Free Essay

Traditional Sunday Breakfast

In: English and Literature

Submitted By siss1829
Words 452
Pages 2
Irvine Welsh 'Trainspotting'
Extract from ‘Trainspotting’: Traditional Sunday breakfast.
A Scottish novel, released in 1993.

An essay commenting on Welsh's use of language, style and tone.

When digging a little beneath the surface of the extract from trainspotting: Traditional Sunday Breakfast, you may see a hint of the authors thoughts, given on the working classes ‘verbal rights’. Watching the film Trainspotting, underlines Welsh’s statement (from the Herald Scotland) quoting that “The classic assumption of such fiction holds true: working-class people speak funny so are in fiction only for the purposes of humor. They do not have an internal life, therefore you traditionally do not have a Renton or a Begbie or a Spud expressing themselves in the narrative of a book.” What he states here, is that working-class people are allowed to speak, but not think, in middle-class fiction.
My knowledge gained of the characters from Traditional Sunday Breakfast, through watching the full film, has set the characters in a completely new light than if reading the extract alone, I choose not to abstract from this knowledge.
Traditional Sunday Breakfast gives grotesque imagery within Davies narrative, while Welsh portrays the deconstructed lifestyle of a heroin addict.
One can look at Welsh's attitude towards non-standard Scottish dialect and language use as a guide to how it should be used in a narration, to create characters that to multiple extents are unaware of how their ways of speaking places them on the social ladder.
Davies poor ability to construct sentences, short monologues, primitive vocabulary and his frequent use of “fuck” clearly lets the reader reflect on the attitudinal difference of their life between a person who refers to a friend as 'cunt' and a person who refers to his friend as 'mate', which Davie does in the fifth improper sentence constructed. It’s important for me to point out, that there is no distinction between Scottish English and Scots. In trainspotting we are dealing with Scots,” the traditional dialect", which includes grammatical features that Scottish English does not. There are many uses of this language variant throughout the extract: a’s are replaced with I’s, for example in “head”, ”that” is replaced with “whae” and “piss” is replaced with “pish”.
Welsh does a good job leading the reader to sympathize with the Davie in such a way that the reader ultimately agrees with Davies language and thereby also his attitude. He doesn’t make us think of Davie as an evil or intellectually and morally inferior person because of the fact that he fails to communicate in standard language and dialect. Reflecting on this, it seems to me like Welsh teaches the reader a lot about their prejudices made, based on language.

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