Doctor and is centered on a black jazz pianist, Schoolhouse Walker Jar. The text contains a detailed narration of the way Schoolhouse Walker Jar. Made his appearance at a certain house In which a white family lived. We are given neither the names of the family, nor their ages, nor any other details. The author calls them Mother, Father, Grandfather, Mother’s Younger Brother and the boy, but they do not play an important part in the story. It is, a young black woman Sarah, living with the family, who Is the focus of the narration.
It Is for her sake Schoolhouse keeps vaulting the house and does not seem discouraged at her constant refusals to see him. The author gives very scanty information about Sarah. We come to know she had a baby, but we are in the dark about her life story, her relatives and friends. The author does not present any direct facts, the reader has to read between the lines. As we can gather from the extract Schoolhouse and Sarah loved each other and must have been on intimate terms. But later her lover abandoned her and she bore his child.
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The author does not explain the man’s behavior in any way and it is left for the deader to guess the reason for his actions. But nonetheless, the reader does not make an unpleasant Judgment. It seems Schoolhouse had left the woman he loved not because he did not care or was irresponsible; from Schoolhouse’s own words, the reader can conclude that he had to make a living, and he could not have done it staying in one place. “It is important, he said, for a musician to find a place that was permanent, a Job that required no traveling… I am through traveling, he said, I am through going on the road. In this extract, schoolhouse appeared after some erne had passed. He had obviously found his place in the sun, having become rather well-to- do. He could afford to have a family of his own and wanted Sarah to be with him. He wanted to make amends, for he felt a sense of remorse for having abandoned her, and he had never stopped loving her. But Sarah, who had suffered too much, did not feel forgiving. The plot of the passage is not of major importance, and the action proceeds slowly. The narration itself is precise but dry. The writer does not express his opinion about the events and his characters’ conduct, but he simply states the facts.
He sounds aloof and detached. The ending is not clear, it is ambiguous and vague, and leaves room for suggestion. The text belongs to a psychological type of writing, as the writer is more Interested in his characters’ feelings and relations reflected In their behavior than In the narration of events. The main characters are Schoolhouse Walker Jar. And Sarah, though very little is said about the girl. The other characters serve only as the background; they are not even given names. It enables the author to concentrate all the attention on the conflict between the pianist and Sarah.
The reader gets an Idea that their conflict Is very deep underneath, though nothing Is expressed explicitly. Most information is left behind the lines. What is implied outweighs what is expressed. 1 OFF with the story, and its emotional mood the reader finds himself involved into their conflict and is ready to share their feelings and to sympathize with them. The narration centers around Schoolhouse. The author describes in detail and with much precision his visits to the family, the attitude of the family members towards him, his playing the piano, the music he played, and its impact on the listeners.
The author uses few epithets and metaphors to describe Schoolhouse’s appearance and conduct. But he underlines time and again Schoolhouse’s reserve, calm and politeness, employing adjectives “respectful”, “courteous”, “correct”, “solemn” and “stiff’. Despite his outer calm Schoolhouse was very nervous and tense, but he managed to restrain himself. The simile (he had) “large dark eyes, so intense as to suggest they were about to cross” reveals Schoolhouse’s real state of mind: he was suffering a great nervous anxiety. In this way the author creates an atmosphere of suspense, and the reader is intrigued as to the possible reasons for this nervousness.
The mood of the following narration becomes tense, the psychological strain keeps growing, the impression being augmented by the entire structure of the excerpt. The lines describing Sarah are in the same strained key. One gains this impression from such epithets as: (standing) “rigidly’, (said) “softly’, “mute and unforgiving”. On the whole, the main characters act and speak little: “The girl said nothing. “; “The girl shook her head. “; “The pianist responded with a tense shake of the head. “. It is not their actions and words that matter but their inner feelings, sufferings and anguish.
They seem to be conducting a silent dialogue. Schoolhouse is pleading with Sarah to forgive him, and she is making a great effort to refuse him. At first sight, the extract is very simple in plot and style. But a more thorough analysis shows that a serious problem is raised here. Moreover, the structural pattern on which the narration is built appears to be very complex. The passage is based on contrasts of different types which concern composition, style and language means employed in it. In addition, the writer reflects the peculiarities of Jazz music in his text firstly, because the main character is a Jazz pianist.
