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The Picture of Dorian Gray „The Picture of Dorian Gray“ is Wildes only novel. It was published in 1890 in Lippincotts Monthly Magazine. It was criticized as scandalous and immoral. One year later, Wilde revised the novel and added a preface and six new chapters. Characters: Dorian Gray is an impossibly beautiful, cultured and wealthy young man. Under the influence of Lord Henry Wotton he becomes extremely concerned with his own beauty. In the development of the story Dorian becomes more and more egoistic and he wants to have as many experiences…
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Vilnius University

The usage of similes in Oscar Wilde “The picture of Dorian Gray”

Term paper


Contents

1. Introduction;

2. Theory part;

2.1. What is a simile?

2.1.1. Nature and function of similes;

2.1.2. Similes classifying;

2.1.3. Recognition and interpretation of similes;

2.1.4. Ways to use similes;

3. Practical part;

3.1. The analyse of random similes from roman “The picture of Dorian Gray”;

3.2. Similes without additional information;

3.3. Similes related to flowers;

3.4. The usage of word “monstrous” in similes of “The picture of Dorian Grey”

4. Conclusions;

5. Examples;

6. References;

7. Sources.


1. Introduction

Things are best of all learned by simile. (V.G.Belinsky). Similes are very usefull in a lot of areas. Some people tries to learn things by using similes, other writes literary works and uses similes to make text more colourful and more exciting. In this reaserch paper I will talk about usage of similies in one of the most popular nineteenth century Anglo-Irish playwright roman “The picture of Dorian Gray“.

This roman first time was published in 1890 and it was the only roman published by Oscar Wilde. Wilde was a proponent of the Aesthetic movement, which emphasized aesthetic values more than moral or social themes.

Roman “The picture of Dorian Gray“ is about man named Dorian, which was extremely beautiful and in his youth one painter, Basil Hallward, painted his picture. In that picture reflected Dorian Gray's soul. And he always wanted to be young and beautiful so he never grew old but the painting with time was getting more and more dreadful.

The main character- Dorian Gray had a friend, Lord Henry, which conveyed to Gray his world view, and Dorian became corrupted as he attempted to emulate him, though Basil, who painted the picture, pointed out to Harry that “You never say a moral thing, and you never do a wrong thing.“ So, Lord Henry was the biggest speaker in roman , and this character said the mainly sentences and aphorisms, as well as his speech was most intricate and picturesque.

To do speech intricate and picturesque, writter O.Wilde used a lot of similes. So, similes I mostly found in Lord Henry's speech.

The objectives of this research is to discuss the methods of O.Wilde, which he was using to construct similes in “The picture of Dorian Grey", to provide examples of different constructions of similes, to show the importance of similes in fiction literature and to group similes of “The picture of Dorian Grey“by the connective words.  Also to show the importance of word “monstrous” in the similes of the roman and to prove that Oscar Wilde was inclinable to use flowers and their types in some if similes.

The aim of this paper is to analyse simply similes, similes related to flowers, similes in witch is used word ”monstrous” and other random complex similes. Also to group different similes into spheres by different types and connective words.

In this paper firstly I will figure out what is simile and why it is used to. I will present the different minds of simile and its functions of different writers and researchers. Similes also will be classified by their functions, and ways why one or other simile is used to. And there will be presented different ways of classifying similes which were invented by popular linguists and the researches of language.

This paper will be divided into two main parts. In first- theory part will be main important information about similes, based on remarkable researchers and linguists thoughts. In second part- practical- I will analyse similes from the Oscar Wilde’s roman. Therefore, this practical part also will be divided into four smaller units.

In these units there will be analysed different types of similes. Firstly- random chosen complex similes, secondly- simple one-word similes without any other information, thirdly- similes in witch are mentioned flower or type of it, and the last, a little strange type of similes- similes in witch are mentioned ad.....[read full text]

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Gotti(2003:296) theorises „In argumentation, similes (and analogies) are used in two ways: first- as exegetic tools in order to clarify and explain points, second- as devices in order to develop and construct new theoretical concepts.“ In popularisation, similes serve to establish a direct link with the reader’s general knowledge, which makes the topic easier to identify.

In textbooks, they are used as pedagogic aids to teach abstract or unfamiliar concepts by employing concepts known by students. In journalistic texts, similes can be used as an ornament, but in most cases they serve a function: illustrating behaviours or individual experiences and describing entities in an appealing way to add interest.

In advertising texts, we can find a hyperbolic statement, which denies a likeness between the promoted product and others. In literary texts- be it fiction, poetry or drama- similes fulfil an aesthetic function, and are usually creative, a way of talking about something in a surprising way.

So, similes have a big importance in a various texts and especially in literary texts- the similes do text more colourful, figurative and interesting. The biggest and most popular literary works authors in their texts were using similes, metaphors and other tropes, because the main function of fiction literature is aesthetic- to raise the readers admiring. Writers use similes to explain things, to express emotion, and to make their writing more vivid and entertaining.

