Coordination and Temporal Progression in Wilde's The Star Child.
Oscar Wilde's literary fairy tales conform to specific discourse of the narrative type in both the structural and the rhetoric sphere. The fairy tale realm has its own particular manner of handling time dimension. It is simple and linear with no complications in terms of flashbacks and is strictly chronological. Wilde has adhered to the fairy tale time specification with an adroit employment of coordinating conjunction and in its chronological use. This paper evaluates the temporal progression of the storyline in his fairy tale The Star Child by analysing the chronological use of coordinating conjunction in the text of the tale.
Keywords: Wilde Fairy Tale Coordination Chronology Temporal Movement
Narrative has always had a strong psychological fascination for humankind. The desire to encapsulate experiences emotions and perceptions crystallized in the form of tales among others. The conceptual formation of burgeoning human understanding used tales as an instrument of dissemination of the wisdom to the masses by word of mouth. According to Landa (1990:1) Narrativization is one of the commonest ways of imposing an order and a perspective on experience." Tales took various forms and shapes: myths legends fables and fairy tales. Fairy tales were originally an oral narration but slowly crystallized into a written form known as the literary fairy tale.
Fairy tales have their own particular poetic laws that differentiate them from other forms of narrative. Its plot construction is unique to its type and is central to the narrative; it is always simple and straightforward. There is no complexity of overlapping events with negligible twists and turns in the events. Each event is the natural consequence of what has gone before and is the link in the chain to what follows. However the sequence of events is not only chronological but also logical governed by its own logic (Oring 1986). The narrative composition of a fairy tale does not allow flashbacks. Any information about the past is related as part of the narrative as it unfolds itself. Neither does the narrative leave out any scene in the sequence of events to be related later on (Oring 1986). This indicates the linear flow of events in the narrative structure of a fairy tale. This linear unilateral narrative structure accounts for the simplicity of fairy tale plot construction.
Time as it is dealt with in fairy tale is also a single thread. This ensures unity of time and space. It is empirical in the sense that it is measured and perceived in terms of characters' action and not in terms of division of calendar or clock time. We do not find pauses or interruptions in action and if the action of the hero is obstructed or discontinued then some other character takes it up. No suspension or halt is allowed in dynamics of the fairy tale action. Propp (1984:25) believes that the concept of time is cognitively a higher abstraction so it developed later in man's evolution. Fairy tale time is generic and linked with action in spatial parameters. One mode of expression of time in fairy tale action is through counting. A trend for threefold repetition is noticed in fairy tale narrative. This lends towards the repetitive nature of fairy tale action. The protagonist is given three choices he is tested thrice he has to perform a task thrice (usually he is successful the
third time) he is the third brother. The repetitions are used to add to the intensity to heighten the sense of difficulty of the task and to aid in memorising of the tales. According to Oring (1986) European and American folktale tend towards threefold repetition but fourfold fivefold and sevenfold repetitions are also usual in other parts of the world. Propp believes that in folklore counting is just as arbitrary as time and space" (1984:25).The conventional discourse marker once upon a time..." indicates a timeless and ageless characteristic of the folk narrative (Von Franz 1970:39). It could have happened anywhere anytime. This lack of specificity is what actually makes fairy tale a part of folklore applicable to and accepted by all in a given culture.
Among the British fairy tale writers Oscar Wilde though known for his plays published two volumes of literary fairy tales: The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888) and The House of Pomegranate (1891). The Russian Formalists use a term fabula-syuzhet (see Rimmon-Kenan 1983; Bal 1985; Toolan 1991; Brooks 2002) to distinguish between the fable time' (or the story time) and the narrative time (or the discourse time); that is the time required to read the story. And since the narrative discourse is mostly chronologically organised temporal conjuncts play an important role in the progression of the story. Again since the fairy tales are simple straightforward discourses the and-conjunction is more widely used than others. To retain the simplicity of the fairy tale discourse Oscar Wilde has used the and-conjunction more than other conjuncts to indicate temporal progression in his fairy tales. Temporal uses of and' are also referred to as non-logical or asymmetric uses of the and-coordination (see for example Bjorkman 2010; Behrens Fabricius- Hansen and Solfjeld 2012).
