The universality of the sounds and silences in the works of Sarah Orne Jewett

Guymon, Susan Wayne Land
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It is the purpose of this thesis to offer evidence that the works of Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) have universal application and appeal. Specifically, the thesis explores Jewett's uses of silences, non-verbal communication (gesture), and symbolic sounds in nature as her means of creating in the reader a sense of union with his fellow man and with nature. The study identifies silence devices in Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs, "A Dunnet Shepherdess," "William's Wedding," and "A White Heron." It then examines the rhethorical functions of the devices identified, analyzes them for their contributions to the meaning of each text and/ or theme, and evaluates each device's intrinsic universality. The thesis concludes that Jewett used the noted rhetorical devices to lead her reader into identifying with characters, recognizing and responding to their humanity, and, as a result, finding messages of universal application and appeal.

Language, literature, and linguistics, Sarah Orne Jewett, Non-verbal communication, Symbolic sounds, Silence devices, Nature