Mini Investigation on ‘The Cheerleader’ and ‘Dracula’ Essay Sample
- Pages: 23
- Word count: 6,183
- Rewriting Possibility: 99% (excellent)
- Category: dracula
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Introduction of TOPIC
The extract taken from ‘The Cheerleader’ uses a mixture of formal and informal lexis. It is formal to an extent, as the story is being narrated it uses formal lexis like “liability” and other such words, giving the text a sense of seriousness. The speech of the vampire also sounds quite formal, again giving it a serious tone and contributing to the purpose of the text; to inform and entertain through fear and suspense. The vampire says “what is the most popular group in school?” and “Perhaps Celeste could be taken off the squad” These examples found at the beginning of this extract sound quite formal, there are no contractions present and this formality here causes the vampire to be heard and gives ‘it’ a sense of dominance and giving the characters a distinction between them. It puts the two main characters in their place right from the start making it clear where they stand with each other.
The text also uses a lot of informal lexis like “jammed with girls” as this suits the primary audience of teenage girls. Contractions can be found in this text, but very rarely. The vampire uses it towards the end of this extract, “she’ll be tired” giving it a sense of discourse which makes it sound a little informal as a lot of this text is speech between Althea and the vampire, but the serious tone and fear created in the audience remains right to the end of the text. Another feature of informal speech is also present in this text, elision and ellipsis. An example of elision I found, “And popular. So popular” works effectively on the audience as it places emphasis on the social context of the story of Altheas desire to become popular, aswell as making it short and concise getting straight to the point. Ellipsis is also used such as “who…what…perhaps…” this makes the audience think about the possibilities of it and also creates mystery and suspense through these interrogative pronouns.
In this text a lot of high school teenage jargon can be identified. Words like “freshman” and “sophomore” are used which are directly linked to high school and its different school years. This simply links the text back to its social context and informs the audience about the setting and situation of this text. Some more technical vocabulary can be found such as “popularity” and “cheerleaders”; this creates a common ground between the youngsters with this vulnerable feeling and threat created by the competition in high school for popularity. This also relates back to something a lot of teenage girls within the books’ intended audience aspire to be like, beautiful and popular.
The extract taken from ‘Dracula’ uses quite formal lexis; “as we had arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible” this particular construction along with many others are lengthy, elaborated constructions that suit the adult audience. Even though this extract is written in the form of a diary entry and informal colloquial lexis is expected, because of the time period it was written in, old English is used thus there is a high level of formality. At the beginning of Jonathan Harkers’ journal entry he says, “I did not sleep well, though my bed was comfortable enough, for I had all sorts of queer dreams.” No contractions are found in this extract making it more formal, this formality adds seriousness and tension to the extract, which helps fulfill Bram Stokers’ aim of building up tension and scaring the audience. The old English used in this particular sentence is also a form of word shift. The term “queer” here is used to mean strange and odd which is its original denotation, but now the term “queer” is used to refer to a homosexual being.
However, there is also some evidence of informal lexis found throughout this extract, which is determined by the use of elision, where a word is omitted within sentence, “_should have arrived at 6.46, but_train was an hour late.” In this sentence the first word is omitted aswell as a definite article before “train”, which gives it a sense of informality by using this feature of spoken English.
A lot of different types of technical vocabulary can be found in this extract that help describe Jonathan Harkers’ journey. Geographical terms are used repeatedly throughout the extract like “ordanance survey maps” but mostly names of places such as “Vienna”, “Danube” and “Transylvania”. These proper nouns are found throughout the entire text and are used to take the audience along with him on his journey from one place to another and to provide greater details of where he has been and where he is going. Religious terminology is also used such as “churchman”, “idolatrous” and “crucifix”, all in relation to “St. George’s day” which is an important event mentioned in this extract in relation to “Count Dracula”. All these religious terms are found towards the end of this extract, when things start getting more mysterious and tension starts building up as the audience is being prepared for events to come, which we do not know about yet adding to the suspense. I also found a lot of terms of observation, “with short jackets and round hats”, “big cowboy hats, great baggy dirty-white trousers, white linen shirts, and enormous heavy leather belts.” These descriptive terms are found in the middle of the extract when Jonathan Harker is at the start of his travels and everything is still very new to him; these terms give the audience a better insight into what Jonathan Harker has seen and helps rebuild the situation.
