Vagueness and Withholding Information in Christie’s (1926) Detective Fiction The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: A Pragma-Stylistic Study
Keywords: Agatha Christie, deception, pragma-stylistics, vagueness, withholding information, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
This study is intended to examine the deceptive strategies utilized in the well-renown Agatha Christie’s (1926/2002) detective fiction The Murder of Roger Ackroyd to fill a gap in the literature by conducting a pragma-stylistic analysis of the novel. To do so, the researchers have set two objectives which are phrased as follows: firstly, examining the pragma-stylistic choices that are used to surface the deceptive strategies on the character-character level in the pre-dénouement stage and secondly, investigating the pragma-stylistic choices that are used to surface the deceptive strategies on the narrator-reader level in the pre-dénouement stage. The stylistic idiosyncrasies of Christie’s Dr. Sheppard are carried out through an eclectic pragma-stylistic approach to expose his deceptive strategies for the fulfillment of his selfish ends. Therefore, the study at issue follows an eclectic conceptual framework which comprises Merzah and Abbas’s deceptive principle (2020) and Chen’s (2001) self-politeness, along with the stylistic effects achieved via the manipulation of such linguistic tools, to explore the two levels of discourse, namely, character-character level and narrator-reader level proposed by Black (2006). The qualitative analysis of the novel has exhibited that Dr. Sheppard is an expert deceiver who principally relies on indirect strategies, as he is cognizant of the power of what is insinuated but left unsaid.