شعرها

The narrative functions of silence in the structuring of fictions

 

12th International Pragmatics Conference, Manchester, U.K: 3-8 July 2011.

(Sponsored by International Pragmatics Association (IPrA).

The narrative functions of silence in the structuring of fictions

Leila Sadeghi

Department of Linguistics, University of Tehran, Iran

Abstract

This paper examines several different types of ‘silence’ as meaningful absence, which leaves a trace in the signifying empty place within a text. This trace as a marker of silence is introduced in various forms. The study of meaningful silence in literature as discourse shows that this marked silence is present in any text by way of some discursive indicators. A text expresses part of its message by using words and partly by making use of silence.  Silence, in fact, has an interactive role and it is also employed as a narrative technique in literature to produce a plot.

This study explores the functions of written silence in fiction. The question addressed in this study is ‘which themes and for what discursive functions is the written silence represented in narrative?’ The study views written representations of silence as that which cannot be mentioned or is not said intentionally – what is in effect absent in a text for some reason, which leads to a number of different styles of story writing through the use of silence. The paper delineates and analyzes this kind of silence in five Iranian short fictions in terms of three themes: structural, semantic and pragmatic. Consequently, these themes will be deliberated in three syntagmatic, paradigmatic, and interactive axes to study the structure of narrative and creating the elements of a story such as Complication, Denouement, Suspense, Atmosphere and Setting by using silence. Structural silence is divided into ellipsis and cataphora. Semantic silence consists of metaphor and metonymy. Pragmatic silence, on the other hand, consists of presupposition and implication. Each of these has its specific function in fiction.

website: http://ipra.ua.ac.be/main.aspx?c=.CONFERENCE12&n=1411

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