In text A there is a mixture of simple, compound and complex sentences used. This is well suited to the audience of teenagers as they would be able to understand through this syntax without difficulty.
However, I noticed looking more closely at the syntax that a lot of the sentences in this text are simply declarative sentences. This is very effective in fulfilling the purpose of the text, to entertain and inform by creating suspense and fright in the reader. Simple declarative sentences are also used in some instances to place extra emphasis on certain words. “And popular. So popular”, these are both simple declarative sentences used here to place emphasis on the social context of the text, the aim and motive behind Althea, ‘popularity’ also relating back to the female teenage audience. There are also many other examples of a simple declarative sentence in this text such as “Althea shivered”. This declarative informs the reader of Althea’s actions, but also creates this sense of fright and makes the reader feel this sense of fright and suspense along with Althea.
There was evidence of a few interrogative sentences in this text such as “what is the most popular group in school?” The use of these interrogative sentences not only informs the reader of the speech between Althea and the vampire in greater detail, but it also helps recreate the situation and allows the reader to follow the situation through along with Althea. Such sentences also make the reader think about the answer to the question, which in this case is even more effective as it relates to a familiar issue, “popularity” which is found to be a common issue in high school life.
There was a couple of imperative sentences such as “tell me” and “think”, again this effectively involves the reader and makes it sound like the vampire is personally talking directly to the reader and giving them an order.
I found one exclamatory sentence in this text, “what a change it would make in her life!” This exclamatory puts emphasis on it and shows Althea’s excitement for her potential future as a popular cheerleader, and it allows the reader to share this feeling with her
In text B I have identified mostly compound and complex sentences. It is written in this manner not only to accommodate the audience of adults, but also as it is a diary entry made by an adult man; it uses such a sentence structure that is common and expected in adulthood. The vast majority of these sentences are declarative sentences with an aim to fulfill its purpose of informing the reader of the situation and these declaratives also effectively help give a good in-depth account of every little detail.
There were a few interrogative sentences in this extract but not as direct speech, but to fulfill on of either two purposes. To either question oneself, “what ought they to be in China?” This is used to identify a silent question, purely something Jonathan Harker is wondering about and has written in his diary as he is curious and finds it relevant and important to note every detail of the situation and feelings and responses in regards to it, including his own ideas. The other purpose I thought was to report speech, “Do you know what day it is?” she asked. These remaining interrogative sentences used report speech, again which have more relevance and to place emphasis on its prominence.
There was no evidence of imperative sentences, probably because it is a diary entry written in the first person narrative and doesn’t really mention any imperatives as it is simply a personal account of events.
I found two exclamatory sentences in this extract. This sentence type is usually used to put emphasis on a structure such as in “Here comes the coach!” This is one example I found of an exclamatory sentence, it is informing the reader of the event at present, but at the same time giving it a sense of urgency and rush, almost as if he is shouting it out aloud and rushing off, ending this particular entry with this point.
The proper nouns used in text A are mostly the names of the main characters involved in this scene; most of the proper nouns found were “Althea” who is the leading character in this text.
The majority of the nouns found are common nouns used for general identification to name things and places such as “movies” and “school”. Within these nouns there is a moderate use of concrete nouns such as “wall” and “cars” to simply label objects. The title of the book itself is a noun phrase “The cheerleader”, with the help of the pre-modifying determiner (the) puts emphasis on the head word “cheerleader” informing the audience on the social context of the text, it has connotations of popularity and high school and this will attract the female teenage audience to familiarise with this and persuade them to read it. The noun used the most was “school”, and other nouns that are found often are all hyponyms under this theme. These hyponyms are words such as “cheerleader”, “freshman” and “sophomores” which all relate to high school, more specifically these words sound like American terminology. This school semantic field also links back to the content and the social context of the story.
There are quite a few abstract nouns used like “power” and “despair” to describe ideas or emotions and give the audience a better insight into what the characters are feeling and the general idea behind the situation. Most of these abstract nouns have very negative connotations. I found abstract nouns such as “humiliation”, “loneliness” and “despair”. These words suggest misery and not much meaning or positiveness to life. It suggests that Althea has no friends, no-one to turn to or rely on. She doesn’t seem to have much hope and seems to have given up. This in turn leads to negative thinking causing low self esteem and lack of confidence. She is compromising with the vampire because she feels it’s for the best.
