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What Is Literature?

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Andy Schoenborn

on 16 October 2013

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Transcript of What Is Literature?

Irony is a technique often employed in stories which have humor as a central element

-Verbal Irony-a figure of speech where the speaker states the opposite of what they wanted to say- often used to create sarcasm

-Situational Irony-often the most important-the difference between reality and what reality should be or which reality would seem appropriate. For example, in "The Drunkard", by Frank O'Connor, during a funeral that the speaker (in this case a child) and his alcoholic father go to, the speaker snatches his father's drink because he is thirsty, and becomes quite drunk, while his father is completely sober. This causes his father great embarrassment, despite the fact that he is quite the heavy drinker himself.
-Dramatic Irony-a contrast between what a character thinks/says and what the reader knows is actually true- this shows the character's expectations and their difference from the reality of the story
Humor is important because it enhances the emotional impact of a story

Serious stories can be humorous too
Satire is a genre of literature which uses irony and sarcasm to point out the shortcomings of people, groups, and society as a whole, usually with the intent of improving that which it ridicules
"Falstaff" by Eduard von Grutzner
Identification of Point of View
Examples of Point Of View
Characterization is making the character more lifelike to the reader.
What Is Literature?
An Exploration of Literary Elements
oh hi
Struc ure
Point of View
Characterization: Madison, Kerigan, and Bre-
The Wonder Team

Two Types of Characterization
What is theme?
Identification of theme
Examples of theme
Hunters in the Snow
Why it matters
'Tommy is selfish'
'Billy is a smart lad'
Principles of Characterization
Constant Behavior Unless...
Words and Actions are Believable
First Person
Third Person Limited
A Guide to Know Who to Care about
Degen, Kat,
Kay, Zoe
Symbolism: Madison, Kerigan and Bre- The Wonder Team
In The Story...
How do we identify themes?
Keep in mind:
Changes to the main character
Central conflict and outcome
Title of the story
Recurring imagery
What insight on life is revealed
A literary symbol that means more than what's on the surface
Should NOT be a familiar saying or cliche.
Very easy to be wrong
Most details are literal
Better to miss than create
Words of Warning
Point of View
Definition of Theme
:the central insight of idea of a work of fiction that generalizes about life
What does this story reveal?
A generalization about life
NOT a moral
Words of Advice
The story must assist!
Meaning must be established and supported
Must suggest a different
of meaning
It gives the story:
1. Story Unity
2. Higher purpose
How a story is told
Revolves around authors input
Who is telling the story
How much feeling and personality is given
Types of POV
Omniscient Point of View
Third-person: told by narrator= can see into every character
Narrator comments with their own opinions
Objective Point of View
Third-person: told by narrator=can see into every character
Narrator does not comment with their own opinions
Third-Person Limited Point of View
Told from the view-point of one character
Reader sees into that character and what's going on around them
First Person Point of View
Themes in Hunters in the Snow:
"Author disappears into one of the characters"
Reader experiences only what that character directly experiences
Types of Perspective
"There was a lot of copper in it (his face)"
"... he'd had wonderfully direct brown eyes."
- Frankenstein- Mary Shelley: Human nature stereotypes people based off of what they look like. Science vs. Nature. Creator vs Creation.

- Scarlet Letter- Nathaniel Hawthorne: unspoken sins can destroy a person and their soul. In example, Hester is very strong and she has confessed her sins were as Dimmesdale has fallen into madness because he did not confess his adultery.

