Сборник статей участников IV международной научной конференции 5-26 апреля 2008 года Челябинск Том Челябинск 2008


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The purpose of the given article is the analysis of the emotive system and its components in the story “Gioconda’s Smile” by A. Huxley.

L.O. Butakova [Butakova 2001:13], who worked out the category of the author’s consciousness as the combination of the internally structurized cognitive (semantic), semiotic, communicative, emotive structures represented in the text, considers the emotive subsystem as a part of the author’s conceptual system. The intensity of such an emotive system can be defined through the quality of the specially designed for it means (lexemes, morphemes, syntactical constructions) and a number of all textual means conveying one and the same emotive meaning.

According to Babenko L.G and Kazarin Y.V [Babenko 2005: 122] the kernel of the emotive contents of the text is the combination of the dictal-emotive meanings (the level of the characters) and modal-emotive meanings (the level of the author's consciousness.)

Emotivity of the text comprises all emotive meanings, explicit and implicit, dictal and modal.

The author's superevaluation is a domineering factor in the text, and it binds all the semantic components of the text together as well as the emotive meanings, providing the integrity of the contents of the text.

Let us analyze the story of A. Huxley “Gioconda’s smile” with the purpose of tracing what the domineering emotion is and with the help of what means it is expressed.

The emotive function of the text is expressed both through the narrator and the character’s words.

The author uses traditional metaphors and symbols together with creating his own unique means as the result of associations occurred to him.

Unlike poetical works of A. Huxley, which are completely autocommunicative and aimed at self-expression, in the stories of his early years belonging to the gold decade of his career as a writer bright images of the characters are created, which is not the key feature of his "intellectual" novels).

In the story under analysis the author creates the bright image of the spinster Ms Spence, who tries to allure and trap Mr. Hutton, in which she finally succeeds.

The title of the story itself is an intermedia insertion and echoes the well-known picture of Leonardo da Vinci, bringing about the anticipation of some unsolved mystery and enigma. This initial image inspired by the picture is replaced by quite the opposite - the barrel which is about to fire:

And there was something enigmatic about her. Mysterious Gioconda. The smile grew intenser, focused itself, as it were, in a narrower snout.

Throwing a rapid Gioconda at him.

……that every woman’s small talk was like a vapour hanging over mysterious gulfs. With Janet Spence it was somehow different. Here one could be sure that there was some kind of queer face behind the Gioconda smile and the Roman eyebrows. The only question was: What exactly was there? Mr. Hutton could never quite make out.

She fired off at him.

Miss Spence leaned forward and shot a Gioconda in his direction. “Remember, I expect you to come and see me again soon.”

The white aimed face.

As for the compositional design of the story it is obvious that the interior monologue and descriptions prevail, thus giving the reader full detailed images of Ms Spence and Mr. Hutton. Even the first description of Ms Spence makes the reader be alert as it contradicts the associations connected with Gioconda’s smile.

The verbs Huxley uses to describe her smile are not accidental. The author tries to show her smile was unnatural and artificial, the only thing that resembled da Vinci’s Gioconda was the mystery behind it, the mystery Mr. Hutton will have to face and suffer from later. Huxley uses the linguistic means in a special way, thus he deliberately combines diametrically opposite attributes:

She smiled on in silence while Mr. Hutton shook hands; that was part of the Gioconda’s business.

They were fine eyes, but unchangingly grave. The penholder might do its Gioconda trick, but the eyes never altered in their earnestness. Above them, a pair of boldly arched, heavily penciled eyebrows lent a surprising air of power, as of Roman matron, to the upper portion of the face. Her hair was dark and equally Roman; Agrippina from the brows upward.

Julia Agrippina, a sister of Caligula and the wife of the emperor Claudius, was the mother of the Emperor Neron. The historians characterize her as an ambitious, merciless and powerful woman. She was accused of poisoning Claudius so that Neron could become a ruler. A. Huxley uses the precedent situation with Agrippina deliberately as we come to know at the end that Ms Spence poisoned Mrs. Hutton secretly hoping to take her place.

Another situation when Ms. Spence takes an active part in entertaining Mrs. Hutton:

Spence was loud in sympathy, lavish with advice. Whatever she said was always said with intensity. She leaned forward, aimed, so to speak, like a gun, and fired her words. Bang! The charge in her soul was ignited, the words whizzed forth at the narrow barrel of her mouth. She was a machine-gun riddling her hostess with sympathy. Mr. Hutton had undergone similar bombardments, ….bombardments of Maeterlink, of Mrs. Bezant, of Bergson, of William James. Today, the missiles were medical. Under the bombardment Mrs. Hutton opened out, like a flower in the sun.

The meanings of: gun - barrel - missiles are clearly actualized in the given paragraph. Mystery is interwoven with secret plans and weapons. Here behind the images created are the frames of the process of aiming and shooting and that of what envelops mystery. The names mentioned here are connected with literature, philosophy and psychology.

The author uses the space to contribute to the full image of the characters, their emotions, their feelings, their states. The reader is let into the psychological space (Mr. Hutton’s thoughts when he has a talk to Ms Spence).

There are two spaces contrasted in the story: the green meadow and endless woods where Mr. Hutton with his lover walked; and the closed space of the room, where there is sick Mrs. Hutton. Her illness exhausted her, and her condition made Mr. Hutton tired. This effect is strengthened by the use of personification which is, in fact, a metaphor:

Mrs. Hutton was lying on the sofa in her boudoir, playing Patience. Mrs. Hutton continued to play Patience. Her Patiences always came out. …

The conversation stagnated. The sick woman was usurping the place of the healthy one. He was being dragged back from the memory of the sunlit down and the quick, laughing girl, back to this unhealthy, overheated room with its complaining occupant.

Analyzing this story from the view of the semiotic strategies of the author it is necessary to note that the author uses such a frame marker as a situation of the thunderstorm during the talk of Ms Spence and Mr. Hutton. In this example the author vividly demonstrates the metaphorical cognizing of the world.

The clouds (as something threatening, unpleasant, dangerous) are above Mr. Hutton’s head.

The space plays a great role in the description of the talk with Ms Spence, the situation becomes tense, and this tension finally reaches culmination:

The heat and the silence were oppressive.

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