Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Frank Parker


The discipline of linguistics has identified three patterns through which unstated information may be conveyed: entailment, presupposition, and implicature. Using these theoretical constructs, analysts may determine systematically how propositions which are never asserted may nonetheless be communicated. In the old writers' maxim "Show me; don't tell me," "showing" corresponds to implicit communication of unstated material, while "telling" corresponds to the overt assertion of the proposition of interest. Examination of texts by Hemingway and O'Brien reveals carefully controlled use of the linguistic strategies of implicitness to suspend meaning between and behind the fixed points of the words on the page. This implicitness relates to the ambivalence both authors felt toward their artistic projects: Hemingway with regard to expressing emotion and O'Brien with regard to telling the truth about Vietnam. The linguistic mechanics of implicitness may explain the intuitions of Reader-Response Theory that meaning occurs in the interaction of reader with text. They are also related to Gestalt theory, quantum mechanics, and vorticism.