A window into interpersonal relations in Jane Eyre from the perspective of imperatives
Yisong Li and Changsong Wang
Text & Talk, https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2020-0017This paper explores the correlations between imperative sentences and interpersonal relations in Jane Eyre. The imperatives uttered by Rochester, St. John, and Mrs. Reed to Jane are examined from four perspectives: quantity, imperative force, addressing, and Jane’s corresponding responses. It is found that the variation in these aspects matches well with the development of interpersonal relations. Specifically, when the addresser and Jane get more intimate in relationship, the quantities of the imperatives tend to decline, the imperative force tends to soften, the addressing becomes more personal, and Jane’s compliance to the imperatives tends to decrease and her non-compliance tends to increase. It is proposed that new indicators in imperatives (i.e. vocatives, personal pronouns and directional verbs like come and go in imperatives) can be adopted to evaluate interpersonal relations in a literary work.
Imperatives in Jane Eyre
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