Discovering fresh similes to use in your own writing also means discovering new ways to look at your subjects.


2.1.2. Similes classifying

Fromilhague(1995: 77-78) points out „A basic distinction is that between objective, originating from concrete physical experience, and subjective similes, stemming from individual association mechanisms, namely, ‘actually seeing as’ vs. ‘thinking as’“. Ortony (1993) remarks similes classification is that grounded in the semantic distinction between literal and non-literal comparisons.

Taking into consideration Bredin’s (1998: 77) remark about the mortality of similes, we can state that similes show various degrees of life and death, and fall along a scale going from the most stereotyped to the most creative. At one extreme, we situate conventionalised similes, the type of fixed expressions stored as units in the lexis.

At the other extreme, we situate creative similes, where a totally unexpected and surprising vehicle is associated with the topic. Between the two extremes, we can situate standard (ordinary) and original (fresh, but not totally unexpected) similes. Another distinction, suggested by Fromilhague (1995:83-84), is that between similes that mention the similarity feature, and the ones that do not.

Thus, we can distinguish between ‘explicit’ similes, that can also carry an explanation, and ‘implicit’ similes, that leave the onus of interpretation to the reader.


2.1.3. Recognition and interpretation of similes

Similes are easily recognisable by the presence of one of a variety of comparison markers. In English, the available markers include the following:

a) Verbs: seem, look like, act like, sound like, resemble, remind;

b) Adjectives: .....

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3. Similes helps to describe senses- hearing, taste, smell, touch.

Similes help not only to express feelings or to describe visible things, but also help to characterize the smells, sounds and other thing that we and other living beings can taste or touch. For example- it would be hard to describe the new taste if you couldn‘t use the simile. Also many writers for describing touch and other senses use similes- i.e. her skin is gentle as a silk.

4. Similes are used to describe various mindset and behaviour.

To define actions, thoughts and mannerisms of people, animals and other objects is easier by using similes. When someone talking about somebody’s behaviour and uses similes, for listener is easier to understand what interlocutor wants to say i.e. Tom likes to eat fast like a pig - we all know that pigs eats very dirty and discourteous, so we understand that Tom also likes to eat dirty.

5. Similes are used not only to describe or express something, but also for fun.

Writers and poets often use similes to exhilarate, invigorate their texts. And ordinary person use it also in a daily talking even not feel that they use similes to say a joke for a friend or etc.

So, a simile is useful in a lot of various ways, and helps to express various emotions, feelings, sounds, looking, touches and etc. There are no such sphere were we cannot use similes if we want to describe something. And even we do not want to describe anything, we however, can use similes to say a joke or to exhilarate our speech or text.

Fadaee (2011:22) underlines, that “Simile is an overt one which explicitly and precisely explains the object and it is the first and simplest method for conveying the beauty of message which is used in poetry, prose and also usual conversations. Even children talking about their desires, use simile as .....

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3.    The room looked as if it had not been lived in for years.

This sentence have a simile with constructive word as and assistant for it- if. There are comparable between room looking and feature, that there had not been lived in for years. There is no such concrete thing or object to compare with. There reader can understand that if in room is not lived long time, so it looks shabby and abandoned.

In this sentence writer leave the possibility to reader to himself understand whole context. Simile in this sentence performs half-word function.

4.    She plays Juliet like a wooden doll.

“Like a wooden doll”- means that she plays Juliet not good. In this sentence simile is used to describe how girl performs action- concrete- plays Juliet. When the reader read this sentence he can imagine how wooden doll would look, so he can guess that the girl which plays Juliet is doing it not very good.

For example, we can trie to imagine that instead of wooden doll there is written “perfect actress”- She plays Juliet like a perfect actress- this sentence is completely different and have an absolutely different meaning. So, simile meaning depends on the implication of object or things, actions with which it is comparing.

In this sentence connective word- like.

5.    “I dare say, my dear,” said Lord Henry, shutting the door behind her as, looking like a bird of paradise that had been out all night in the rain, she flitted out of the room, leaving a faint odour of frangipani.

This sentence is slightly complex. There is also word as, but the connective word of simile is like. Word as is used in other function- to indicate a course of actions. In this sentence simile is used to describe person physical appearance. It is said, that “woman looked like a bird of paradise that had been out all night in the rain”.

The object with who women is comparable- bird of paradise. Bird is outlined with complement sentence- “that had been out all night in the rain” .This complement sentence says the main idea, how women looks. Reader understands, that bird, which spend all night in rain should look stiff, wet and washed-out. So, from that knowledge general point, how that woman .....

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It is just for beauty, it don’t say any important information to the reader about the story or its characters. As you can see, the connective word of simile- as, have the assistant- though.

