A Corpus Stylistics Study of the Mental Clauses and Speech and Thought Presentation of Gilbert’s (2006) ‘Eat Pray Love’


Elizabeth Gilbert's (2006) memoir Eat Pray Love depicts her journey of self-discovery in her trips to Italy, India and Indonesia following a difficult divorce. Among the three phases of the author's journey, the 'eat' and 'love' aspects have received far more responses from readers, but, overall, the author's experiences with love, loss and the pursuit of happiness have created resonance with a huge readership. Nevertheless, very little attention has been given to the 'pray' domain of the author's truth-seeking journey. Combining the methodological tools of corpus linguistics and stylistics, this study will conduct a corpus-based stylistics analysis of the pray part of Gilbert's (2006) Eat Pray Love (from chapters 37 to 72) with reference to the mental clauses and speech and thought presentation depicted in the fiction. The study uses the corpus analysis toolkit provided by a freeware AntConc, including concordancer, word and keyword frequency generators, tools for cluster and lexical bundle analysis, and a word distribution plot for the investigation of selected lexical items. For linguistic frameworks, the study will employ relevant features from Halliday's (1994) transitivity system for the exploration of the mental clauses containing the lexis such as 'think,' 'feel,' 'mind,' 'meditate,' 'pray,' and Simpson's (1993) point of view model for the investigation of free direct speech and thought presentation. The underlying objectives of the research are to explore the author's ideology and point of view in the representation of spiritual concepts related to mindfulness and meditation, and the potential for the use of corpora in stylistics.

Author Information
Elaine Yin Ling Ng, Vocational Training Council, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: ACLL2016
Stream: Linguistics

This paper is part of the ACLL2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon