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Surviving ENG4U - A Guide to Literary Analysis
Transcript of Surviving ENG4U - A Guide to Literary Analysis
For the relatives, money meant happiness, success and popularity. For Pius, a great deal of money meant problems and stress. Exploring the Significance of other Critical Literary Lenses Be familiar with the eight critical literary lenses that are used to analyze a text. Using the social criticism lens, one could comment on the social struggles occurring in the story. In The Winner, almost everyone except for Pius is struggling financially. This effects the plot because if they did not need money so desperately, Pius would not have been so surrounded by so many relatives. This short story was almost intended to be read with the mimetic/cultural lens. It took place in Buganda, Africa, the names of the characters and the towns were African, Pius had a very large extended family, they wore a busuti, which is a long cloak, common African attire, and the majority of the characters were poor. They also had unusual beliefs such as; “…women who ate chicken and eggs were fairly asking to be infertile.” (p.99) Connecting the Story to Other Forms The short story reminded me of the song You Need Me, I Don’t Need You by Ed Sheeran because they are similar thematically. In the story, Pius was a 65 year-old man living in obscurity, but he was fine by himself. When he won the footballs pools his "cousins, nephews, nieces, uncles and people he didn’t even know existed", showed up at his house. They claimed that they could help Pius somehow, and that they missed Pius. The song this reminds me of says “You need me man I don’t need you”. It goes with the story because the family needs Pius, but they’re trying to make him think that he needs them. Also, throughout the song, Ed says that he is true to himself and he is honest, which is very much like Pius, and not his family. Listening for Tone Know the definition of tone and learn how to describe the tone of a text. At the beginning when Pius got the money, the tone was excitement because everyone had just discovered that a large amount of money was coming their way. When Pius was driven away the tone was laid back and relaxed because Pius was sleeping and taking a break from the craziness. Towards the end of The Winner, the tone was happiness because everything worked out for Pius and Sarah. Responding to Character Make sure you know the literary terms because they will come up a lot during this course. A couple literary terms you should know are well developed/dynamic and flat/skeletal. The main character, Pius, definitely changed throughout the short story. For most of the story, Pius was a pushover. He let everyone tell him what to do. “So Pius found himself being driven away” (p.103) It’s as if Pius could not do anything for himself. He just let things happen to him. Towards the end of the story Pius stood up to Salongo to voice his own opinion. He had a note of authority in his voice when he said, “Well, I’m getting married… and if you don’t appear, I shall want to know the reason why!” Salongo was astonished which lets the reader know that Pius does not stand up for himself – or others, very often. Pius was also rewarded for standing up for himself which sends a message to the reader that it is important to stand up for yourself and to not let others push you around. The reader could have empathized with Pius because he was put into a situation that he had little control over. Pius is somewhat of an archetypal character. In other movies or books there would be a character who is at first very shy but they have a reason to speak up. When this character does speak up there is a heroic moment and a turn of events. Seeing the Overall Narrative Structure It is important to know the different types of narratives and how they’re used in a text. For example in The Winner, Kimenye employs a limited narrative focus. This type of writing does not require the writer to reveal all that a first-person character would know/feel. The story is more based on plot and character development rather than emotions. This effects the text because the reader does not know a lot about the character or the decisions the characters are thinking about making. It makes the story more unpredictable. The tone is very neutral and matter-of-fact. Information about the plot, setting and actions is simply stated without any biased opinions or feelings. When analyzing a text, reflect on the conflict. For example, in the short story The Winner written by Barbara Kimenye the central conflicts are that Pius suddenly has so much money that he does not know how to deal with it, the town he lives in struggles financially, and he cannot tell the difference between a helpful friend and a greedy user. Pius is forced to make some decisions, and the sooner he makes them, the better.
A larger theme would be that it is difficult to trust people and to see what their motif really is. Most people were just there to take some money and give nothing in return, but Sarah was there to help Pius and perhaps get some money as well. One cannot just take, or only give. In order to find happiness and satisfaction, there must be a balanced amount of giving and taking in life.
There is a sense of closure because we realize that he did not actually win that much money, therefore, the conflicts are resolved. We are left with an answer that Pius will have benefited from the situation. You Need Me, I Don't Need You - Ed Sheeran Good luck! I hope you pass ENG 4U!