Stylistic Analysis

This assignment requires you to conduct a stylistic analysis on a novel or a short story of your own choosing. Identify literary features in the text and explain why you think they are literary and in what ways they contribute to the meaning of the text. Discuss the importance of the features in the text, supporting your answer by reference to relevant theories.

Short story:

WHEN the aeroplanes are home and the sunset has flared away, and it is cold, and night comes down over France, you notice the guns more than you do by day, or else they are actually more active then, I do not know which it is.

It is then as though a herd of giants, things of enormous heights, came out from lairs in the earth and began to play with the hills. It is as though they picked up the tops of the hills in their hands and then let them drop rather slowly. It is exactly like hills falling. You see the flashes all along the sky, and then that lumping thump as though the top of the hill had been let drop, not all in one piece, but crumbled a little as it would drop from your hands if you were three hundred feet high and were fooling about in the night, spoiling what it had taken so long to make. That is heavy stuff bursting, a little way off.

If you are anywhere near a shell that is bursting, you can hear in it a curious metallic ring. That applies to the shells of either side, provided that you are near enough, though usually of course it is the hostile shell and not your own that you are nearest to, and so one distinguishes them. It is curious, after such a colossal event as this explosion must be in the life of a bar of steel, that anything should remain at all of the old bell-like voice of the metal, but it appears to, if you listen attentively; it is perhaps its last remonstrance before leaving its shape and going back to rust in the earth again for ages.

Another of the voices of the night is the whine the shell makes in coming; it is not unlike the cry the hyena utters as soon as it's dark in Africa: "How nice traveller would taste," the hyena seems to say, and "I want dead White Man." It is the rising note of the shell as it comes nearer, and its dying away when it has gone over, that make it reminiscent of the hyena's method of diction. If it is not going over then it has something quite different to say. It begins the same as the other, it comes up, talking of the back areas with the same long whine as the other. I have heard old hands say "That one is going well over." "Whee-oo," says the shell; but just where the "oo" should be long drawn out and turn into the hyena's final syllable, it says something quite different. "Zarp," it says. That is bad. Those are the shells that are looking for you.

And then of course there is the whizzbang coming from close, along his flat trajectory: he has little to say, but comes like a sudden wind, and all that he has to do is done and over at once.

And then there is the gas shell, who goes over gurgling gluttonously, probably in big herds, putting down a barrage. It is the liquid inside that gurgles before it is turned to gas by the mild

explosion; that is the explanation of it; yet that does not prevent one picturing a tribe of cannibals who have winded some nice juicy men and are smacking their chops and dribbling in anticipation.

And a wonderful thing to see, even in those wonderful nights, is our thermite bursting over the heads of the Germans. The shell breaks into a shower of golden rain; one cannot judge easily at night how high from the ground it breaks, but about as high as the tops of trees seen at a hundred yards. It spreads out evenly all round and rains down slowly; it is a bad shower to be out in, and for a long time after it has fallen, the sodden grass of winter, and the mud and old bones beneath it, burn quietly in a circle. On such a night as this, and in such showers, the flying pigs will go over, which take two men to carry each of them; they go over and root right down to the German dugout, where the German has come in out of the golden rain, and they fling it all up in the air.

These are such nights as Scheherazade with all her versatility never dreamed of; or if such nightmares came she certainly never told of them, or her august master, the Sultan, light of the age, would have had her at once beheaded; and his people would have deemed that he did well. It has been reserved for a modern autocrat to dream such a nightmare, driven to it perhaps by the tales of a white-whiskered Scheherazade, the Lord of the Kiel Canal; and being an autocrat he has made the nightmare a reality for the world. But the nightmare is stronger than its master, and grows mightier every night; and the All-Highest War Lord learns that there are powers in Hell that are easily summoned by the rulers of earth, but that go not easily home.