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Tropes based on Peculiar Use of Set Expressions




Exercise 4.5. Read the following sentences and analyse the units in bolt type. Find cases of proverbs and sayings, quotations, and decomposition of set phrase in them. Speak about the effect produced by them. Find allusions, say where they are taken from and what is the purpose of their use:



But I can’t complain too much about old Glenn. In a way he playedCupid to me and Gina. /Tony Parson Man and Boy/


The speaker dislikes Glenn for some reason, because he wants to “complain”; however, he can’t show his dissatisfaction, because Glenn helped him to start a relationship with Gina. To express this idea the author resorts to the periphrasis “to play Cupid to”, in which “Cupid” is an allusion to god of love in Roman methology.


1. If she had matches, maybe she could make a fire – the rain would keep it from spreading – and someone would see the smoke. Of course, if pigs had wings, bacon would fly. Her father said that. /Stephen King The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon/


2. There was a little hut with a pump inside it and a sign, which read: WATER TEST OK FOR DRINKING. PLEASE FILL PRIMER JUG FOR NEXT PERSON. Suddenly all Trisha wanted in the world was to prime the pump in the little hut and get a drink, cold and fresh. She would drink and pretend she was Bilbo Baggins, on his way to the Misty Mountains. /Stephen King The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon/


3. “Dad? You saw the doctor?”

“Right as rain,” he said. “Fit as a fiddle.”

“Really? What about your breathing?”

“He shouldn’t be smoking, should he?” my mum said. /Tony Parson Man and Boy/


4. For the most part it was useless testimony, evoked not for the sake of information, but rather to annoy the witness and put him on notice that the skeletons could be summoned from the closet. /John Grisham The Testament/


5. Trisha followed the stream with her head down and a scowl on her face, as intent as Sherlock Holmes following prints left by the Hound of Baskervilles. /Stephen King The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon/


6. “I’m sorry. I didn’t have a chance to call you. I had to go out of town May I come over?”

“You know you may. I’m so glad you’re all right.”

“Half an hour.” He replaced the receiver and thought happily, ‘The time has come,’ the Walrus said, ‘To talk of many things.’ Kat, baby, it was great fun, but it was just one of those things. /Sidney Sheldon Nothing Lasts Forever/


7. Once more she sensed a disquieting strangeness in the mundane scene around her, as if this were not the ordinary elevator alcove that it appeared to be, but was in fact the tunnel where Frodo and his companion Sam Gamgee had confronted the great pulsing, many-eyed spider.

Responding to a sound behind her, she turned with dread, half expecting to see Shelob looming. The elevator door was rolling shut. Nothing more than that. /Dean Koontz False Memory/


8. If Cora […] knew she was here, and more important, why she was here, she would probably never speak to Myra again. Because Cora wanted the picture, too. Never mind that, Myra thought. […] First come, first served. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. /Stephen King Needful Things/


9. Hurrying down the stairs, she heard more lines of Poe’s poem reverberating in her mind:

Hear the loud alarum bells –

Brazen bell!

What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!

/Dean Koontz Cold Fire/


10. He is one of those brand-new hotshots, grew up on Perry Mason, thinks he’s smarter than he is. /Jonathan Kellerman The Clinic/


Checking Your Progress:


Exercise 4.6. Read the following sentences and point out cases of proverbs and sayings, decomposition of set phrase, quotation and allusions (say where they are taken from). Speak about the effect produced:



Carver didn’t feel like making small or large talk with anyone. “Private beach down here,” he said, keeping his voice amiable. /John Lutz Blood Fire/


The author shows that Carver did not want any company. This idea is rendered through decomposition of the set phrase “to make a small talk” = light conversation on unimportant subjects, in which the word “small” revives an independent meaning with addition of the word “large”. His announcement “private beach’ also hints at his preference to be alone.


1. And how does this tie in with Tom Chelgrin and his daughter? I have to tell you, curiosity got me in nearly as bad as the proverbial cat. /Dean Koontz The Key To Midnight/


2. His smile was warm. “You’re not just a half brother. You’re a brother and a half.” /Dean Koontz False Memory/


3. Trisha sat where she was for a moment, turning her face up to the sun and closing her eyes. Then she dragged her pack into her lap and put her hands inside, mixing the berries and nuts together. Doing this made her think of Uncle scrooge McDuck playing around in his money-vault, and she laughed delightedly. /Stephen King The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon/


4. Alan was sitting in front of a huge mural which depicted a medley of Mother Goose rhymes. One section of the mural showed a man leaning across a table, holding something out to a boy. […] Something about this particular image had struck Alan, and a snatch of childhood rhyme rose like a whisper in his mind:

Simple Simon met a pie-man

going to the fair.

“Simple Simon,” said the pie-man,

“come and taste my wares!”

/Stephen King Needful Things/


5. “Cascade, Colorado,” Skeet said, pronouncing it as if it were a magical place, home to wizards and gryphons and unicorns. /Dean Koontz False Memory/


6. Madness sometimes ran in families, didn’t it? Like father like son. /Dean Koontz The Vision/


7. Looking at the fox-tail in the display window of Needful Things, it struck him that it had been the best day of his life, one of the last days before the booze had caught him in its rubbery, pliant grip, turning him into a weird variation of King Midas: everything he touched since then, it seemed had turned to shit. /Stephen King Needful Things/


8. In the investigation business you always tried to kill two or three birds with one stone to justify the expense of long excursions. /James Herbert Others/


9. “Everybody’s making such a big deal about ten-year-olds with Uzis but it’s just Fagin and the street rats with a little technology thrown in, right?” /Joseph Kellerman The Clinic/


10. To the real birds above, Jim whispered, “’Quoth the Raveb, Nevermore.’” /Dean Koontz Cold Fire/

Date: 2016-01-03; view: 623

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