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Simon Hughes Article “Hook off!”

In his article, Simon Hughes uses a number of literary devices in order to stir readers’ emotions and drive their attention to the facts. He starts with a non-propositional absolute construction (Houghton Mifflin Company 2005, 347) to make his writing sound more eloquent: “The convoy, blue lights flashing” (Hughes 2012, para. 4). In the very next sentence, a parenthetic construction is used in order to put the emphasis on the costs taken in order to provide decent security: “Two executive jets – a Gulfstream V owned by the US Department of Justice and a privately-owned Dassault Falcon 900 – were waiting to fly the group across the Atlantic” (Hughes 2012, para. 5). As soon as Hughes sets the mood for his report and makes it obvious to the audience what he has in store for them, he uses a meaningful ellipsis: “Clash… alone anti-Hamza protester” (Hughes 2012, para. 9).

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Finally, Hughes resorts to metonymy and a metaphor in the same sentence: “He cost taxpayers more than £3.5 million during his fight to dodge justice” (Hughes 2012, para. 12). In the given sentence, the phrase “he cost taxpayers” is a metonymy for “his actions cost taxpayers”; indeed, the actions of a person (Hazma) are transferred onto his personality in the given an example (Barcelona, Benczes & Ibáñez 2011, 129). In its turn, the phrase “dodge justice” is a metaphor for the phrase “to avoid justice,” with justice being compared to a bullet (as in “to dodge a bullet”). Apart from eloquence, the given stylistic devices help convey the irony that the entire article is shot through.

The linguistic and especially stylistic choices made by the author of the article inform its genre as a newspaper article in a very graphic manner. For example, the expression “an n-year legal battle” seems to have become a staple of journalist time cluster – for the lack of a better expression, the given phrase is used whenever words do not come easy to the author of the article. NY Times uses it: “25-year legal battle” (Preston 1996, title), Guardian uses it: “a three-year legal battle” (Branigan 2004, para. 31) – it is everywhere. Hughes also falls prey to the popular stereotype with his “eight-year legal battle” (Hughes 2012, para. 1).

Finally, it must be admitted that a newspaper article cannot maintain a neutral tone; its author has to pick a side in order to comment on a particular social event. The reasons for the given feature of newspaper articles to exist are debatable; however, in the given excerpt, its effects are obvious. It is clear from the tone of the article that the author uses irony to stress the light methods of treating a dangerous felon, seeing how he does not simply mention that Hazma was under constant surveillance, but uses such an emotionally coloured word as “shackles” instead of a comparatively neutral “handcuffs” to prove a point (Hughes 2012, para. 7).

Reference List

Barcelona, A, Benczes, R & Ibáñez, F J R, de 2011, Defining metonymy in cognitive linguistics: towards a consensus view, John Benjamins Publishing, Philadelphia, PA.

Branigan, T 2004, ‘The Guardian profile: James Dyson,’ The Guardian, Web.

Houghton Mifflin Company 2005, The American heritage guide to contemporary usage and style, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, MA.

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Hughes S 2012, ‘Hook off! After eight years, ranting Hamza finally lands in America to face terror trial,’ The Sun, Web.

Preston, J 1996, ‘Whitman steps cautiously into 25-year legal battle over school financing,The New York Times, Web.

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