Wilde in his fairy tale The Star Child' has maintained the fairy tale temporal attributes of linearity and simplicity in the narrative structure of the tale. He has used coordination especially the chronological role of the coordination conjunction and' to achieve the desired temporal movement. Halliday and Hasan (1976:233) believe that The simplest form of conjunction is and'" It enters into cohesive relation with a clause. And as a conjunction also enters into temporal relation in combination with then. Temporal relation is a . . . relation between the theses of two consecutive sentences" (Halliday and Hassan 1976:261). Jackson H. (1990) believes that the use of and in its chronologically sequent implication is purely temporal combination'. Bar-Lev and Palacas (1980) (cited in Blakemore and Carston 1999:6) present this relationship as semantic command between its conjuncts:
The first conjunct S' semantically commands the second conjunct S"; that is S" is not prior to S' (chronologically or causally).
Blakemore and Carston (1999; also 2005) agree that semantic command' does appear to account for the temporal and consequential relations that conjunctive utterances can communicate . . ." This is the most common use of the and- coordination in stories especially tales told by children or to children (p.224). This paper examines Wilde's use of the and-conjunction in temporal progression of the tale.
Chronological and Temporal Progression in The Star Child"
The Star-Child' begins with description of two woodcutters making their way home through a forest in the dead of winter. After setting the scene the narrative traces the woodcutters' movement through the forest. A chronological and brings the woodcutters' journey to a specific location; . . . and when they came to the Mountain-Torrent . . .'.1 They continue to move forward; three chronological and- conjunctions bring them to signs of human dwelling; . . . and went warily and at last they reached the outskirts of the forest and saw far down in the valley beneath them the lights of the village in which they dwelt.' They are relieved but as the euphoria at their escape from cold death abated the bitterness of life took over their joy.
In midst of their woe a strange thing happens. An object falls from the sky in the forest. The woodcutters follow its decent visually with amazement. It falls down close to them and two chronological and-conjunctions trace their movement for what they believe is a piece of gold; . . . and they set to and ran . . .' Three chronological and relations tell of what they further did with their find; And he cried out to his comrade . . .and when his comrade had come up . . . and loosened the folds of the cloak . . .' To their utter disappointment they find a small baby boy instead of the expected riches. Their conversation and action on the issue is narrated with chronological and-conjunctions And one of them said to the other . . .' The next chronological and tells of the action suggested by him; . . . and go our way seeing that we are poor men . . .'
His companion refuses to comply with the heartless plan in spite of his poverty and with a chronological and he positions himself differently from his friend; . . . yet will I bring it home with me and my wife shall have care of it.'" His next two actions are mapped out with two chronological and-conjunctions; . . . he took up the child and wrapped the cloak around it . . . and made his way down the hill to the village ' His companion is ousted from the tale at the point when the woodcutter refuses to cater to his greed and they part ways. Three chronological and-conjunctions bring him to his home; . . . and he bade him Godspeed and went to his own house and knocked.' A new character enters the tale when he reaches his home that is his wife. The next small paragraph is just one sentence containing six chronological and-conjunctions which encapsulate the activity of his wife when he gets home:
And when his wife opened the door and saw that her husband had returned safe to her she put her arms round his neck and kissed him and took from his back the bundle of faggots and brushed the snow off his boots and bade him come in . . .
The woodcutter had to make sure that the extra mouth he had brought to the scarcity of his house should be accepted so he took up a stance at the threshold of his house. He told his wife about his find keeping the suspense; she is impatient to know what he had brought her. He acts at her request to reveal the gift with a
1 Within the quotes the italics are mine stylistically marked chronological and; And he drew the cloak back'. The wife's reaction is exactly as he had anticipated. Her tirade consists of two chronological and relations . . . and spoke angrily and cried . . .'. they have a serious argument and a chronological and tells us of the woodcutter's stance; And the man answered nothing but stirred not from the threshold.' They have now arrived at a deadlock the woodcutter still standing at the threshold with the door open.
