Using Hoey's Problem - Solution means of analysis, this family's set up look as follows.
The family unit has come apart: Susan has got MS
M wants to re-establish family life.
His son doesn't trust him and Susan can't decide if what Michael wants will be good for her, or for
their son Matthew.
Mainly from Michael's perspective
First:Win the trust of his son.
Second: Woo Susan back over a romantic dinner for two.
Does it work?
Comment to follow in future episodes!
The full range of features of the Hoey model present themselves quite clearly in this episode
Evaluation is a key feature of the Hoey model of analysis, as it is key to Labov's
narrative analysis too (1967). Slade and Eggins, following work by Jim Martin (in press), see a key
role for it too in the general analysis of spoken language. Sinclair and Coulthard (1975) recognised
its importance in classroom language. That was thought to be a special type of discourse. Evaluation
however is widespread and offers very good potential for analysis in the widest approach to spoken
Labov's model is too broad for its own good; and gets applied in areas of narrative it was
never intended for. The Hoey model has been used on expository text to good effect. I hope this
paper displays the value of this means of analysis to popular narrative. I believe I am at least among
the first to test its applicability to spoken narrative. More work is needed however on the role played
by evaluation in a range of spoken texts. The Slade - Eggins model is too detailed for my purposes
here. Models are needed that work to explicate certain text types; a complete model is too
cumbersome and often unhelpful for everyday use.
The purposes of this paper are primarily to show that the analysis of talk in soap opera is
both feasible and worthwhile.; that something of the nature of soap opera can be shown through such
analysis, and possibly only through such analysis.
The Overriding Problem - Solution structure in key scenes.
Let's look in some detail at the Matthew- Michael- Susan scenes. Firstly, the scenes that
involve these characters are noticeably longer than the others. The average scne length when these
characters in involved is 23.6 turns. In other scenes the average length is only 16.5. They also recur
with greater frequency throughout the episode than any other sequence of scenes. Importantly too,
they frame the entire episode at both its start and close. All these features must stand as a signifier
of at least local importance for these scenes in the episode in question.
In scene 1 Michael and Susan briefly discuss the problem of their son. We have a problem
in need of some resolution, which will be offered in the course of the episode. On a positive note,
at least Michael and Susan are talking like parents, blaming and offering advice on how matters might
be improved. Problems that are under consideration in this manner contain the seeds of a potential
The opening scene recaps for us the ongoing, and unknown to Michael and Susan, events
between Matthew their son and Sarah, his erstwhile girlfriend. So it 'encapsulates' (Sinclair 1992:
10) the ongoing state of play and puts it to the forefront for our consideration. Then progress is
presented as possible, if only by being mutually desired, for this family's problems, to which this
episode will offer some resolution.