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Reading: A Qualitative Analysis of Fahrenheit 451°: Mapping the Linguistic Make-Up of Literary Texts

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A Qualitative Analysis of Fahrenheit 451°: Mapping the Linguistic Make-Up of Literary Texts

Author:

Marina Gorlach

Metropolitan State University of Denver, US
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Abstract

This paper presents a qualitative analysis of a literary text, Ray Bradbury’s (1953, 1964) Fahrenheit 451°, by considering the role of word systems in conveying its message. The word system is a matrix of words within a spoken or written text with a common denominator that may be semantic, phonological, etymological, conceptual, or associative. The analysis is based on a semiotic theoretical and methodological approach and focuses on the non-arbitrary choice of lexical/phonological/syntactic/semantic forms by the author as a means of achieving textual cohesion. Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451° is a lyrical anti-utopia portraying the massive attack of ‘consumer civilization’ standards on the traditional cultural values of society. The message is conveyed via an array of word systems: the phonological system based on the alliteration of [s] creating the impression of burning paper, the conceptual-associative field ‘dark-cold-empty’, the metaphoric-metonymic systems ‘hands and body parts’ and ‘show-carnival’, the use of internal dialogue and monologue, and such syntactic strategies as elliptical sentences, tag-questions, and more. The findings of this study obtained through a qualitative analysis show how the effect of Bradbury’s work is created by the author’s sophisticated use of multiple word systems at all levels of language structure.
How to Cite: Gorlach, M., 2020. A Qualitative Analysis of Fahrenheit 451°: Mapping the Linguistic Make-Up of Literary Texts. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 19(2), pp.94–116.
Published on 04 Sep 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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