They remain in this impasse for a while and finally the humanity of the woman surfaces and she breaks down in tears. The husband is quick to seize the tender moment and acts fast. The next sentence contains four chronological and relations as his movements are traced and the woman's actions are told; And he came in swiftly and placed the child in her arms and she kissed it and laid it in a little bed where the youngest of their own children was lying.' With this acceptance of the protagonist into the poor but kind woodcutter's family ends the first part of the tale.
The second phase marks out the growing up of the protagonist. Star-Child as he was christened by the woodcutter was now a part of the family and received equal treatment with the woodcutters own children. As he grows up he turns out to be a handsome boy with ultimate physical beauty.
His beauty is a marvel for the people of the land who are dark skinned; The Star- Child's breath-taking almost divine physical beauty complements the manner of his entry into the narrative having descended from celestial heights but sadly is not supplemented by his nature. The knowledge that he is fairer than all of the inhabitants gets to his head making him arrogant unkind and egotistical in his manners. His treatment towards his playmates that include the children of the kind Woodcutter who had rescued him from a freezing death and his behaviour towards the less fortunate especially the poor was pitiless those who were physically disfigured received an equally merciless treatment from him. Two chronological and relations tell of his treatment towards them; . . . would cast stones at them and drive them forth on to the highway and bid them beg their bread elsewhere . . .'
All of this blatant cruelty ensued from consciousness of his own divine beauty and his narcissist attitude. Two chronological and relations describe the actions that ensued from his egocentric state of mind; . . . he would lie by the well in the priest's orchard and look down at the marvel of his own face and laugh for the pleasure he had in his fairness.'
This behaviour did not go unnoticed by his guardians; and the old priest takes up his task of reformation and a chronological and-conjunction tells the action he took in this matter; Often did the old priest send for him and seek to teach him the love of living things . . .' Such was the dazzle of his own beauty in his eyes that none of these admonishes had any effect on him.
Up till this point in the narrative the protagonist has been introduced in detail beginning with the strange manner of his entry to his acceptance in a poor but kind household to the description of his divine beauty and his pride in it ending in instances of his cruelty that are a direct result of the hardness that his own sense of superiority has coated his heart with.
A new character enters the tale and the dynamics of the narrative take a turn. She is a beggar-woman and her appearance is such that is set to bring out an expected behaviour from the Star-Child. When the Star-Child saw her he acts as he had always done towards such people. Two chronological and-conjunctions tell of what he did to her: So he came near and threw stones at her and mocked her . . .'
The kind Woodcutter came to her rescue and reprimanded the cruel boy. he ran up and rebuked him and said to him . . .' The Star-Child's reaction is exactly in keeping with the character that has been built up earlier in the tale. Three chronological and-conjunctions tell of his wickedness: And the Star-Child grew red with anger and stamped his foot upon the ground and said . . .'. What he said was sheer ingratitude as he flatly refuses to obey because he was not the Woodcutter's real son at which the Woodcutter reminds of how he had found him in the forest. This exchange between the two has a strange effect on the beggar- woman. She faints and typical to his personality type the Woodcutter looks after her. Five chronological and relations in two sentences narrate what happened at that moment:
And when the woman heard these words she gave a loud cry and fell into a swoon. And the Woodcutter carried her to his own house and his wife had care of her and when she rose up from the swoon into which she had fallen. . .
The narrative has now reached the point where the identity of the Star-Child is revealed. It is done by the beggar-woman. In a typical Fairy Tale narrative style she tells of facts that prove her link with the protagonist. She refuses the refreshments and a dialogue follow between her and the Woodcutter with the woman's part of conversation in the form of questions. She enumerated the signs and tokens and he brought them out from his safekeeping. Two chronological and- conjunctions follow his actions: And he took the cloak the amber chain from the chest where they lay and showed them to her.' These signs confirm what she had suspected and a stylistically marked chronological and tell of her reaction to these objects and another one links with her revelation: And when she saw them she wept for joy and said . . . ' She declares that the Star-Child is her lost son.
With this revelation she asks for her son. The husband and wife go out to call the Star-Child. Three chronological and-conjunctions follow their actions and called to the Star-Child and said to him Go into the house and there shalt thou find thy mother who is waiting for thee.' The Star-Child is overjoyed at this news. His reaction when he saw the beggarwoman is exactly as is expected of him. He laughs at her and is rude her. His acts are linked with a chronological and relation: . . . he laughed scornfully and said . . .' He does not even think that she could be his mother and looks around to locate her. The narrative moves forward with a stylistically marked chronological conjunction: And the woman answered him I am thy mother.'