- Lord of the Flies- William Golding: Man is naturally evil and only appear to be civilized.
Examples of Theme:
What is Point of View?
Young Goodman Brown
Why it matters
Degen, Kat,
Kay, Zoe
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
Examples of Point of View:
- The Scarlet Letter: Omniscient point of view. The narrator tells the story but he also adds opinions on what he believes is going on and how he feels about different characters.
- Frankenstein: The story is told from different points of views as it goes in towards being told by the monster then back out again. The story is told by letters of Walton, then Victor himself, then Victor’s monster, back to Victor and back to Walton. It is a frame story.
Lord of the Flies: Third person point of view, primarily told in the point of view of Ralph. It is slightly omniscient due to the insight into other character’s thoughts throughout the story.
Addressing problems brings change to relationships.
Shooting Kenny=breaking the barrier between Tub and Frank
"Frank, when you've got a friend it means you've always got someone on your side, no matter what. That's the way I feel about it anyway." -Tub
"I guess you think I'm a complete bastard." "No, Frank. I don't think that"
Third-Person Limited
Narration follows one character: Goodman Brown
Describes Brown's thoughts and actions, no one elses'
Narrator expresses their beliefs
"There is this peculiarity in such a solitude, that the traveler knows not who may be concealed by the innumerable trunks..."
Why it matters to the story
3rd Person Limited (Connie)
How the PoV adds to the story:
Reader gets a better sense of what's going on around Goodman Brown
Narrator can interject and comment on Brown's actions
1st person would make Brown sound conceited
"With this excellent resolve for the future..."
Can drastically change the story
Third-Person Limited
Author describes only what Connie is seeing and interpreting
her mother was dead..."
"Then, abruptly, he
to become embarrassed..."
Story only tells about what is happening to Connie
"[June] was so...steady that Connie
had to hear her praised all the time by her mother
Degen and Kaylee were doing homework, but Kat and Zoe were not. It wasn't very studious or wise of them.
Degen was doing her homework with Kaylee; she noticed Kat and Zoe were not doing theirs'.
I am doing my homework with Kaylee, but I can see that Kat and Zoe are not doing theirs'.
Degen and Kaylee were doing homework, but Kat and Zoe were not doing theirs'.
Shows Connie's insecurities and naivete which contributed to her abduction
"...she knew she was pretty and that was everything."
"It made them feel good to ignore him."
Adds to overall atmosphere of the story
Enlightens us on the back story to enhance our understanding of the victim
"She wore a pull-over jersey that looked one way when she was at home and another when she was away from home."
Makes the character of Arnold Friend seem more ominous
"He had been picked up, the evening before, in a raid on an apartment downtown, for peddling and using heroin."
The view in which the story is told
"He must want to die, he's killing himself, why does he want to die?"
"He don't want to die. He wants to live. Don't nobody want to die, ever."
"I guess I was afraid of something or I was trying to escape from something and you know I have never been very strong in the head."
-Chapter 5: Pov
"Examination of POV is important for understanding and evaluating the story."
"I want to play with- jazz musicians. I want to play jazz."
-Chapter 5
Here, I was in Sonny's world. Or, rather: his kingdom. Here, it was not even a question that his veins bore royal blood.
The structural skeleton
Difficult to describe, characterization is the all encompassing embodiment of human form into literary works.
In literature, the types of characters, good or evil, are hard to peg because humans are rarely pure examples of either trait.
The Role of Fantasy is to reveal a character's feelings and desires. It can also be used as a version of elevated symbolism.
Structural Patterns
Authors tend to write in the same structural pattern throughout their novels; Chronological, problem centered, etc.
creates likeability
allows readers to relate to the story

Story is told from one character who gives their opinion on what is happening
Uses 'I' to express feelings
Change must take place over a due amount of time.
Narrator is restricted from commenting and entering a character's mind
Readers develop their own perspective
Video camera
The characters actions must be consistent with what the author has presented.
* Humor serves as
entertainment for the
reader. *
* Comes in the form
of irony, sarcasm,
and satire. *
* Technique
of irony is to talk about
unbecoming topics
of the human*
* There are three types of irony:
1.) Verbal irony-The speaker says the opposite of what they mean.
2.) Dramatic irony- Contrast between what a
character says or thinks and what the reader
knows to be true.
3.) Irony of a situation- Evokes the difference between appearance and reality, between expectation and fulfillment.
In all, literary characters must change and do like normal, multi-dimensional humans.
* Humor is important because we must
feel the truth a story is trying to convey,
not just understand what they are
trying to say. *
Tell Tale Heart
Literary Protagonists
A Rose for Emily
* Ironic methods can evoke
responses that are both
emotional and intellectual. *
* Does not just have to be
"entertaining." Readers can
discover another purpose, or
hidden message within the
uncomfortable topic, and odd
experiences. *
How is it used?
Narrator has unlimited input
Narrator controls what we know about each character
In The Rocking-Horse Winner:
Paul's goal is desire is to fill his father's role in the family
His determination is shown with his riding the rocking horse.
“So he would mount again, and start on his furious ride, hoping at last to get there. He knew he could get there.”
The structure is the arrangement of the plot in a story.
The 4 Story Structures
The Event Story
Almost all fantasy and most science fiction novels.
Something is wrong with the world; things are out of order.
Ex: Beowulf, Lord of the Rings, Macbeth
The viewpoint (main) character is the guide, not the narrator.
Common endings:
a new world order is established
the old order is restored (rare)
order is destroyed (rarest)
The Milieu Story
Mostly science fiction and fantasy, also includes some other novels; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Shogun.
Milieu: all the elements that come up during the story's world creation.
the author focuses on the world the story is set in, not necessarily on the characters.

The plot is simple - your story starts when the character arrives, and ends when they leave.
The Character Story
Focuses on the development of the main character
Often about the character, (The Member of the Wedding) but more often about what the character does (Indiana Jones).

