Publication Details

Nguyen, T. (2012). Transitivity Analysis of Heroic Mother by Hoa Pham. International Journal of English Linguistics, 2 (4), 85-100.

Link to publisher version (URL)

International Journal of English Linguistics

Additional Publication Information

Creative Commons 3.0


The paper investigates the application of Halliday’s theory of transitivity in the construction of personality. The essay aims to identify and explain how the main character’s personality is portrayed and represented through language used in Hoa Pham’s “Heroic Mother”. The findings hope to prove that linguistic choices in transitivity play an important role in building up the main character of the story.

The essay is divided into six parts. The first part explains the roles of language and language studies in social life. The second part notes the functions of Halliday’s transitivity system in literary studies by reviewing previous studies on transitivity. The next part deals with Halliday’s theoretical framework of transitivity as a guideline for this analysis. The fourth part introduces Hoa Pham – an Australian Vietnamese writer and playwright, the author of “Heroic Mother”. The analysis of transitivity in “Heroic Mother” is provided in the fifth part. The last section of the essay offers concluding remarks about the interpretation of “Heroic Mother”. The discussion of results will show how linguistics analysis together with observations about the text enables a better understanding of the main character, known as a “heroic mother”.



Link to publisher version (DOI)