament
        • Reinforces readers distrust between reader and persona: reflecting governmens broken promises
      • By Comparison of opposition party to "ferrets" Duffy demonstrates how meaning of lang is blurred - as they are both intended to replicate equal dishonesty
        • Lack of clarity defines how language loses its clarity in the same manner
      • Duffy demonstrates that there is no truth within politics, reinforced by the sonnet form of the poem.
        • Traditionally romantic, a sonnet used in this context depicts how politicians parody the forms of language in order to romanticise corruption and appear favourable.
          • RHETORIC Persuasive techniques are used throughout to behave as a demonstrative construct of how exploitation is achieved using language.
            • The plural voice of the persona represents the House of Commons, allowing an artificial sense of unity to be created between the persona and reader through the use of pronouns "we".
              • The depiction of the "brown fur coats" turning "white in winter" demonstrates the cyclical nature of language, how it will evolve and transition.
                • This reinforces how members of authority have the potential to use language for their own manipulative gain.
    • DUFFY 2. River
      • 3rd person narrative, adressed to someone. Narrative voice likely to be Duffy herself
        • Appears to be about a literal river - but it is metophorical
          • Intention: demonstrate how we use language to understand the world.
            • Poem uses words as a means of showing the way they reflect, and are rooted in other countries and cultures
      • CHARACTERISATION: "a woman on the path, by the river" and "she kneels..book" shows behaviour is universal - notion we all share same basic characteristics
        • "Repeating a strange sound" reflects on our attempts to try and understand the world using  language
        • SETTING: (natural) contrasts to the man made languages that seperate countries
      • REPETITION "sings loudly in nonsense, smiling, smiling"
        • JUXTAPOSITION: "intensely, simply"
          • ENJAMB: "simply because// of words"
          • Rhetorical Q: "what...vanish?"
            • demonstrates the persona’s dismay at how the unity of nature is flawed by the persistence to confine its beauty to language.
      • ONOMATOPOEIA "babble"
        • PERSONIFICATION "water crosses the border, translates itself" LITERAL
          • METAPHORICAL "but words stumble"
        • infantile connotations and therefore creates a sense of futility that accompanies labelling something as incomprehensible as nature, as it is rendered childish
          • Duffy criticises humanity’s degenerative desires for possession using language and labelling, as nature doesn't belong to man.
            • could demonstrate limitations of language in contrast to fluidity of  river, evolving at a different pace to dialect,  behaving as extended metaphor for  deterioration of communication across borders, in contrast to the unity of nature.
      • Language acts as a barrier in understanding others
        • Duffy focuses on the simple sensory experiences and how we can all experience these without language
          • Communication and understanding is about more than just words
    • Comparison: lack of clarity demonstrates the way that language loses its clarity. linked in regards to displaying how the meaning of language is lost as it transitions between contexts.
    • Connection:  Duffy presents language as something unable to embody nature, Pugh suggests a feminine language can capture natures beauty

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