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Shift of Power in David Mamet’s Oleanna: A Study within Grice’s Cooperative Principles

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This article is devoted to analyze verbal interactions in Oleanna [1993] within Grice’s Cooperative Principles [1975] in order to illustrate how the shift of power gradually takes place in the academic discourse of the play. Maxims of this principle are applied on John’s utterances in the first act on which the foundation of asymmetric relationship is laid. As expected within Grice’s framework, the breaching of maxims, besides their observation, is performed by John through four ways of violating, opting out, clashing and flouting. The conversational implicaturs consequently generating from the flouting of some maxims, most frequently of quality, and quantity, conflict with Carol’s assumptions about the state of professorship in academic context which motivate her for gaining power. The study, thereby, aims to demonstrate how clashing and flouting of maxims by John make him weak to Carol’s new voice and culminate in reversal in teacher-student relationship in the play.


International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 72)
R. Dayani and F. A. Amjad, "Shift of Power in David Mamet’s Oleanna: A Study within Grice’s Cooperative Principles", International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Vol. 72, pp. 76-82, 2016
Online since:
August 2016

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