Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2589-7233
  • E-ISSN: 2589-7241
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Peter Carey’s short story (Carey 1994 [1974]) presents a recalibration of consciousness as a small Australian town gradually becomes Americanized. The text foregrounds epistemological concerns by demonstrating a clear tendency toward delayed understanding. For this reason, I argue that the story is an instance of modernist fiction: a label not previously applied to Carey’s stories. In contrast with popular modernist techniques such as free indirect discourse and stream of consciousness, the techniques presented in the text appear to be covert, which may at least partially explain why the story has managed to avoid being labelled modernist by literary critics until now. Using analytical tools grounded in systemic functional grammar and appraisal categories, I demonstrate how linguistic analysis can lay bare the covert modernist techniques at work in the story, indicating that such an approach can be a useful complement to non-linguistic literary criticism.


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