Text reinterpretation and the motif of transformation in a short form of Internet poetry
In this article, I analyse the vehicles of humour in two short forms of Internet poetry that developed in the 2000s: the pirozhok (literary, a ‘stuffed bun’) and the poroshok (‘powder’). Poems of these genres are quatrains written in iambic tetrameter. Pirozhoks have no rhyme scheme, whereas, in poroshoks, the fourth line truncated to two syllables rhymes with the second line. The poroshok as a genre is a descendant of the pirozhok. Just as in jokes and several other genres, a punchline plays an important role in pirozhoks and poroshoks. In Russian, the punchline is termed puant, which is a borrowing from French (la pointe). The truncation of the final line in a poroshok puts it in a special position. The truncated line, independently or together with the third line, comprises the punchline of a poroshok. The punchline is practically mandatory and may be presented in greater detail inasmuch as it does not simply violate the reader’s expectations but enters into conflict with the beginning of the verse and forces the reader to reinterpret it. Reinterpretation manes that readers change their perception of the situation or carry out a ‘transformation’, that is, substitute the character or the entire situation. I identify common transformations, namely: thing → person, person → thing, person → animal, etc. Most frequent is the reciprocal transformation of men and cats. The transformation motif binds objects in the manner of a metaphor.
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