Tag Article List: grammar

First-Person Adolescent Storytellers and Virginia Tufte’s Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style

Kristin Leonard
Northern Arizona University
Pittsfield, Maine, United States



In Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style, Virginia Tuft illustrates how grammar, word choice, and syntax strategies help to generate the perfect juxtaposition of words and punctuation that will make each sentence pop (Clark). Tufte’s handbook includes examples from a variety of texts; for example, John Keats, Andy Warhol, Ernest Hemingway, Julia Child’s The Joy of Cooking, and more. However, there is a noticeable lack of adolescent narrators in Tufte’s smorgasbord of literature examples. This lack is significant, due to the popularity of first-person narrators in adolescent literature. Therefore, in order to analyze whether Tufte’s syntax strategies can also be applied to first-person adolescent narrators, two contrasting teenage protagonists were examined: Matilda, in Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever 1793, and Saba, in Moira Young’s Blood Red Road. The final analysis illustrates that Virginia Tufte’s syntax strategies, in Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style, are equally effective when applied to first-person adolescent storytellers, particularly strategies that include verbs, fragments, and the creation of cohesiveness.

Keywords: adolescent fiction, grammar, first-person narration, Virginia Tuft, creative writing strategies, young adult fiction

Author Bio

Kristin Leonard holds an M.A. in English (Northern Arizona University) an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (University of Southern Maine).She is also a doctoral student (Education, Northern Arizona University). She teaches at Husson University in Bangor, Maine, Thomas College in Waterville, Maine, and Unity College in Unity, Maine. Her critical and creative work has appeared in The Explicator, Postcolonial Text, The Atlantic, The Ekphrastic Review, Maine’s Best Emerging Poets, and more. She is also the 2019 recipient of the Maine Literary Award for Drama. Join her kristinjleonard.com

Suggested Reference citation 

Leonard, K. (2020). First-person adolescent storytellers and Virginia Tufte’s Artful sentences: Syntax as style. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, 7(1). http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v7-issue-1/first-person-adolescent-storytellers-and-virginia-tuftes-artful-sentences-syntax-as-style/

Leonard, Kristin. “First-Person Adolescent Storytellers and Virginia Tufte’s Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style.” Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, vol 7, no 1, 2020, http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v7-issue-1/first-person-adolescent-storytellers-and-virginia-tuftes-artful-sentences-syntax-as-style/

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