Art of English: Comparison of Two Texts

Art of English: Comparison of Two Texts

The study of the English language is one of the most tedious and complicated task one will ever do. It involves not only the basic knowledge of learning and knowing the meaning of words, arranging them into an orderly sentence, phrase, or paragraph, and communicating, but it more importantly involves proper pronunciation and grammar. In today’s generation, the English language is regarded as the global language, which is used by different peoples around the world, belonging to different fields and expertise. Along with the development and use of the English language is the development of science and technology, which has been depended upon by many individuals. Thus, in this sense, knowing and learning the English language has become the core of the overall major development of different societies around the globe. In relevance, understanding and knowing the English language requires one to have knowledge and understanding of the English literature, which serves as the basis for the development and appreciation of the English language. In this regard, knowing how to speak and understand the language must not be enough for full appreciation of English. As such, this paper would be comparing two texts, in order to make an analysis and appreciation of the English literature. In a way, through this comparison, the skills and knowledge of the English language would be extended to making an analysis of the English literature.




Summary and Analysis of the “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens


It has been reported that “Bleak House” is one of Charles Dicken’s longest and most complex novels, as it contains many different and divergent storylines that intertwine, as characters meet by chance or fate (2007). In addition, this particular story represents the highest point of Dicken’s intellectual maturity, being able to express a change in artistic structure. Rather than a string of incidents, a cycle of incidents is now evident in the novel. It returns upon itself, has a recurrent melody and poetic justice, and has artistic constancy and artistic revenge. It preserves the unities of time and place. The story circles around two or three symbolic places, and does not go sprawling irregularly all over England like one of Mr. Pickwick’s coaches. People go from one place to another place, but not from one place to another place on the road to everywhere else. Mr. Jarndyce goes from Bleak House to visit Mr. Boythorn, but he comes back to Bleak House. Miss Clare and Miss Summerson go from Bleak House to visit Mr. and Mrs. Bayham Badger, but they still come back to Bleak House. The whole story strays from Bleak House and plunges into the foul fogs of Chancery and the autumn mists of Chesney Wold, but the whole story comes back to Bleak House. The domestic title is appropriate, and is a permanent address ( 2007). Moreover, the description of the fog in the first chapter of Bleak House is good in itself. The author begins in the Chancery fog because he means to end in the Chancery fog. This is perhaps the best short way of stating the peculiarity of the position of Bleak House. In the beginning of the novel, one would have the feeling that it is not only a beginning, but expressing the conclusion and the whole novel as well. It expresses the beginning and the end. The same is true throughout the whole tale, for the whole tale is symbolic and crowded with symbols. He means that all the characters and all the events shall be read through the smoky colors of that sinister and unnatural vapor. Thus the artistic unity of the book, compared to all the author’s earlier novels, is satisfying, almost suffocating. There is the motif, and again the motif. Almost everything is calculated to assert and re-assert the savage morality of Dickens’s protest against a particular social evil. The whole theme is that which another Englishman as jovial as Dickens defined shortly and finally as the delay of the law (  2007). In this regard, it can be perceived that Charles Dickens’ maturity can be expressed in his intention to express and depict the reality of experiences that is being shown and done by real people in the society. This is because the Bleak House being described or referred to in the novel can become each house of each citizen in his era. In addition, the maturity of Dickens can also be evident in the expression of his protest through the novel. In this regard, Dickens’ maturity can be seen through rationality, common sense, and expression of reality in the truest sense, as expressed in the novel. The events and the descriptions of the places and characters in the novel help express the reality that can be seen the Victorian society. Thus, in this regard, the novel does not only generates a good story to stimulate the imagination of the readers, but also expresses reality in its truest sense, which would also provide information and knowledge on the places, people, culture, and events of the people during that time.




Summary and Analysis of the “City Guide Excerpt”


The excerpt of the City Guide obtained from the website of Visit London describes the features of the city in a factual and realistic manner, serving to inform and provide knowledge to the readers. It also serves as a trivia and general information to all citizens and to all visitors who would like to enjoy seeing England. The excerpt particularly and specifically describes the weather and climate in England, which can be described as unpredictable and highly changeable. It emphasizes that London in particular does not have a climate, but a weather, which means that the atmospheric conditions in London is fickle and highly unpredictable. This is because, in definition, climate is the normal state of the Earth’s surface conditions, while weather is the actual state of the Earth’s surface at a given time (2007). In this regard, it can be perceived that because weather changes with time, the change in the atmospheric conditions in the skies of London is also highly changeable. In addition, the excerpt also described the highly unpredictable changes in the temperature in the city, and stated the differences of the temperatures in all four seasons of London. In this regard, it can be understood that the descriptions written and stated in this excerpt were meant to serve as a warning and information for all the citizens of London, who would be most affected by the sudden changes in temperature and weather during the day. In addition, such information would also be relevant for all the visitors in London, who would be aiming to experience and travel to places and visit the best places in London. Similarly, they would also be affected by the sudden changes of temperature and weather in London, which can serve to hinder them from having to enjoy the places and sceneries in the city. As such, knowing this valuable information is one good way of surviving and adapting in the city.