There were very few collective nouns in this text. However, the few that I did find were all synonyms, “squad”, “group” and “team” as these nouns are all very similar in meaning., they are all terms used to name a ‘group’ of some sort. These particular nouns are used in this text as its audience is young teenagers and these nouns are used to refer to different ‘groups’ found in high school that differentiates people from one group to another. To an extent it labels people as part of that group and relates to the teenage audience and what ‘group’ they are part of at their own high school.
In the middle of text A there are a few similes present; “voice felt foreign like an intruder, like a stranger yelling” this simile attaches negative connotations of being alone, unknown and unheard. Another simile used just after the previous one; “a month in which Althea saw herself, like an abandoned waif in the gutter, without hope” this is referring to the month November with connotations of darkness and cold and Althea who is all alone and almost non existent where everyone else is concerned, she doesn’t seem to have much hope. This smile gives a better insight into just how lonely and miserable Althea feels and almost justifying her actions, preparing the audience to be able to see from Altheas point of view why she is going to help the vampire, because she is that desperate for a better life. I found one more simile, in the opening sentence of this text; “it said in its voice like antique silk, faded and slightly torn” giving it connotations of a rough, deep and almost threatening voice of something that hasn’t yet been identified to the audience creating suspense, mystery and fear in the audience.
In text B there were a lot more proper nouns used than in text A. This is due to the geographical semantic field as most of these proper nouns are names of places and people within these places, such as “Vienna”, “Turkish” and “Carpathians”. The proper noun that appeared the most was “Count Dracula” as he is the main character in this text. The title of this book was also a proper noun “Drac
ula” which puts emphasis on the main character of the text but more importantly it is attached
The majority of nouns in this text are common nouns, within which the majority can be labeled as concrete nouns such as “chicken”, “belts” and “boots”. Looking at these nouns a few hypernyms can be identified. There are a lot of hyponyms that can be grouped under a geographical theme such as “rivers”, “mountains” and “east” giving the text a sense of direction and greater detail of Jonathan Harkers’ journey, so it also all ties together nicely under the semantic field of travelling. The other two hypernyms I identified were food and clothing. There are a lot of concrete nouns used to describe the food he is getting on his travels such as “bacon”, “onions” and “beef” and also hyponyms such as “belts”, “boots” and “petticoats” to name the clothing of the people he has seen and make thorough observations of the place and people.
Overall, there are a lot more common/concrete nouns used in text B than text A. I think this is because text B is a diary entry and this requires more detailed observations and identification of things and places.
There are a few abstract nouns found in this text like “havoc” and “doubt”, but there aren’t as many as found in text A because the abstract nouns in text B are more general observations and opinions that are being recorded in a diary. As it is in the form of a diary entry I would have expected more abstract nouns as this is a form of expressing ones feelings and emotions, but I think due to the content it is a mere observation based entry of a more serious nature rather than a deep, meaningful, emotional one.
A lot of these abstract nouns have negative connotations and can be grouped together under a semantic field of war. These abstract nouns are such as “war”, “disease”, “distress” and “fear”. These carry negative connotations of death, ill health, terror, pain and suffering; creating a sense of fright which is particularly the purpose of this text. Some of the other abstract nouns, “superstition” and “foreknowledge” create mystery and builds up suspense helping to fulfill the aim of this text to create fear and mystery.
There were a lot of adjectives in text A which is to be expected in a novel for teenagers, it helps give better detail thus a better understanding of the context and setting. The most common adjective in this text was “popular”, relating back to the content of this book and the main issue that is being discussed and tackled. The desire to be “popular” is Althea’s weakness and is what has caused her to be in the situation that she is. It also appeals to the female teenage audience who are going to be very familiar with this issue of popularity in high school and the constant desire and battle to be one of the ‘popular’ girls.
