ERIC Number: ED271787
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Teaching Style through Literature.
Zahlan, Anne Ricketson
Use of imaginative literature to inculcate a heightened awareness of stylistic choices can tangibly benefit student writing. One technique that can instill in students some sense of the work of writing as well as the power of stylistic choice and the resonance of English is to provide them with questions to be answered using passages from works being read in class. Students may tabulate such things as nouns versus verbs versus modifiers, length and structure of sentences, metaphors, alliteration, rhythm, pace, and tempo. Cynics might criticize this notion, but must concede that subjecting prose to the kind of close analysis usually reserved for poetry can teach students concepts they previously may have resisted. While this will not produce any new insights into an author's work, the value of the exercise is in the exercise itself. Students have no trouble noticing the contrast in sentence length and structure in the prose of Faulkner and Hemingway. The significance of Hemingway's paratactic rhythms becomes far clearer when they are juxtaposed to Faulkner's crescendoes of clauses. In the short term, an exercise that clearly obliges students to see language in new ways must give them new things to say about words, syntax, and diction. In the long term, becoming aware of the difference that voice, for example, makes in a sentence and in a paragraph should bring a student writer closer to conscious decisions about word and verb tense choices in writing. (A list of questions on style and two passages from Hemingway and Faulkner are included.) (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (37th, New Orleans, LA, March 13-15, 1986).