A “fron­tier, a dangerous wilderness, a haven for outlaws”…

Welcome Class!

I hope this blog will be a useful tool for our class discussions, as well as a way to expand your knowledge of various texts and forms of language. Please check the blog regularly for any notices or updates on assignments. You can even comment or email our blog email address if you need any clarification on a topic.

In class we can discuss further how we will use the blog to augment our study of English language texts. For now, however, I thought I’d provide you with some written examples of some of the ideas we talk about in class. Having thought a lot about our “Romance novel set in the Wild West” writing assignment, I set out to find an example. I thought that the theme of the frontier might also suit our unlikely blog name, which is an even unlikelier name for stockings, if you ask me. If you’d like to indulge in some very racy and easy reading (and if you can stomach a book that might as well be subtitled “Such a Pity Slavery Had to End”), I’d recommend reading Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath, because it is a perfect example of the form/genre/purpose/tone that we discussed. Also, Texas is, as I’m sure you know, on the border with Mexico. #thematiccohesion

What do you think of these extracts? All of them, I assure you, are 100% real.

“Amelia’s eyes flew open as the deep voice enve­loped her like a warm blanket on an autumn eve­ning. Through her tears, she saw the profile of a tall man wearing a long black coat. His very pres­ence was strong enough to block out the after­noon sun. She could tell little about his appearance except that he’d obviously bought a new hat in order to impress her. He wore it low so it cast a dark shadow over his face, a shadow that shimmered through her tears. Although he wasn’t wearing her flowers on his hat, she was certain she was meeting her future husband. Brushing the tears away from her eyes, she gave him a tremulous smile. “Mr. Leigh?” “Yes, ma’am.” Slowly, he pulled his hat from his head. The shadows retreated to reveal a strong, bold profile. His black hair curled over his collar. A strip of leather creased his forehead and circled his head…” (Texas Destiny 18)

“Dear God, but she was lovely, like a spring sun­rise tempting the flowers to unfurl their petals. Her pale lashes rested on her pink-tinged cheeks. Her lips, even in sleep, curved into the barest hint of a smile. He had spotted her right off, as soon as she’d arrived at the door of the railway car. Beneath that godawful ugly hat, the sun had glinted off hair that looked as though it had been woven from moonbeams. The smile she had given the porter as he’d helped her down the steps—even at a dis­tance—had knocked the breath out of Houston..” (Texas Destiny 34)

What can you say of the vocabulary choices? How do they help to construct a sense of the characters in a way that maybe serves the form and genre? I’d relish to hear your thoughts! Comment below!

See you in class!

Ms Roberts

 

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18 Comments

  1. You can definitely tell it’s a trashy romance novel by how cliche it is. Like how we discussed in class, I can easily pick up the ‘common’ features they use to describe each other, they seem almost unoriginal.
    I enjoy some of the uses of metaphors in the descriptions though. For example, ‘the deep voice enve­loped her like a warm blanket on an autumn eve­ning.’ the metaphors seem to be a great way to describe their actions and also, in some cases, their appearance.

    I hope I’ve said a few things that you were looking for Ms Roberts.

    – Cameron Nel

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    1. Great, Cameron!
      I enjoy your appraisal of the clichés. Honing your attention to the common features in these segments of language is a very useful skill! Could you make any further comment on the particular words used in these metaphors and similes?

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      1. Talking about the metaphor I used as an example, I’d say that even shows the romance because you would sit warm under a blanket on an autumn evening as a couple. So, in my opinion the metaphor itself gives a romantic touch.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You can definitely see that it is a trashy romance, by the effect it has on me. The language is extremely cliche and I do believe that many stories do have an ending like this story. As for the tone, you can easily see that the writer is trying to portray an element of love and curiosity. I personally do not find this story is very satisfactory to my taste in stories. The language used, however, is used in a very good way.

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    1. Good, Jess!
      But perhaps you need to be a bit more specific? Remember, your examiner cannot necessarily see the effect language has on you. Your job is to explain it carefully. As a starting point, can you put a name to this effect?

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  3. I also agree with Cameron that it is definitely a trashy romance novel.It is clearly shown by the language used, the writer uses a lot of exaggeration for example “His very presence was strong enough to block out the afternoon sun.”It is also to some extent unrealistic because by the discription of the characters from the writer he perceives them as ultimately perfect, of which we all know is scientifically impossible.

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    1. Great, Rudo! Your observation about the exaggeration is very pertinent! It suits the genre very well! No one seems to want to read romance novels about ugly, scientifically plausible people, right? 😉
      Can you say anything else about the vocabulary choices? How does the exaggeration portray the woman compared to the man?

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  4. The genre is obviously a trashy romance simply because it’s cliché, which is a common feature. The words used to describe the appearance of the two characters are quite cliché too but they are interesting because when you read the passage you can almost picture the characters. The writer seems to be making a contrast between autumn and spring as he said “she was like a spring sunrise” and his voice was like “a warm blanket on an autumn evening”. The characters thoughts are in speech marks which creates a sense of orality.

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    1. Excellent, Danielle!
      Your observation about the seasons is impressive! It makes them seem like exact opposites, doesn’t it? spring/autumn and sunrise/evening.
      Would you say this creates a little bit of tension in their characterisation?

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  5. I feel as though as if its exaggerating by the fact that he says “Knocked the breath out of Houston”. Yes, i agree with Cameron when she says its cliche. People these days want to read about something realistic. It can be cliche but to a certain extent like for example saying “roses are red violets are blue…”. The last thing ive noticed is that there are some similes that have been used such as “She was lovely like a spring sunrise tempting their flowers to unfurl like a petal”

    Thank you Miss Roberts xx

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      1. I think the writer used them to try capture the readers attention by using the similes and also maybe by exaggerating.
        Thanks again

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  6. We can tell that the genre is Trashy Romance by the vocabulary the writer uses. He uses the phrase “broad shoulders” which is a cliché for all Trashy romance. The writer also portrays the woman as a damsel in distress which is obviously a tell-tale sign for a Trashy Romance. We can also tell the genre by the vocabulary he uses, he doesn’t use overly sophisticated language for his descriptions but rather familiar phrases that all readers can familiarise with

    Thank you

    Michelle Gumbo

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    1. Great, Michelle! I particularly enjoy your observation about the unsophisticated language (or perhaps a kinder way to describe it would “accessible language”) of the extract. Do you think this helps the writers’ purpose more? Makes it more gratifying, perhaps, that it’s easy to read?

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  7. The genre of this form of writing is a well known trashy romance because it is cliche and also the form is a novel. A lot of metaphors are used to describe the characters, for example the male character is described as an Autumn Night whereas the female character is described at a Spring Sunrise. The writers purpose is to entertain his audience and also make us have some type or a romance feel. The tone ( lyrical) makes us achieve the vocab used, for example the Mr Lee is described as bold and strong where as Amelia is described as lovely and flower/petals. This makes the tone also a bit cheesy because the descriptions are a bit exaggerated

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    1. Good, Nosizwe! I think your idea about the exaggeration is a very good point, especially when thinking about the tone in this case. I would argue, however, that is the vocabulary that helps to achieve the tone, rather than the other way around! Would you agree?

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  8. Very cheesy l must say! I notice there is a lot of use of hyperbole to really draw ones attention to the beauty of the madam.
    However the description of the madam compared to the man’s is very interesting. One would automatically come to the conclusion of conflict of character. The two character description completely differ

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