Politeness: Characterization and Literary Discourse

Author: Nawal

Keywords: Politeness, character analysis, literary discourse, social role, social interaction.


In the past few decades, there has been a growing interest among scholars and researchers in applying pragmatic tools, primarily developed in relation to spoken interaction (Black, 2006), to literary discourse; an interest in the whole texts and their communicative functions and uses in particular contexts (Short, 1995). It is growing simply because most of the pragmatic analysis was basically done on the spoken side of language use and considerably less on written use and very little on literary activity.
Linguistic politeness has been proved, by many linguists and scholars we well, to be a successful device to study literature linguistically, in particular studying that aspect of characterization. This study aims at investigating Anne’s character and character traits in Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, which has a very powerful meaning in children’s literature, in relation to other characters inside and outside Green Gables as she grows and develops from a socially marginalized female character to a productive contributing citizen of Avonlea. The analysis shows that super and sub-strategies of linguistic politeness are capable of reflecting the character’s interaction in relation to social role(s). To achieve the purpose of the study, the researchers utilize Brown and Levinson’s linguistic politeness model (1987) in addition to Rossen-Knill’s Face Attentiveness model (1995). The value of the study can be estimated not only by those working within the branches of linguistics or literature, but also it can be of value to students and teachers especially those teach and study the novel as part of their curriculum.