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Julio Cortazar's "The Night Face Up" by Zachary Beers

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Zachary Beers

on 26 October 2013

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Transcript of Julio Cortazar's "The Night Face Up" by Zachary Beers

Julio Cortazar's "The Night Face Up" by Zachary Beers
Vocabulary
1. Involuntary- independent of one’s own will (Page 949) “This involuntary relaxation, possibly, kept him from preventing the accident.” Some employers require involuntary drug testing of their employees.

2. Lucid-easily understood; rational (Page 949) "Completely lucid, but realizing that he was suffering the effects of a terrible shock, he gave his information to the officer riding in the ambulance with him." The new technique for solving the calculus problem was lucid to the new student.

3. Blunted-slow in perception of understanding (Page 951) "First there was a confusion, as of one drawing all his sensations, for that moment blunted, or muddled, into himself." Being overseas for the past nine years, the man was blunted to the traditions of his family.

4. Consecrated-sacred (Page 951) "But the number didn't count, only the consecrated period." The land had not been consecrated since the temple had been moved.

Literary Elements
Antagonist/Protagonist- The protagonist is the main character in a writing piece. In this story, the man is the protagonist. (Page 949) "Halfway down the long hotel vestibule, he thought that probably he was going to be late, and hurried on into the street to get out his motorcycle from the corner where the next-door superintendent let him keep it." The antagonist is the character or force that struggles against or blocks the protagonist. The antagonist would be the accident. (Page 949) "He braked hard with foot and hand, wrenching himself to the left; he heard the woman scream, and at the collision his vision went." The accident causes the man to be taken to the hospital where his dreams begin.
Setting- The setting is the time and location that a story takes place. This story has two settings. The first setting would be the modern and safe world of the city and hospital, while the second setting is the violent and uncivilized world of the jungle sometime between the 12th and 16th century. Evidence of the first setting would be found on page 949, "Now he was beginning the most pleasant part of the run, the real rige: a long street bordered with trees, very little traffic, with spacious villas whose gardens rambled all the way down to the sidewalks, which were barely indicated by low hedges". Evidence of the second setting is found on page 950, "And it was all so natural, he had to run from the Aztecs who had set out on their manhunt, and his sole chance was to find a place to hide in the deepest part of the forest, taking care not to lose the narrow trail which only they, the Motecas, knew."
Mood-the overall emotion created by a work of literature. The mood of the story changes. At the beginning it is lighthearted, but changes to being somber. The author changes the mood to keep the story suspenseful and keep the reader engaged. Evidence of the mood being lighthearted is, "The guard said that the motorcycle didn't seem badly racked up. 'Why should it,' he replied. 'It all landed on top of me.' They both laughed" (Page 949). The somber mood is, "But he smelled death, and when he opened his eyes he saw the blood-soaked figure of the executioner-priest coming toward him with the stone knife in his hand" (Page 954).
Synopsis
A man gets into a motorcycle accident and is taken to the hospital. He drifts in and out of a dream where he's in a jungle being chased and hunted by the Aztecs and must remain on the trail that he is following. Hiding in the jungle, he notices the smell of war. Awakening safe in the hospital ward, the man tries to remember the details of the accident. Dreaming and awakening, the man knows that he is going to be sacrificed by the Aztecs, but is this reality?
Irony- the use of words to convey a meaning that is opposite its literal meaning. The author uses irony in order to have the reader think deeper into what they are reading. The entire story is ironic. What is thought to be a dream is actually reality while the reality is just a dream. "He knew now he was not going to wake up, that he was awake, that the marvelous dream had been the other, absurd as all dreams are"(Page 954).
Recommendation
Want to get lost in a dream or find out that it may be reality? This story is quite unique. It is a mix between a psychological piece and a science fiction. It challenges your mind as it blurs the lines between the dream world and reality. The story is continually suspenseful and keeps you guessing as to what will happen next. This piece of literature should be read for pleasure, entertainment, and the utter joy of confusion. Reading this story will make you want to reread it over and over, continually finding new visions. "The Night Face Up" is one that you will never forget.
Point of view- the vantage point from which the writer tells the story. The story uses a third person limited point of view. "The sun filtered through the tall downtown buldings, and he--because for himself, for just going along thinking, he did not have a name--he swung onto the machine, savoring the idea of the ride" (Page 949).
Jungle dream or reality?
Full transcript