LAC178 Assignment 1

1658 words 7 pages
List all of the noun phrases in the passage, including the pronouns. After you have studied the list write an essay on how the noun phrases contribute to the text. How do they relate to what is being described in the extract?

In Lindsey Davis’s Ode to a Banker, there are many uses of the noun phrase. The noun phrase is a phrase that contains a noun as well as other constituents (Yule 2010, p291). The noun can stand on its own as the noun phrase or include the use of articles and modifiers to enhance its effect on the reader. The following essay will look at how, through the use of noun phrases, Davis creates a sense of instability and allows her audience to experience it on a personal level through her characterisation of the narrator.
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Another example of Davis’s use of a lengthy post-modifier can be seen when she describes the engine of the wagon- “that could be rushed out on wheels to pump water onto large scale fires”. Here the narrator portrays a sense of dread. We are invited directly into her thoughts of fear and uncertainty. We experience the narrator’s anxiety and terror first hand. Both the narrator and the audience are left unsure of what will happen further on. The long post-modifier can be seen to be an example of free indirect speech- this could either be Davis, warning us of the dangers of this wagon or her narrator’s stream of thought. Either way, had Davis not used this, the audience would not have felt as uncertain of the circumstances as they do now, causing them to want to read on.

Near the end of the extract Davis uses both pre-modifiers and post-modifiers in one of her noun phrases. She fills in all the possible subsections of a noun phrase (determiner- modifier- noun- modifier) (Wright and Hope 1996, p3) in the following example: “The big thick squares of woven Spanish grass that the vigils used for smothering fires”. Once again Davis has given us more information than is necessary. She has made use of free indirect speech, again, to allow us to familiarise ourselves with her narrator and share the panic and undoubted fear that they are experiencing. The use of the adjectives “big” and “thick” as pre-modifiers creates a sense of suffocation and

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