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Symbol, allegory and irony

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Samantha Lin

on 15 January 2014

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Transcript of Symbol, allegory and irony

Poetry: Symbols, Allegory and Irony
The events, actions, characters, settings and objects represent specific abstractions or ideas.
Didactic Poetry
designed to teach an ethical, moral or religious lesson.
something that represents something else
Categories of symbol

Contextual symbol
a symbol that goes beyond its traditional representation.

Categories of symbol
Conventional symbol:

A Man Said to the Universe
By Steven Crane

A man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!"
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
function as itself and goes beyond its literal meaning
Method of determining what it symbolizes:
read the context
something that is recognized by many people to represent certain ideas
Literary symbol:
Acquainted with the Night

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
Night = Loneliness, Alienation, Insomnia
a description usually restricted to a single meaning
An extended metaphor
Symbol ≠ Allegory
Allegory Didactic Poetry
All That Time
By May Swenson

I saw two trees embracing.
One leaned on the other
as if to throw her down.
But she was the upright one.
Since their twin youth, maybe she
had been pulling him toward her
all that time,

and finally almost uprooted him.
He was the thin, dry, insecure one,
the most wind-warped, you could see.
And where their tops tangled
it looked like he was crying
on her shoulder.
On the other hand, maybe he

had been trying to weaken her,
break her, or at least
make her bend
over backwards for him
just a little bit.
And all that time
she was standing up to him

the best she could.
She was the most stubborn,
the straightest one, that's a fact.
But he had been willing
to change himself--
even if it was for the worse--
all that time.

At the top they looked like one
tree, where they were embracing.
It was plain they'd be
always together.

Too late now to part.
When the wind blew, you could hear
them rubbing on each other.
A technique that reveals a discrepancy between what appears to be and what is actually true.

Dramatic Irony
A technique in which the writer allows a reader to know more about a situation that a character does.

Proof of Origin
By Kevin Pierce

Though close to their hearts is the version that starts
With Adam and Eve and no clothes,
What enables their grip as the stickers they strip
Is Darwinian thumbs that oppose.

Cosmic Irony
When a writer uses God, destiny or fate to dash the hopes and expectations of a character or humankind in general
Situational irony
Verbal Irony
Richard Cory
By Edwin Arlington Robinson

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
'Good-morning,' and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich - yes, richer than a king -
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
Situational Irony
Practice !
Specific technique used = ?

Where is the irony?

(Newswire: A U.S. judge ordered a Georgia school district to remove from textbooks stickers challenging the theory of evolution.)
By Carl Sandburg

I HAVE been watching the war map slammed up for
advertising in front of the newspaper office.
Buttons--red and yellow buttons--blue and black buttons--
are shoved back and forth across the map.

A laughing young man, sunny with freckles,
Climbs a ladder, yells a joke to somebody in the crowd,
And then fixes a yellow button one inch west
And follows the yellow button with a black button one
inch west.


3 questions
No Discussion

What do the buttons symbolize?
Who would guess what it cost to move two buttons one
inch on the war map here in front of the newspaper
office where the freckle-faced young man is laughing
to us?
(Ten thousand men and boys twist on their bodies in
a red soak along a river edge,
Gasping of wounds, calling for water, some rattling
death in their throats.)
The Haunted Palace

In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace—
Radiant palace—reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion,
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow
(This—all this—was in the olden
Time long ago)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A wingèd odor went away.

Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically
To a lute’s well-tunèd law,
Round about a throne where, sitting,
In state his glory well befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate;
(Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him, desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

And travelers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody;
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh—but smile no more.

Identify the allegory (extended metaphor) used.
(Hint: What do palace, banners, windows, door, echoes, and throng represent?)
Making it in poetry
by Bob Hicok

The young teller
at the credit union
asked why so many
small checks
from universities?
Because I write
poems I said. Why
haven't I heard
of you? Because
I write poems
I said.
Explain how the speaker's verbal irony is central to the poem's humor?
Two trees: A couple
Allegory: A relationship
Full transcript