The story begins when we learn of the characters unhappiness and ends with the character accepting their new role, or giving up and remaining in the old role, happy or not.
The Idea Story
Most mystery novels
About the process of seeking and discovering information through the characters drive.

begins by raising a questions and ends with the question being answered.
begins as close as possible to the origin of the question. Ends as soon as possible after the question is answered.
Literature v. Fiction
Fictional Characters are generally stock and static characters. Easily identifiable, these characters move the plot along in a systematic way.
In contrast, literary characters embody life like persons whom have dynamic traits, such as good and evil. The story revolves around the character, and the plot becomes more involved this way.
Evil Eye
The old man's heart
The Man (in her bed)
Her Bedroom
In the short story, "Rape Fantasies", the author uses satire to make the uncomfortable topic of rape a humorous topic.
The author may use something that could have happened and then go a step further, with something totally unrealistic or impossible
~Allie, Sydney, Sam, and Emily~
In The Rocking-Horse Winner:
One of Paul's desires is to fill his father's role in the family
He achieved his confidence to fulfill his desire through riding his rocking horse.
“So he would mount again, and start on his furious ride, hoping at last to get there. He knew he could get there.”
Paul also wishes to fix the "whispering" in his house while also fixing his family.
He is haunted by the phrase: "There must be more money"
1st Person
3rd Person Limited
Uses 'he' or 'she'
One character
Filters - biased towards certain characters
An easily identifiable, generic character. Ex: Detective, Secret Agent, Nanny
A character who shows no growth in the story. They're flat and one-dimensional.
In the short story, "The
Drunkard"; the mother
makes a comment. She
says, ""Mr. Brave little
man!.. You were his
guardian angel! This line
is full of irony, for what
angel is thought to be a
child wandering home
drunk at night?
In Miss Brill:
Miss Brill lived in a delusion that gave her self-importance
“They were acting. Even she had a part and came every Sunday. No doubt somebody would have noticed if she hadn't been there; she was part of the performance after all.”
Miss Brill has a delusion of
Undergoes a distinct character change and evolves
through the story.
Very old man with enormous wings
Blackie is a literary character. He embodies both good and evil, and his behavior is consistent through out the story.
Where Are You Going Where Have You Been
You can have both direct and indirect
Direct: "He was just, he had no jealousy."
Indirect: By showing us Blackie's departure from leadership a downfall he takes without qualms, allowing his gang to vote and still maintain order. Blackie still helps T when it is apparent but the author does not blatantly say how his attitude is.
Blackie is a static character. Though the plot moves, as a character he does not evolve much, or under-go life changing happenings

The Story of an Hour
By: Kate Chopin
The idea story
The question is raised when Mrs. Mallard must handle her husbands death; How can she move on? How can she become whole again?
What is the question?
Mr. Mallard begins to seek information when she is sitting in her chair, looking out the window, thinking about what her life is going to be like from that moment on.
When does the character seek information?
Mrs. Mallard reaches her answer when she discovers that she is now free to live for herself, no longer held back by her husband.
Yes, because the author does not give away all of the information at the beginning of the story. The author slowly introduces all of the information throughout the story, leaving the reader continuously guessing and keeping the readers attention. The story also ends with a twist, very unexpectedly.
Point of view is important in the representation of each character and their impact on how the reader interpret the story.
The theme accounts for every detail of a story.
The author uses sarcasm when the women are expressing their belief that rape is actually a comment, because it means people you don't know are going out of their way to be with you.
Is it a Mystery?
When is the question answered?
A literary Symbol is something that means more than what it suggests on the surface. (300)
Theme is the unifying generalization about life that is stated by the story.
The author may use something that could have happened, then go a step further with something totally unrealistic or impossible
A World could be created where the ordinary laws of nature are suspended and where the landscape and its creatures are unfamiliar.
Fantasy's role in literature is to reveal a character's feelings and desires. It also is a version of elevated symbolism.
How is it used?
The Idea Story
Mostly Mystery novels and some speculative fiction
The process of seeking information through the characters drive.
Begins by raising a question, and ends when the question is answered.
begins as close as possible to the point when the question is raised, and ends as soon as possible after the question is answered.
Fantasy writing is often compressed; the writer aims to say as much as possible in a brief period of time
Transcends the bounds of known reality
Spunk by Zora Neale Hurston
In The Rocking-Horse Winner:
The character's desire is to fill his father's role in the family
Riding his rocking house helped him to gain confidence on his quest:
“So he would mount again, and start on his furious ride, hoping at last to get there. He knew he could get there.”
Is it a Mystery?
But in some stories, there may be more than one focal character, and the theme must therefore be inferred by examining the different experiences of more than one person.
When is the question raised?
Fantasy can merely be a means for a temporary escape from reality, or it can be a mirror to reality and human nature. It can be an adventure created purely for our enjoyment, or it can be works of literature that give us deeper understanding of the world and humanity
When does the character seek the information?
The Story of an Hour is a mystery because the author doesn't disclose all of the details in the beginning.

