Old houses, linguistics and literature in schools
what stylistic analysis can offer
Keywords:Literature, Stylistic Analysis, Systemic Functional Linguistics, Education
This article seeks to demonstrate how socially relevant linguistic analysis, using a sufficiently ‘extravagant’ theoretical framework, can provide a founded argument for the value of particular literary texts – and more generally the social, cultural and intellectual worth of literature – in a school curriculum. Through a stylistic analysis using Systemic Functional Grammar of a poem by one of Singapore’s foremost writers, it examines how its language patterns artistically coalesce into a secondary patterning to encode important socio-historical information and thematic issues of relevance to National Education, a key concern of Singapore schools. Thus, it reveals and suggests how literature can be used to meet this concern, as well as another key concern, the stimulation of critical and creative thinking, while simultaneously enhancing awareness of the power of language in the construction of meaning. In so doing, it suggests how literature should have a central place in the school curriculum.
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