Within these adjectives I found a few hyponyms that can be grouped under a very similar theme. There were a few adjectives to describe appearance such as “blonde”, “brunette” and “slim”. These adjectives describe and put emphasis on what is seen as the ideal and preferred way to look. It plays on stereotypical perceptions of teenagers in particular which is mostly influenced by the media and its views on being “popular” and liked by others by being “slim”, “blonde” and “beautiful”. This appeals greatly to the teenage audience who will have some experience in regards to this and will either agree or disagree with it. The other hyponyms very similar to this were the adjectives used to describe the personality of a person. Adjectives such as “gentle” and “sweet” are used for this purpose and shows how appearance is dominantly judged in this context and personality, whether it is good or not, does not play as big a part. There is more mention of appearances to state how popularity is based on this.
Other adjectives I found such as “dark”, “black” and “obscene” have very negative connotations of evil and something very unpleasant. This helps in fulfilling the purpose of this text to frighten the audience and also create mystery.
There were a lot of comparatives used in this text such as “more” and “lovelier” as well as a superlative “most”. The use of these adjectives suggests to an extent the competitiveness which relates directly to high school and popularity. It also appeals to the teenage audience who will understand how in high school people are always competing to a point to look more beautiful to be liked more by others and to become more popular.
There were a lot more adjectives used in text B than in text A. Again this could be because text B is written in the form of a diary entry and the vast number of adjectives are used to note his observations with great detail with an in-depth description of every aspect of his own observations. A lot of these adjectives bare very negative connotations. Adjectives such as “evil”, “dark”, “stormy” and “mysterious” are used. These words have connotations of something corrupt and malicious and a sense of obscurity and something supernatural. This helps fulfill the aim of this text to scare the audience as well as creating mystery and building up tension which will also result in creating fright.
There are hardly any comparatives or superlatives found in this text. This is probably because it focuses more on real observations and allowing the audience to interpret this in their own way rather than using comparatives to compare aspects of his observations and giving a personal judgment on it. Also Jonathan Harker sets out to record his journey, the way things are and as they are seen.
There was a vast amount of verbs used in text A to describe the actions of the characters. Most of these verbs are written in the past tense such as “stayed” and “whispered”. This is done with an aim to simply fulfill the purpose of the text to inform the audience of actions that have took place. It is also mostly written in the past tense as it is a narrative text. Within the verbs there is a semantic field of contest which is suggested by the verbs “failed”, “won”, “beat” and “quit”. They have connotations of competition and its various paths and outcomes. This relates back to the content of the story as Althea competes for popularity. It also relates back to the social context and the female teenage audience as they will also be familiar with this competitiveness in high school, for popularity, being beautiful, competing for guys and other such things. There were also verbs used such as “suffer” and “hurt” which have very negative connotations of violence, pain and distress. Verbs such as “whispered”, “laughed” and “shivered” were used which give an eerie feel to it and creates tension and fright, fulfilling the aim of the text. There is cohesion of the verb “said” due to the extensive reported speech in this text.
There are also quite a few present participles in this text such as “feeding” and “yelling” to put the event in motion and make it more realistic. It helps develop ideas further and gives the reader a better feel of the content of the story, along with the aid of the other word classes. Within the present participles I found a contrasting pair of semantic fields in this text. The first one consists of verbs such as “yelling”, “screaming” and “teasing” which have negative connotations of insecurity and fright and this again contributes to the purpose and aim of the text to frighten the audience and inform and entertain. On the other hand is the semantic field consisting of verbs such as “dancing”, “smiling”, “cheerleading” and “gleaming”. These have positive connotations of happiness and fun, relating back to the content of the text. These two semantic fields provide a contrast between how Althea feels at this moment in her life and how it could all change and how her life could become , full of joy and laughter if she listens to the vampire in order to become popular and gain everything she has ever wanted.
There were a few modal auxiliary verbs in this text such as “could”, “would” and “will”. These modal auxiliaries give a sense of possibility. The most common one used in this text is “would”. This is used mainly in this context to reassure Althea of the possibilities of her becoming a cheerleader, thus one of the popular girls and in turn this modal auxiliary is used by Althea herself to imagine these dreams herself, “I would even be captain…and date somebody on the basketball team.”
There were slightly more verbs used in text B than text A. This could be because of its form as a diary entry, general observations are being made by Jonathan Harker therefore he is noting down every action he sees, whereas in text A it mostly focuses on the interaction between Althea and the vampire.
