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Analysis of the Character of Dr. House in Medical Drama: House M.D from the Pespective of Turn-taking Theory

Author: ShenZuo
Tutor: KangJunYing
School: Shanxi Normal University
Course: Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords: turn-taking dramatic stylistics House M.D character
CLC: J905
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2014
Downloads: 1
Quote: 0
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Turns are defined as the sustaining sayings a speaker says in a conversation at any time,ending with the roles-exchange between the addressor and the listener and the silence whichmeans both sides want to give up the right to speak (Li&Fan,2002). As the term implies,turn-taking indicates that conversation participants take turns to speak and play the role ofspeaker and listener alternatively. Turn-taking theory was systemically proposed by Sacks,Schegloff and Jefferson (1974) who laid a firm foundation for the development of turn-takingtheory. Turn-taking was then gradually applied to the analysis of daily conversations, teachertalks from1970s to1980s. Its representatives are Sinclair, Coultard and Brazil. By the late1980s, with the development of dramatic stylistics and the continuous improvement ofturn-taking theory, scholars gradually apply the turn-taking analysis to the literature discourse.Breakthroughs have been made when researchers combine turn-taking analysis with thedramatic stylistics at home. For instance, Wang Hong (2006) holds that dramatic text shouldbe analyzed from the following three aspects, that is, turn-allocation, turn distribution andturn-length, turn sequencing. While Yu Dongming and Li Huadong (2001) put forward amodel of quantitative turn-taking analysis which includes the initiation and control of topics,turn-length, turn-types, interruption and monologue, and turn-control strategies. This modelcan not only reveal the characters’ personalities and the power relationships, but also reflectthe characters’ value orientation and the law of the plot’s development. Furthermore, thismodel also provides a new method for appreciating literal works. Despite the relatively abundant research findings in the field of turn-taking analysis, littleattention has been paid to turn-taking analysis of TV plays which have gained a rapiddevelopment as an extended dramatic form. Thus, this research will adopt the turn-takinganalysis model of Yu Dongming and Li Huadong (2001) to reveal the multi-sided character ofDr. House in the medical drama: House M.D.House M.D, first released on Nov.11,2004, is a famous American medical drama,produced by the celebrated director: David Shore. Since then, House M.D becomes one of themost watched television plays on the Fox TV network. From2004to2012, with its hero, Dr.House who are odd, aloof and lame explains the significance of life with his uniquepersonality charm and multiple character.Through the detailed analysis which is based on the model of Yu Dongming and LiHuadong, this thesis is prone to reveal that House, the hero in this TV play, has multi-sidedcharacter. He is not only earnest and smart, but also malicious and autocratic. Broadlyspeaking, House has both angelical personalities and demonic personalities. Whether in thetwo-characters dialogues or the multi-characters conversations, House’s character isexplicityly depicted.The thesis can not only help researchers and audiences to make an exact well-foundedexplanation about the performance of the figures, but also prompt the dramatic critics andpercipient from an objective way. Furthermore, turn-taking theory can help Englishlearners comprehend literal works from the perspective of linguistics to a large extent.

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