At the protagonist's scornful outburst of rejection by she still appeals to him as a long lost son. Two chronological and-conjunctions tell of her physical actions as she signals him to see her as his mother and one chronological and-conjunction tell the story of their separation: and she fell on her knees and held out her arms to him. The robbers stole thee from me and left thee to die' she murmured. . .
A palpable silence follows this speech and a crucial moment where the protagonist is poised to make a choice. That choice determines his destiny and the future course of action in the formation of the tale. After this prolonged moment of agony the silence is broken by the Star-Child's harsh voice. He denies her most heartlessly. He tells her to go away and denies her request for a kiss proclaiming that she is too ugly. Three chronological and tell of the poor woman leaving broken hearted and the Star-Child going back to his playmates. . . . and [she]went away into the forest weeping bitterly and when the Star-Child saw that she had gone he was glad and ran back to his playmates that he might play with them.'
His sin however has caught up with him faster than he could run to his playfellows. As soon as he reaches them he receives an immediate rejection as cruel as he had meted out to his mother. His playmates behaved exactly as he had taught them to. With two chronological and-conjunctions they expel him from their circle of love just as he had done to his poor mother. . . . they mocked him and said and they drive him out of the garden.'
The Star-Child is perplexed and four chronological and-conjunctions tell of his actions at his playmates' strange behaviour. The use of and-conjunction at the beginning of the sentence is stylistically marked and carries the narrative forward and can be interpreted as chronological in its semanticity. And the Star-Child frowned and said to himself `What is this that they say to me I will go to the well of water and look into it and it shall tell me of my beauty.'
Another chronological and takes him to the well and he discovers the metamorphosis that his body had gone through. So he went to the well of water and looked into it...' Three chronological and tell of how he reacted at the change And he flung himself down on the grass and wept and said to himself . . .' The realization of his sin towards his mother dawns upon him and a chronological and-conjunction tell of the penance that he inflicts upon himself in atonement of his sin; Wherefore I will go and seek her through the whole world nor will I rest till I have found her.' A stylistically marked and-conjunction furthers the narrative at this point and three chronological and-conjunctions demonstrate the fact that inherent kindness cannot be corrupted by evil and confirm the faith in humanity of mankind:
And there came to him the little daughter of the Woodcutter and she put her hand upon his shoulder and said `What doth it matter if thou hast lost thy comeliness Stay with us I will not mock at thee'
The following short passage uses three chronological and-conjunctions to tell of the protagonist's realization of his sin and his compulsion for atonement:
`Nay but I have been cruel to my mother and as a punishment has this evil been sent to me. Wherefore I must go hence and wander through the world till I find her and she give me her forgiveness.'
The scene of action in the narrative now changes from the woodcutter's village to the forest again; the place where he had been found as in his celestial beauty and which he had lost in his wickedness. The protagonist moves away from the present setting back to the initial setting of the narrative and a chronological and- conjunction joins his action to his voice for his mother; So he ran away into the forest and called out to his mother to come to him but there was no answer.'
Now begins his quest and in one sentence a chronological and-conjunction brings the first day of his search to its end:
All day long he called to her and when the sun set he lay down to sleep on a bed of leaves. . .
The next short passage is composed of two sentences and both of them begin with a stylistically marked and-conjunction at the beginning of the sentences with the narrative function of furthering the tale. In the first sentence three chronological and relations map out the beginning of his day:
And in the morning he rose up and plucked some bitter berries from the trees and ate them and took his way through the great wood weeping sorely. And of everything that he met he made enquiry if perchance they had seen his mother . . .