A lot of these verbs in text B are in the past tense as Jonathan Harker reports what he has already seen such as “followed” and “went”, but many are also in the present tense as he reports events as they are taking place such as “see” and “leads”. Within these verbs I found a contrasting pair of semantic fields. One was formed of verbs like “conquered”, “lost”, “feared” and “bowed”. These verbs have strong negative connotations of war, evil and darkness. It also suggests obedience and a sense of fear of a higher power, which helps fulfill its aim to create fright and mystery. In contrast to this there is a semantic field formed of verbs such as “enjoy”, “secure” and “smiled”. These verbs have strong positive connotations of safety, delight, happiness and bliss. With a contrasting positive side, when the suspense really builds up and the mystery starts being reveled, it makes the end result all the more shocking, helping fulfill the aim of the text.
There is cohesion of the verb “know”. This is particularly used in a specific part of the extract where this verb is repeated quite a few times. The use of this verb here is particularly suited as it places emphasis on what exactly Jonathan Harker doesn’t know. It puts emphasis on the content of the text and its purpose. It is referring to St. George’s day and the purpose of him being there in relation to this day. In Jonathan Harkers case it creates fear and curiosity of what he doesn’t know, but is yet to find out.
There is a moderate use of present participles that help put actions in motion and involve the audience by reporting events in the present day and in that exact moment. I found that a few of these present participles, “rushing”, “running” and “coming” gave away a sense of immediate actions taking place and connotations of urgency and prominence. There was a present participle that particularly stood out tome from amongst the rest of them, “fluttering”. This verb was used to describe an observation of someone’s clothes, “strips of something fluttering from them like the dresses in a ballet.” This verb has connotations of something soft and gentle, almost magical like fluttering fairies and links to the simile used of a ballet dress.
There were a few various modal auxiliary verbs used in this text such as “will” and “would” suggesting various strengths of possibility. There was cohesion of the modal auxiliary “must” which indicates a sense of strong will and determination as well as importance,” I must tell Mina”, the use of this modal auxiliary verb makes it sound like he has something very important that he must tell Mina about.
In text A I found a few adverbs that were used to describe a verb or an adjective like in this phrase, “extraordinarily beautiful” where the adverb “extraordinarily” is used to support the adjective “beautiful”. It places extra emphasis on the adjective, more specifically how beautiful Celeste is, as well as showing the strength of it in terms of exactly what is being meant by it.
There were more adverbs used in text B such as “immediately” and “anxiously” as it is written in the form of a diary entry therefore Jonathan Harkers observations are described in more depth to enable the audience to see things exactly how he sees. There was cohesion of the adverb “very” placing emphasis and exaggerating certain aspects of the text. He says at the beginning of the text “I feared to go very far from the station”; this could simply be due to the reason that he is in a foreign country and in an unfamiliar setting or it could be suggesting that there is something out there that he may have heard about that has made him scared to go out alone, he doesn’t know what could happen and doesn’t plan on getting himself into such a situation. This creates fear and suspense in the audience of something that is also unknown to them at this point in the text.
There were a few prepositions in text A such as “at” and “among” to describe place or positions again providing in depth detail of all the important aspects of its content and giving the text a sense of direction. In text B there were a lot more prepositions used such as “in the extreme east” and “on the top of steep hills” which links to the semantic field of geographical terms used widely throughout this text to describe Jonathan Harkers journey, not just the name of the place he has been but more specifically exactly where giving it more of a sense of direction.
There were a lot of various types of pronouns used in text A. As this is in the form of a novel, it is a narrative and mostly written in the third person. The most common pronoun used is “it” and “she”. “It” is used to refer to the vampire, and the use of this pronoun also makes it sound dehumanizing and unnatural. It adds a sense of mystery to it by not giving “it” any proper identification as the audience has not yet been told in this first chapter what “it” actually is. This helps fulfill part of its purpose by creating a sense of fright in the audience through the idea of the fear of the unknown.
There were a few possessive pronouns, all in the second person such as “her” to indicate possession. There was one reflective pronoun, “herself” which was used to….
Demonstrative pronouns such as “that” and “those” were used a few times to point out particular aspects like “those words” placing emphasis on what was said. Interrogative pronouns are used quite a lot. These include pronouns such as “what” and “who”. This also helps fulfill its aim to create mystery and suspense by suggesting all these questions that need answering, things about the content of the story that the audience is yet to find out.