Comparison of both Excerpts


In order to compare the two excerpts in terms of its “literariness”, the definition of literary must first be understood. In definition, literary pertains to learning (2007) through expression of literature, which is evident through expression of words, sentences, and works. In this regard, through this definition, it can be perceived that both the texts described in the previous discussion were a form of literary work, as both of them expresses words and sentences that enable a reader to obtain significant and relevant learning. In this sense, it can be understood that any piece or body of work can be considered a literary work, as long as it can provide and express learning to its readers. However, the comparison of both excerpts leads one to distinguish one from the other, being more literary than the other excerpt. In this regard, one would be able to determine that the work of Charles Dickens is more literary than the excerpt of the City Guide. This is because the definition of literary of providing learning through literary work does not stop there. In understanding the English language, one must be able to distinguish a literary work from what is not, based on the different characteristics and elements of a literary work, including stylistics, sound, deviation, parallelism, meaning, effect, rhythm, and metre. Using such elements as bases, the appreciation and understanding of literary works and the meanings underlying them can be done.


It has been reported that the linking of the language of stylistics and the analysis of literary texts is essentially the domain of stylistics. It involves both literary criticism and linguistics, as its morphological makeup suggests: the ‘style’ component relating it to the former and the ‘istics’ component to the latter ( 1996). From the definition of this element, it can be perceived that Dickens’ the Bleak House contains the element of stylistics, being able to drive other individuals and readers to conduct literary criticism and linguistics. Criticism of Dickens’ literary work is evident as his work is being compared to other literary works made by himself and made by other authors during his time. In addition, criticism of his work also lies on the fact that the characters in Bleak House are being compared to the characters of his other literary works, such as Oliver Twist, Martin Chuzzlewit, and David Copperfield. In this sense, it can be observed that this particular piece of literature made by Charles Dickens is considered a good piece of literary work, being able a reader to distinguish a story, the plot of the novel, its characters, and be able to compare the events, characters and places in the novel to other novels made by the author and other authors. In comparison to the other excerpt, it cannot be compared to other literary works in terms of stylistics, as it purely states facts and general information regarding the weather of London. It does anymore warrant any room for debate and comparison, unlike the novel of Dickens. Another element of literary is foregrounding, including deviation or parallelism. Foregrounding of linguistic features can include syntactic structures, semantic fields, phonological patterning, and others, which can loosely be termed ‘text-intrinsic’ features. This element can also include historical contexts or genre, such as the knowledge that the sonnet has formal constraints in number of lines, rhyme scheme, metre, and that the English version differs in form from its Italian counterpart. In addition, this phenomenon is located in the reader’s mind, and involves both social knowledge and emotions, as well as personal thoughts, feelings, and memories ( 2003). From this, it can be perceived that unlike the excerpt of City Guide, the work of Dickens was able to express foregrounding as an element through its historical context, which determines the timeframe or the setting of the novel, being in the Victorian era of England. Through the foregrounding element of literature, Dickens was able to express the historical context of the novel, which has its setting in the Victorian period of England. In addition, through the novel, Dickens was also able to express and depict the situation of the society and the culture of the people during his time. The appreciation of the Victorian period was also achieved through the novel.


Moreover, in the English language, it has been reported that the ‘Victorian Period’ focused more on people’s attitudes, political developments and modes of writing in their classifications, and therefore used different labels to denote shorter time spans of roughly the same period (2007). As such, the element of sound, meaning, and effects can be identified depending on the intended audience and expressed ideas of the author. Such elements have been expressed vividly in the literary work of Dickens, as his novel is intended to express his protest in the society, regarding the delay of law and injustice in the society of the Victorian era. Such elements cannot be expressed in the excerpt of the City Guide because it was intended only to inform the general public regarding the changes of the weather in the skies or atmosphere of London. Another literary element to be taken note off is the element of rhythm and metre, which is most evident in poetry. It has been reported that rhythm is the recurrence of stress at intervals, while metre is the regular or measured, recurrence of stress (2004). Although such elements are most evident in poetry, both rhythm and metre are evident in the work of Charles Dickens, as his words in the novel “dance”. Dancing in terms of words means that the rhythm and metre of the novel expresses rhymes and patters that may seem to depict a specific tune. Such can be evident in this specific example: “In middle age, Lady Dedlock retains her beauty and is always attractively groomed. Her husband, the baronet Sir Leicester Dedlock, loves her and does not complain that she brought to the marriage neither dowry nor prestige”. Such has not bee expressed in the excerpt of the City Guide, as the excerpt expresses only the simplest words in English to be easily understood by the readers, while the words of Dickens not only seeks to inform but to put style and art in his literary work. Thus, the presence and absence of such elements differentiates both texts from one another.