The Search for Happiness: Literary Stylistics in Eugene O’Neill’s Beyond the Horizon
Keywords:Literary Stylistics, Dream vs real reality, Happiness, Intentional Reality Sarcasm, Modern Drama, Literary Stylistics, Dream vs real reality, happiness, intentional reality sarcasm, modern drama, tragedy.
The present paper analyzes the game of happiness and it approaches the American dream in Eugene O’Neill’s Beyond the Horizon from a stylistic angle. In his Poetic Effects, Adrian Pilkington studies the interdisciplinarity and the close relationship between literary studies and stylistics. The linguist argues that literary stylistics emerges because ‘literary works are organized in such a way that the meanings potentially communicated are communicated through the contextual assumptions that the writer makes manifest through the language used’ (Pilkington 63). O’Neill uses different stylistic devices to attack modern American social institutions. He puts on stage two brothers who cannot reach happiness because of their constant oscillation between illusory dreams and real reality.
The fake pursuit of happiness will also be analyzed through stylistics, linguistic games, the significance of metaphors and the use of allusions. The philosopher Wittgenstein studies the importance of decoding the linguistic game and its role in understanding reality. Wittgenstein argues that linguistic games consist in ‘constructing an object from a description, reporting an event, forming and testing a hypothesis, making up a story, play acting and making a joke’ (Perinbanayagan 165). Irony, jokes, linguistic games, allegory, metonymy, extended metaphors and other stylistic devices will be used to map out the way O’Neill dramatizes the tragedy of the brothers and their failure at achieving the American dream of material success or the dream of family union. The final goal of the paper is to show the role of literary stylistics in decoding O’Neill’s message about the necessity of reconstructing links with reality.
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