His inquiry from the inhabitants of the forest is a typical motif of Faerie Realm where the animals and birds are talking to him but they are of no help as he himself had maimed them. The dialogue between them and the protagonist contains four stylistically marked and-conjunctions at the beginning of each utterance having chronological function. The complete dialogue makes almost a poetic repetition of and-conjunction in this part of the text:
And the Mole answered Thou hast blinded mine eyes. How should I know' He said to the Linnet Thou canst fly over the tops of the tall trees . . . Tell me canst thou see my mother' And the Linnet answered Thou hast clipt my wings for thy pleasure. How should I fly' And to the little Squirrel who lived in the fir-tree . . . was lonely he said Where is my mother' And the Squirrel answered Thou hast slain mine. Dost thou seek to slay thine also'
The next short passage of two sentences tells us of his misery at the above mentioned responses; but as he takes heart and renews his quest we get a chronological and relation. The initial position and-conjunction in the second sentence is chronological and another one brings the protagonist out of the forest to yet another setting: and went on through the forest seeking for the beggar-woman. And on the third day he came to the other side of the forest and went down into the plain . . .
On the other side is the world that has never known his beauty and see him only as he appears now. He gets precisely the same treatment as he had given to the less favoured in his days of pride and beauty. His quest is nerve racking. Two chronological and-conjunctions in one sentence tell of the pain of his quest and tell what he did when he seems to see her:. . . often seemed to see her on the road in front of him and would call to her and run after her till the sharp flints made his feet to bleed. The tale moves forward and yet another stylistically marked chronological and- conjunction at the initial position brings the protagonist from the wild world of nature to the world of human beings again. The scene of action has now moved out of the forest to urban settings: And one evening he came to the gate of a strong-walled city that stood by a river. . .' His physical ugliness once again becomes a hurdle and the guards would not let him pass through the gate; he requests them to let him pass but the guards' response is hostile and with another chronological and-conjunction he turns back; And as he turned away weeping . . .'. At that moment another a more distinguished guard appears. This new guard surpasses the others in ruthlessness and comes up with a devilish plan to trade the Star-Child for a slave at the petty price of a bowl of sweet wine.'
At this point another character appears and overhears the guard's intentions. With two chronological and relations he buys the protagonist and becomes his lord and also his passport into the city; `I will buy him for that price' and when he had paid the price he took the Star-Child by the hand and led him into the city.'
Six chronological and-conjunctions follow the movement of the mysterious old he leads the Star-Child with him:
And after that they had gone through many streets they came to a little door . . . And the old man touched the door with a ring of graved jasper and it opened and they went down five steps brass into a garden... the old man took then from his turban a scarf of figured silk and bound with it the eyes of the Star-Child and drave him in front of him. And when the scarf was taken off his eyes . . .'
The Star-Child is imprisoned in a dungeon and five chronological and- conjunctions tell of the heartless treatment that the evil old man metes out to his imprisoned slave:
And the old man set before him some mouldy bread on a trencher and said `Eat' some brackish water in a cup and said `Drink' and when he had eaten the old man went out locking the door behind him and fastening it with an iron chain . . .
Four chronological and relations reveal the identity of the old man and ushers in the first day of the Star Child's life as a slave. And on the morrow the old man who was indeed the subtlest of the magicians of Libya and had learned his art from one who dwelt in the tombs of the Nile came in to him and frowned at him and said . . .' What he said to the protagonist marks out the old man's typical role in Faerie Realm. He is the evil one who acts as agent for the protagonist's test. He sets the test task for star-Child an object he has to find and bring home a coloured gold coin the failure in his task would earn him a punishment of a hundred stripes.' Five chronological and relations map out the movement of the protagonist towards the scene of his test:
. . . And he bound the eyes of the Star-Child . . . and led him through the house and through the garden of poppies and up the five steps of brass. And having opened the little door with his ring he set him in the street.'
The tale from this point onwards contains three parallel narrative events a pattern found in other fairy tales by Wilde. The protagonist is going through the fire of test. The test is threefold and hence forms a pattern to match the narrative events of typical fairy tale.
Two chronological and-conjunctions bring the protagonist out of his prison and on the move towards his first test; And the Star-Child went out of the gate of the city and came to the wood . . .'