Indefinite pronouns are used, “nobody” and “somebody”. These were the only two I found in this text; they provide a generalisation and does not give any specifics. They are very uncommon in the text due to its form as a novel for teenagers to inform and entertain, therefore more specific details are found more commonly throughout the text.
I found a few relative pronouns, “which” and “that”. They are simply used to link sentences and this type of sentence is suitable for the intended audience of teenagers, it is not too simple or too complex for them to follow.
In text B there is cohesion of the pronoun “I” because this text is in the form of a diary; it is expected to be written in the first person narrative as this text is simply the personal account of Jonathan Harker. The pronoun “it” is also used commonly throughout the text as it was in text B; however the purpose of this pronoun varies in both texts. In text B this pronoun is used more to refer to inanimate objects such as “it was called a paprika hendl” where this pronoun is used to refer to a food dish.
The Count Dracula is not referred to as “it” in this text as the vampire was in text A as the Dracula is held in more high esteem and respected and feared by the people of Transylvania, thus the audience as well therefore there is no need to build up this tension through the suspense of not knowing what this “it” is like in text A. Instead this fear and suspense is created in text B through the use of integrative pronouns such as “when”, “who” and “what”. Towards the end of this extract the old lady says to Jonathan Harker “when the clock strikes midnight…do you know where you are going…what you are going to do…” These interrogative pronouns used here create mystery, there is something that Jonathan Harker appears not to know about and this is all a mystery to the audience aswell building up tension and fear in the audience. It is almost preparing the audience for something that will come as a scary shock to them and Jonathan.
There was cohesion of the possessive pronoun “my” as it is a personal diary entry and he has written extensively about his thoughts and views on what he has seen such as “my memory” and “my stay”. Demonstrative pronouns have been used a few times throughout the text to point out certain things during his journey such as “this country” placing emphasis on his current location and also fulfilling the purpose of the text to inform the audience of events and settings. The use of these demonstrative pronouns also acts as deictic expressions as if he is pointing at things and showing the audience giving it a sense of discourse and making it quite conversational and friendly towards the audience.
Indefinite pronouns have also been used such as ” anything” and “anyone” making a generalisation of things and people that he has seen in his travels that he is collectively referring to as he does not think they hold much relevance or importance individually in regards to him and his stay there for this short time. There were a lot of relative pronouns “which” and “that”; these simply link sentences together and are used in this text by Jonathan Harker to explain and make connections between aspects of his journey.
In text A there is a mixture of monosyllabic (one syllable) and polysyllabic (more than one syllable) words. It uses a lot of monosyllabic words throughout the text such as “voice” and “life”; these words are short and quick to read adding to the creation of fear and tension in the audience. The monosyllabic words with a mixture of polysyllabic words such as “gleaming” and “sprinkled” are a good mixture which enables the teenage audience to understand the content without much difficulty. There are a few alliterations used in this one paragraph towards the beginning of the text which talks about how Altheas life in her old school used to be like; part of a circle of “giggly girlfriends”…won “several silver” ribbons and wanted to become a “serious skier”. These alliterations have the effect of sounding catchy and memorable and therefore the audience is more likely to remember these important phrases, the things that used to be which Althea longs for again
Looking at the phonemes of text B there are a lot of sharp sounds present like z, s, k in words like Transylvania, Moldavia and Bukovina. This gives it a sense of mystery and helps build up tension aiding the aim of the text to create mystery and fear in the audience. There is a mixture of monosyllabic and polysyllabic terms in this text however there are a lot more polysyllabic words used such as “Transylvania”, “ordnance survey maps”, “mamaliga” and “impletata” the use of these longer more complex words is more suited to the adult audience who shouldn’t have much difficulty understanding these words and they are also suited to the historical context as it was written in the 1900s when the English language was a lot more complex and formal and a lot of these words aren’t used anymore as part of today’s speech. The onomatopoeia “smattering” is used at the beginning of the text to describe Jonathan Harkers’ German, giving the audience this feeling of him being a bit unfamiliar and uneasy in these settings. There isn’t really any alliterations, rhymes or other phonological features found in text B in comparison to text A as text B is more spontaneous due to its form as a diary entry where feelings and observations are written down as seen and first thoughts as Jonathan Harker thought of in regards to these observations.