10. There was a rustle of chirruping sparrows in the green lacquer leaves of the ivy, and the blue cloud-shadows chased themselves across the grass like swallows.

Simile “like swallows” is used to figuratively describe the environment, nature. All sentence is particularly picturesquely- there are colours and other details mentioned. And on the end of sentence writer adds, that the shadows of clouds are like swallows.

We already know from other contexts, that swallows are pursuing each other low, near the ground, so we understand that shadows of clouds are big and look near the ground. The cloud-shadows are linked with the swallows with connecting word like.

11. We women, as some one says, love with our ears, just as you men love with your eyes, if you ever love at all.

This sentence is an aphorism of Oscar Wilde. There he contrasts the love of woman and man and that is how he does a parallel. We all are heard some phrases, that women love with ears and man with stomach or with eyes. But Oscar Wild these phrases considers in his own way.

Also, he adds irony to the simile by writing about object with which he compares women love. He adds that men love with eyes, if they ever love at all. Accordingly, simile can be used to construct the parallel and also it can help to express irony.

12. It was a tawdry affair, all Cupids and cornucopias, like a third-rate wedding-cake.

In this sentence affair is compared to the wedding-cake. Information, that wedding-cake is third-rate is most important in the simile. Because if we do not know, that wedding cake is third-rate, we could think that the affair is very significant, giant, like a wedding cake, but the general aim of this simile is to underline that affair is old and not good anymore.

13. There were times when it appeared to Dorian Gray that the whole of history was merely the record of his own life, not as he had lived it in act and circumstance, but as his imagination had created it for him, as it had been in his b.....

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In the table no. 1 you can see different simply similes, which are grouper in two groups according to their connective words. I collected the simplest similes, which have no additional information and grouped them. As you can see, from total number- 202 similes, not complex similes, without supplementary information are only about twenty nine.

Thus in the roman “The picture of Dorian Grey” similes are mostly complex and also very picturesque, because additional information mainly prefers the picturesquely function.

There are a lot of different similes in the table. Some of them are used to describe personal feelings, such as no.1, 6, 7, 8, 11, 16, 17 in section of similes with connective word “as” and no. 3, 6 in section of similes with word “like”. Some prefers function of describing nature or environment- no. 5, 14 in first section and no.8, 10, 11, 12 in second section.

Also there are some similes which describes people physical or visible appearance and behaviour and also defines how one or other action is preferring - Lips that were like the petals of a rose; They moved,as he spoke, like music; I will find out who he is and kill him like a dog; Nowadays all the married men live like bachelors; They were both as grotesque as the scenery; She makes them as responsive as a violin.

What I reveal, is that in all Oscar Wilde roman there are more similes with word “as”, and similes which are simple, without additional complicated information with connective word “as” mostly constructs the description of personal feelings, and there are just few simply similes with word “as” witch describe another things.

Accordingly, similes with connective word “like”, in spite they are complex or not, they do prefer a lot of different functions in “The picture of Dorian Grey”.


Table No.1.


Simple similes with connective word “as”

Simple similes with connective word “like”

1.

I remember the whole thing as if it happened yesterday.

They moved,as he spoke, like music.

2.

The fellow spitted his man as if he had been a pigeon.

The sense of his own beauty came on him like a revelation.

3.

He has preached me as a dogma.

Romeo was a stout elderly gentleman, with a fire like a beer barrel.

4.

Enough is as bad as a meal.

Lips that were like the petals of a rose.


5.

The woodwork creaked and seemed to cry out as if in pain.

Then it became a little louder, and sounded like a flute or a distant hautboy.

6.

Motionless, and as one in a dream, gazing at her.

We stood looking at each other like children.

7.

He started back as if in surprise.

I will find out who he is and kill him like a dog.


8.

He rushed out as if in pursuit.

The roofs of the houses glistened like silver.


9.

They affect us just as vulgarity affects us.

Nowadays all the married men live like bachelors.


10.

As a rule, people who act lead the most commonplace live

She cleft the dusky air like an arrow.


11.

He had so often hidden himself as a boy.

Art, like Nature, has her monsters.


12.

She makes them as responsive as a violin.

The yotl-bells of the Aztecs that are hung in clusters like grapes.


13.

They were both as grotesque as the scenery.


14.

Francis was as pale as death.


15.

More than enough is as good as a feast.


16.

I cannot feel this tragedy as much as I want to.


17.

I will never speak to you again as long as I live.


3.3. Similes related to flowers in Oscar Wilde “The picture of Dorian Grey”

I found 20 similes from 202, which was related to flowers. They all are very different, mostly, writer mentions such flowers as roses, but there are other flovers too- tulips, narcissus, dahlias, jasmines,lilies. In some similes flowers are unnamed- it is simply mentioned as word “flower”. There are some e.....

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