His search stretches over the whole day and is futile. Two chronological and- conjunctions map out the whole of fruitless search; . . . he sought for it from morn to noon and from noon to sunset. And at sunset he set his face towards home weeping bitterly . . .'. At the end of the day begins his first test. A cry of pain reaches his ears and three chronological and relations tell of his response which is so unlike the former Star-Child that we have known: forgetting his own sorrow he ran back to the place and saw there a little Hare caught in a trap . . . And the Star- Child had pity on it and released it . . .'. The Hare wants to pay for his kindness and his response contains a chronological and-conjunction as he promises to lead the Star-Child to the object of his search: . . . and I will lead thee to it for I know where it is hidden . . . '
The Hare leads him to the piece of white gold that the Star- Child is looking for. The Hare has done his good work and two chronological and- conjunctions tell of the end of the contact and parting of the ways between them: . . . and it ran away swiftly and the Star-Child went towards the city.'
The protagonist's first test does not end here. There is more to come. When he reaches the gate of the city a leper beggar waylays him. Four chronological and- conjunctions show his actions at the protagonist's arrival. The first one is stylistically marked as it occurs at the beginning of the sentence. And when he saw the Star-Child coming he struck upon a wooden bowl and clattered his bell and called out to him and said . . .
He is begging for money and the protagonist is put to real test here. He gives the white piece of gold t the beggar. Nine chronological and-conjunctions tell of the cruel punishment he receives at the hands of the old magician in two sentences. The first one is stylistically marked due to its place of occurrence at the beginning of the sentence:
And when he came to the Magician's house the Magician opened to him and brought him in and said to him Hast thou the piece of white gold' And the Star-Child answered I have it not.' So the Magician fell upon him and beat him and set before him an empty trencher and said Eat' and said Drink' and flung him again into the dungeon.
The second test forms the second narrative event. It begins with exactly the same words and syntactic structure like the first narrative event; it begins with a stylistically marked chronological and- conjunction with another one to link his arrival with his command: And on the morrow the Magician came to him and said . . .' What he says to him this time is also less in words since the old magician had already impressed upon the protagonist his ownership. He repeats the threat and the punishment in case of failure in the task set for him. This time the protagonist knows his way and the destination. Therefore we find the protagonist moving towards the wood and the futility of his search compressed in one and half sentence with three chronological and-conjunctions:
So the Star-Child went to the wood and all day long he searched for the piece of yellow gold but nowhere could he find it. And at sunset he sat him down and began to weep . . .
This time he is not tested in the woods but the kindness that he had shown the first time is enough to help him again. The Hare he had freed the last time comes to his rescue again. With a chronological and he brings the protagonist to the right spot: . . . and it ran through the wood till it came to a pool of water.
The Hare does not want any thanks from the grateful protagonist as he makes him realize the long lasting impact of one kind act and with a chronological and- conjunction he makes his exit from the scene. . . . and it ran away swiftly.' Like the first narrative event the test does not end here but the same leprous beggar makes the same request which puts the protagonist into a very difficult situation. Three chronological and-conjunctions sum up the protagonist's retrieval of the object of his quest for the day and his movement towards the city in one sentence. Another three chronological and-conjunctions sum up the leper's act of begging. Only two sentences contain all this information with the help of these six conjunctions:
And the Star-Child took the piece of yellow gold and put it in his wallet and hurried to the city. But the leper saw him coming and ran to meet him and knelt down and cried Give me a piece of money or I shall die of hunger.'
Like the first time the leper would not take any refusal and finally the protagonist with his new found pity parts with the object of his quest narrated by a chronological and-conjunction. . . . and gave him the piece of yellow gold.'
Seven chronological and-conjunctions " with the first one occurring at the initial position of the opening sentence is stylistically marked "tell in two sentences of the cruel treatment he receives at the hands of his cruel master at the failure to produce the object of task. The details of the punishment are different in content but the same in quality. The less number of conjunctions suggest that the description is compressed this time to avoid the risk of repetition:
And when he came to the Magician's house the Magician opened to him and brought him in and said to him Hast thou the piece of yellow gold' And the Star-Child said to him I have it not.' So the Magician fell upon him and beat him and loaded him with chains and cast him again into the dungeon.