Secondly, Jazz had become very popular at that time in America, therefore the whole structure of the text is suggestive of the atmosphere of that period. Finally, the ragged nervous rhythm of ragtime is very effective in revealing the characters’ strong emotions in a compact and dynamic way. The imitation of the ragtime rhythm in the text can be observed in the syntax of the excerpt. The abrupt changes from short simple sentences to long expanded and complex ones with lots of participial constructions and subordinate clauses resemble the irregular and throbbing melody of ragtime. Some places sound ere dry and memo sonless.
One can hardly find any imagery at all, but the other lines are full of repetitions, ellipsis, parallel constructions and inversion, all of which reveal deep feelings: “l am through traveling, he said. I am through going on the road” (repetition). “Such was the coming of the colored man in the car to Broadside Avenue. His name was Schoolhouse Walker Jar. Beginning with that Sunday he appeared every week, always knocking at the back door. Always turning away without complaint upon Sarah’s refusal to see him. ” (inversion, repetition, ellipsis). All this contributes to he effect of great emotional tension.
In general, the mood of the passage is tense, and in the course of the narration the tension keeps growing. The strained other thing that strikes the reader is the incongruity between an everyday and ordinary situation and the bookish literary words used to describe the situation: reside, affection, presume, depart, exhilarate, intransigence, propriety, deferential, delineate, entire, locate, secure, perceive, respond, etc. It is also necessary to consider the peculiar way in which Doctor presents the speech of his characters. There are no inverted commas to single out their utterances, which form an integral part of the narration.
The characters’ speech is something intermediate between direct and uttered represented speech. Thus, the author emphasizes that what is said by this or that character does not matter very much. Their words do not reflect their thoughts and feelings, they have other means of transmitting them. The main contrast ( I. E. The contrast between the painful and dramatic inner struggle of the main characters and their outer calm and reserve) is developed in several ways. For example, the author opposes Schoolhouses cool and reserved behavior awards a piece of music he played.
The sentences narrating the story are very dry, devoid of any imagery, there is hardly any adjective used, but they abound in verbs of action. As a result, the tempo of the narration is rather fast. These devices create a strained atmosphere and the suspense which keeps growing throughout the following sentences. Besides, the writer resorts to very few epithets to depict the pianist. But in contrast, the description of the ragtime he played is rich in all kinds of tropes: similes “Small clear chords hung in the air like bouquets. There seemed to be o other possibilities for life than those delineated by the music. ; epithets “small clear chords”, “thumping octaves”, “robust composition”, “vigorous music”, metaphors “chords hung in the air”, “clusters of chords”, “the music filled the stairway’, (the music) “never stopped a moment”. The same concerns the syntactic stylistic devices. At this point the syntax becomes very complicated, the sentences are long, mostly complex and with developed participial constructions: “The pianist sat stiffly at the keyboard, his long dark hands with their pink nails seemingly with no efforts producing the clusters of syncopating words and the thumping octaves. But the music ends, and the syntactic pattern of the narration changes abruptly. The sentences are simple, short and parallel: “Schoolhouse Walker was solemn. Everyone was standing. There was a silence. Father cleared his throat. ” The sentences describing the music are very colorful and beautiful, because beautiful was the music itself and passionate was Schoolhouse’s performance. He expressed himself through his music, giving free rein to his repressed feelings. He tried to incite Sarah, to show her what he thought and felt, how much he suffered ND how remorseful he was.
The music Schoolhouse played was his passionate monologue addressed to Sarah. Here is the climax of the whole passage, the peak of its emotional development, the point of the highest strain and greatest passion and, perhaps, the turning point in the lives of the characters. Their behavior is not going to be the same as it was before. Something is to happen and to change their lives. The reader knows that Sarah listened to Schoolhouse and she heard his message, because her door was kept open and the music filled the whole house.