Being Gone: A Text-World Analysis of Ambiguity in Eavan Boland’s ‘Suburban Woman: A Detail’

McLoughlin, Nigel F ORCID: 0000-0002-0382-6831 (2016) Being Gone: A Text-World Analysis of Ambiguity in Eavan Boland’s ‘Suburban Woman: A Detail’. In: Old and New, Tried and Untried: Creativity and Research in the 21st Century University. Common Ground Publishing., Champaign, IL. ISBN 9781612298405

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In this chapter I outline a cognitive poetic framework for textual analysis derived from Text World Theory (Werth 1999; Gavins 2007) and Stockwell’s (2009, 2011) model of literary resonance, and deploy this framework in the analysis of Eavan Boland’s poem ‘Suburban Woman: A Detail’. I start by detailing the theoretical framework with regard to how text-worlds are constructed in the mind of the reader, how they may connect with other text-worlds, and how these may vary in attentional relevance and activation. By applying the framework to the analysis of a single poem, the chapter demonstrates how the theoretical framework can be used to analyse the ways in which linguistic cues, particularly the prevalence of ambiguity, create, maintain, and switch between the text-worlds constructed in attention. Further, it demonstrates that these processes can elucidate how literary meanings are supported by these mechanisms in the poem. It is suggested that the analysis has some implications for Text World Theory as it currently stands, in particular the need to integrate ambiguity into the theory as a world-generating mechanism. The chapter also illustrates that such analyses may be of use to creative writers in their reading of texts, because they are particularly relevant to questions writers ask of texts as they read as writers. Through analysis of how the meaning is afforded, created and changed by the linguistic structures deployed, writers can learn to make or disrupt similar features in their own work. Finally, the chapter provides a set of frameworks through which to discuss these features.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2016 15:15
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:55

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