The quest for the third red piece of gold comprises the third narrative event. Once again it begins with exactly the same syntactic pattern with a stylistically marked chronological and-conjunction and another one that links the arrival of the magician with his setting of the task for the Star-Child; . . . And on the morrow the Magician came to him and said . . .' The same journey towards the forest and arrival of the Hare are narrated. This time the Hare does not even ask the reason for his tears but tells him where to find the object of his search. Like the last time the Hare refuses to accept any thanks pressing home the fact that one kind act can succour several time.
Like the last time with one chronological and-conjunction the Hare makes its exit from the scene: . . . and it ran away swiftly.' Like the previous events three and-conjunctions recapitulate the movement of the protagonist towards the object of his quest and movement back towards the city. This time two chronological and- conjunctions are used:
And the Star-Child entered the cavern in its farthest corner he found the piece of red gold. So he put it in his wallet and hurried to the city.'
Once again he has to pass through the fire of a test in the person of the leprous beggar. Like the last event three chronological and-conjunctions bring him into the action again and tell of his pleading. Two more chronological relations sum up the protagonist's giving away of the object of his task which failure now means his death. At the peril of his life he responds to his plea for help:
And the leper seeing him coming stood in the centre of the road and cried out and said to him Give me the piece of red money or I must die' and the Star-Child had pity on him again and gave him the piece of red gold.
The tale takes a turn from this point onwards as he passes the gates of the city wall; the guards and a crowd of people accost him favourably as the most beautiful person in the world. Five chronological and-conjunctions in one sentence carry the information on his cordial reception by the same guards who had repulsed him scornfully earlier and narrate the Star-Child's disbelief and sorrow:
. . . the guards bowed down and made obeisance to him saying How beautiful is our lord!' and a crowd of citizens followed him and cried out Surely there is none so beautiful in the whole world!' so that the Star- Child wept and said to himself They are mocking me and making light of my misery.'
The force of the crowd takes the protagonist away from the den of the old magician towards his new destiny. The protagonist has gone through the fire of the test and at the peril of his life he has passed it so that the events now turn in his favour. The dignitaries of the city accost him as their prospective king that they had been waiting for according to an old prophesy and real identity is revealed as he is told that he is lost son of their King. Both these bits of information appear as false to the Star-Child. The Star-Child denies both bits of information:
And the Star-Child answered them and said I am no king's son but the child of a poor beggar-womanhow say ye that I am beautiful for I know that I am evil to look at' He is made to look in a mirror and he finds a reflection of his former beauty. This reversal in his beauty is accompanied by a reversal in his fortune. The dignitaries and the masses want him to take over as their ruler but he refuses these offers of power and splendour and informs them that his real quest is still not over as the one whom he had repulsed and scorned has not yet forgiven him. A stylistically marked chronological and-conjunction moves the narrative forward at this point in the tale And as he spake he turned his face from them towards the street that led to the gate of the city . . .' and finds himself face to face with the two agents of his test the old beggar-woman and the leprous beggar.
Five chronological and-conjunctions with the first one stylistically marked tell of his action in one sentence as he sets eyes on them:
And a cry of joy broke from his lips and he ran over and kneeling down he kissed the wounds on his mother's feet and wet them with his tears. He bowed his head in the dust and sobbing as one whose heart might break he said to her . . .
Three more chronological and-conjunctions describe his actions as he tries to enlist the leper's help: And he reached out his hands and clasped the white feet of the leper and said to him . . ."
Two chronological and-conjunctions the first one stylistically marked carry his pleading further And he sobbed again and said: Mother my suffering is greater than I can bear. Give me thy forgiveness . . . '"
Finally with a stylistically marked chronological and-conjunction the beggar-woman makes a gesture and with another chronological and-conjunction she speaks to him. Yet another and relation couples the leper's response with the beggar- woman's with and another chronological and-conjunction his words are reported in parallel syntactic construction:
And the beggar-woman put her hand on his head and said to him Rise' and the leper put his hand on his head and said to him Rise'. . .
In keeping with a typical Faerie Realm dynamics a transformation takes place as he rises and looks at them. Three sentences with six chronological and- conjunctions beginning with a stylistically marked one form a kind of refrain that lend a rhythmic effect to the text at this point as the real identity of the begging couple is revealed: And he rose up from his feet and looked at them and lo! They were a King and a Queen. And the Queen said to him This is thy father whom thou hast succoured.' And the King said This is thy mother whose feet thou hast washed with thy tears.'
