David Gugin

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Hardy, Donald E., 1955-

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of English


O'Connor; Flannery--Criticism and interpretation; English language--Topic and comment; English language--Sentences; English language--Discourse analysis


This dissertation analyzed the syntax and pragmatics of the pseudo-cleft in the fiction of Flannery O'Connor. This analysis of the syntactic behavior and information structure of the pseudo-cleft in O'Connor illustrated the specific manner in which she employed and patterned a particular grammatical structure. It also showed how stylistics, the linguistic study of literature, could help inform and clarify a long-running discussion in O'Connor literary criticism—the relationship in her fiction between expectation and counterexpectation, repetition, and surprise. Furthermore, this dissertation demonstrated that almost one-quarter (22%) of O'Connor's pseudo-clefts package given information in both their precopular and postcopular constituents (Rel-clause and focused element). Since previous descriptions of the pseudo-cleft, descriptions based primarily on intuitive examples or samples taken from nonliterary language, had not countenanced the possibility of these given + given pseudo-clefts, the dissertation provided persuasive evidence of the overall value of literary language in the study of linguistics. It shows how stylistics could be used to augment and expand existing analyses of syntax and pragmatics. Concurrently, this dissertation also demonstrates the validity and importance of computer-aided, corpora-based stylistics and truly empirical, data-driven research.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [161]-166).


vii, 207 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type