You never get the full picture until the end.
The reader is continuously guessing.
The story keeps the reader's attention all the way to the twist at the end.
When is the question
The question is answered when Mrs. Mallard realizes that she is now free to live for herself without her husband getting in the way. She is suddenly taken over by an unexpected feeling of victory.
Mrs. Mallard seeks her information when she is alone in her room, looking out the window at all that's going on, wondering what she'll do now.
Not Every Story has a theme...
How do you know there is a theme...
When the author has attempted to record life accurately or reveal some truth about it.
When the author deliberately introduces a unifying concept or theory of life that the story brings to light.
Theme exists in nearly all literature but, only some commercial fiction.
What is the story's central purpose: what view of life does it portray or what insights into life does it reveal.
How to find theme...
Theme should be...
expressible in the form of a statement with a subject and a predicate.
stated as a generalization about life.
...be careful not to make the generalization larger than is justified by the story itself.
account for all the major details of the story.
Paul also wanted to fix the "whispering" in the house
"There must be more money"
He felt the absence of the whispering would fix his family
In Miss Brill:
Miss Brill desired to be important in someone's life other than her own
She ended up caught in a delusion of self-importance
“They were acting. Even she had a part and came every Sunday. No doubt somebody would have noticed if she hadn't been there; she was part of the performance after all.”
What it can do...
It can reveal uncomfortable universal truths in easily consumable, literary language
Symbol, Allegory, and Fantasy
“Fantasy, like other forms of fiction, may be employed sheerly for its own sake or as a means of communication significant insights into the world of human beings”

Literary Examples: Alice in Wonderland
Dissatisfaction and fear of responsibilities and reality
Originally prefers a world of imagination (wonderland) because she lives in a world of practicality and sensibility.
Wonderland represents an opposite world

The Twist
The Old Man's Heart
The twisted ending helps define the story as a work of literary fiction because of its ironic plot and suspenseful structure.
It accomplishes the job of keeping the readers attention; offers enlightening material into the 1890's time period.

The authors choice of structure is what makes the stories emotion so effective.
The Wise Old Witch
Happily Ever After
Building the Security Wall
It incorporates topics into a story without blatantly referencing them, making them more accessible
How is it used?
The Rocking-Horse Winner:
His eyes blazed at her for one strange and senseless second, as he ceased urging his wooden horse. Then he fell with a crash to the ground, and she, all her tormented motherhood flooding upon her, rushed to gather him up.
This fantasy represents the big race, and Malabar’s important role in the child’s death could represent his upbringing/dissatisfaction within his family building up to the peak of his madness.

"Well, you see, mother, till I can have a real horse, I like to have some sort of animal about." Had been his quaint answer.... So the horse, rather shabby, stood in an arrested prance in the boy's bedroom.
Symbolic of “masturbation”
Explores Paul’s Oedipus Complex

A deeper Look
Kate Chopin's 'The Story of an Hour' was written in the 1890's. A time period when women depended upon their husbands. Women stayed home and cleaned and cooked and took care of children. The men went to work and put food on the table. This explains why Mrs. Mallard was so easy to get over her husbands passing. She was overcome with a feeling of victory because she was now free to live for herself, not for her husband. That's why she is so struck when he is actually alive. She built herself up to feel so empowered and free when in the end, her heart falls heavy with the chains of her marriage.
Theme shouldn't...
be familiar sayings that we have heard all of our lives.
stands up for himself even with all odds against him
For something to be a symbol:
The story must support the claim that something is a symbol
A symbol must support the theme and general message of the whole story
A symbol must suggest a meaning different that its literal definition
"The ability to interpret symbols requires perception and tact. The great danger facing readers when they first become aware of symbolic values is a tendency to run wild-to find symbols everywhere..." (305)
"A symbol may have more than than one meaning. It may suggest a cluster of meanings." (307)
contradict any details of the story
Use cliches or other familiar phrases.
What is the theme of Spunk?
Justice always prevails.
tough guy
causes mostly all of the trouble in the story
By Allie, Emily, Sam, and Sydney
In Once Upon A Time:
The walls are a symbol of the barriers people put up to protect themselves from the outside world. But eventually, they lose the point of living.

In A Rose For Emily:
The Gray hair represented Emily sleeping(or whatever) next to her dead lover
Her husband=Gay
poisoned him
punished with sex
Driving force behind all of the conflict
Loses the people that were most important to her
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