In his dissertation, Christian Hofferbert expands on the topic of his M.A. thesis Marginal Man in Different Contexts in Graham Greene’s Last Works. The phenomenon of “marginal man” is a central theme in Greene’s works, whether the protagonists are in hostile surroundings, are faced with extreme circumstances, or must cope with conflicts of faith and divided loyalties.
In his dissertation project Christian Hofferbert examines this phenomenon on a broader scale, by including a selection of Greene’s early works in the analysis (Stamboul Train or A Gun for Sale for instance). Furthermore, he takes a literary-linguistic approach that combines both corpus-linguistics and discourse analysis. Drawing on Stubbs (2005) and Müller-Wood/Gerbig (2006), Hofferbert uses the Software WordSmithTools to find keywords and word-fields that are typical of the phenomenon of “marginal man” and compare them to a corpus of general English language data to show their frequency and way of use in Greene’s works.
Furthermore, the Appraisal-tool for discourse analysis presented in Martin and Rose’s Working with Discourse will be applied to the said words and word-fields to define and highlight them within their respective context. Appraisal is a system of interpersonal meanings used to tell our personal attitudes and it usefully helps to highlight the emotions attendant upon Greene’s representation of man at the margin.