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Wolfe’s use of style to reflect the stream of conciousness September 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hvandolsen @ 12:57 am

“Anyone who travels very much on airlines in the United States soon gets to know the voice of the airplane pilot…coming over the intercom…with a particular drawl, a particular folksiness, a particular down-home calmness that is so exaggerated it begins to parody itself (nevertheless!- it’s reassuring)…the voice that tells you, as the airliner is caught in the thunderheads and goes bolting up and down a thousand feet at a single gulp, to check your seat belts became “it might get a little choppy”…” (p. 33)


I chose to explore Wolfe’s use of specific style to reflect a stream of conciousness or feeling. In the above excerpt, Wolfe is able to convey such a relatable feeling just through use of style and structure. One of the major tools of style that he implements is the ellipsis. The ellipsis is a simple way of showing a person’s way of thinking. It is the pause in between different and irratic thoughts. I thought that this was really effective in discussing the commerical airplane pilot because it allowed for the pause that one would actually hear over the intercom. That relatable static sound that comes over the intercom mid flight. In addition, Wolfe uses exclamation points to first show the excitement and impulsiveness of a thought, and then follows up on this excitement with a dash. The dash acts a digression to this once impulsive thought, it expands on the thought more fully. I thought this use of punctuation was effective in actually showing the way a person thinks. This passage is also an example of inserting dialogue in the middle of a sentence to make it more organic and free. In this instance, being particular and grammatically correct in using dialogue would not be as effective in conveying the way a person would think of the airplane pilot. The way in which Wolfe develops this passage is presented as if a person is actually hearing the pilot’s voice. It brings a sense of emotion and an ability to relate to this idea.


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