Daddy-Long-Legs analysis

Categories: Fathers
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The text under analysis is a passage from an epistolary novel written by a well-known American writer Jean Webster. She was active politically and socially, and often included issues of interest in her books. This book is written in belles-lettres style. The story has a narrative presentation and the subject of the extract is drown from life.

The author places herself in the position of the main character. The main character is a Judy. The novel episode by episode describes the life of Judy in the College.

It’s unfolded through the first person narration (an “I-story”), as it’s written in the form of letters of Judy to Mr. Daddy-Long-Legs, a rich man whom she has never seen. This extract is the first letter of Judy to Mr. Smith. The style of the letter is informal.It is written in emotional tone,what corresponds definite difficulties for translation.

The language of this letter is full of syntactical means. There is example of gradation : ‘It seems strange for me to be writing letters to somebody you don’t know.

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It seems strange to be writing letters at all’. We can reproduce it with the help of such grammatical transformation as transposition. The translator can use the following grammatical transformation, for example, replacement:

  • 1) When we change Active Voice on Passive Voice, e.g. Before leaving yesterday morning, Mrs. Lippett and I had a very serious talk.
  • 2) When we change a noun on the verb, e.g. I will write you a description


By translation the embedding can be used, e.

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g. I will write you a description later when I’m feeling less confused.

There is an example of conversion, when we use the replacement, e.g. having somebody take an interest in me after all these years, makes me feel as though I had found a sort of family. There is an idiom, which one can translate with the help of phraseological equivalent, e.g. a great deal.

The author uses such lexical expressive means as antonomasia. It is presented here by the so-called “speaking names”, which intrduce informality into the letter and difficulties for translation, e.g.

  • Daddy-Long-Legs;
  • Dear Kind-Trustee-Who-Sends-Orphans-to-College-Mr. Girl-Hater
  • Mr. Rich-Man


There are also some prope names, which should be transcribed, e.g.


The lexical expressive means as similie can be find, e.g. I feel like a fire horse all of the time. The author achieves the humorous effect because of so-called Speaking Names and funny tone of the whole letter, for example, a rethorical question: “Why couldn’t you have picked out a name with a little personality?” The writing style helps us to understand better the chaming character of Jerusha Abbott, her naive and witty thoughts and ideas. The translator should keep the atmosphere of the text and retain all syntactical and lexical expressive means.

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Daddy-Long-Legs analysis. (2016, Mar 27). Retrieved from

Daddy-Long-Legs analysis

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