The Dumb Waiter Assignment - Who has the most power? How do they control the discourse?

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Ellie Moreton

The Dumb Waiter Assignment – Who has the most power?  How do they control the discourse?

For this assignment I am going to present the different features inclusive in ‘The Dumb Waiter’ script, which show who has the power and how they maintain it.  This text is a dialogue and script for a play, film or broadcast because of the graphology.  The graphology differentiates it from a transcript because it has grammatical symbols, such as full stops and commas etc.  So in effect we can say that it will be constructed carefully to give particular impressions and feelings of the characters.    

This script contains no adjacency pairs, but is comprised of turn taking.  Ellipsis can also be observed through reading through the text.  There is little ellipsis present, but it has a big significance in the power aspect of the script.  Gus uses the most ellipsis in his sentences, which shows that he is the one that is most grammatically incorrect.  Although, Ellipsis is included to maintain the element needed to make this script seem as though it is a transcript, and that it is an actual conversation, unplanned, between two people.

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Gus has the highest MLU in this script, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that as he speaks more, he will be the one in power.  Gus doesn’t need to speak so much to answer Ben, but he speaks in interrupted and disjointed constructions, therefore increasing his word count and decreasing his status of power in this conversation.  Ben doesn’t need to say a lot to make what he is saying effective.  Bens short, sharp answers show power, as they don’t reveal emotion and opinion, just facts.

        Ben doesn’t break any of Grice’s Maxims although Gus flouts the Maxims of relevance, ...

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