Finally he is absolved of the sin and is acknowledged and accepted by his parents whose pardon he has been seeking. He is released from his punishment and is bestowed with his true identity and station in life. In one multi-clausal sentence using six chronological and-conjunctions his acceptance and his station in life are narrated:
And they fell on his neck and kissed him and brought him into the palace and clothed him in fair raiment and set the crown upon his head and the sceptre in his hand
The fire of his test has prepared him for the just and merciful king that he proves to be. His transition from an arrogant egotistical narcissist to a humble loving and kind individual shapes him into an ideal ruler. However his test and suffering had been so intense that they took their toll on him and become the cause of his early young death. The tale ends with a sentence that begins with a stylistically marked chronological and- conjunction with the narrative function of taking the tale into the future:
And he who came after him ruled evilly.
The analysis reveals that Wilde has maintained the time specificity of fairy tale narrative structure. The storyline is simple and straightforward with no flashbacks. Timeline is linear and there is no overlapping of scenes in the tale. The three parallel narrative events fulfil the required threefold repetition motif of a fairy tale time narrative. The significant feature is that Wilde has achieved this effect with the coordinating conjunction and in its chronological semanticity. Simplicity of the narrative has been created by linking simple sentences by chronological and relation. It has aligned the tale discourse close to oral fairy tale and child talk. His abundantly repetitive use of the chronological and has lend a rhythmical quality to the text of the tale.
Another distinguishing feature of Wilde's fairy tale discourse style is the prolific use of the coordinating conjunction and at the beginning of sentences. Grammatically and as a coordinating conjunction rarely occupies this position and is stylistically marked. Wilde has very skilfully manipulated this use to further the narrative and keep it linear and chronological.
By using the and-conjunction abundantly as a linguistic and grammatical tool Wilde has succeeded in achieving the fairy tale temporal movement in his tale The Star Child'.
Bal M. (1985). Narratology: Introduction to the theory of narrative. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Bar-Lev Z. and A. Palacas (1980). Semantic command over linguistic priority. Lingua 51 137-46.
Behrens B. Fabricius-Hansen C. and Solfjeld K. (2012). Competing structures: the discourse perspective. In Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen Dag Haug (eds.). Big events small clauses: The grammar of elaboration. Walter de Gruyter (179-225.
Bjorkman B. M. (2010). Towards a unified asymmetric semantics for and. Presented at On Linguistic Interfaces II University of Ulster (Belfast UK).
Blakemore D. Carston R. A. (1999). The pragmatics of and-conjunctions: the non-narrative cases. UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 11 1-20.
Blackmore D. and Carston R.A. (2005). The pragmatics of sentential coordination with and. Lingua 115:569589 doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2003.09.016.
Brooks P. (2002). Narrative desire. In Richardson B. (ed.). Narrative dynamics: Essays on time plot closure and frames. Ohio: Ohio State University Press (130-158).
Halliday M.A.K . and R. Hassan (1976) Cohesion in English. London: Longman
Jackson H. (1996). Grammar and meaning. Longman: London Landa G.A.J. (1990). Narrative theory. University of Zaragoza. On Line Edition 2005 www.unizar.es (10.8.2006)
Oring. E. (1986). Folk Groups and Folklore Genres: An Introduction. Logan Utah: University of Minnesota Press
Propp V. (1984). Theory and History of Folklore. (Trans. by Ariadna Y. Martin and Richard P. Martin) Minneapolis MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Rimmon-Kenan S. (1983). Narrative fiction: Contemporary poetics. London: Methuen.
Toolan M. J. (1991). Narrative: A critical linguistics introduction. London: Rutledge.
Von Franz M. L. (1970). Interpretation of fairy tales.Boston: Shambala Publications.
Wilde O. (1963). The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde. London: Hamlyn.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences|
|Date:||Aug 31, 2013|
|Previous Article:||Sue Bridehead: A Representative of the Feminist Movement.|
|Next Article:||Existence Sans Existence: Deconstructing SamuelBecket's Lessness".|