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Today’s To Do. Swap responses to Hughes with a classmate. Provide feedback (10 min). Hand in. Look over symbolism grades. Discuss. Symbolism review (PP slides). Illness in Literature PP slides and discussion. Homework: Read “And Rarely Just Illness.”. Go Beyond the Plot….

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today s to do
Today’s To Do

Swap responses to Hughes with a classmate. Provide feedback (10 min).

Hand in.

Look over symbolism grades. Discuss.

Symbolism review (PP slides).

Illness in Literature PP slides and discussion.

Homework: Read “And Rarely Just Illness.”

go beyond the plot
Go Beyond the Plot…
  • You read “stockings.”
  • You think “betrayal.”
  • You write a plot summary.
  • BUT
    • Why stockings?
      • Stockings are sexy, intimate feminine apparel, symbolizing the close intimacy that should exist especially between a husband and wife. When Willy has an affair, he gives that intimacy to another woman, leaving Linda to try to “mend” the bond that should exist between her and her husband. Willy is furious, because he knows it is too late in one sense. Even if he doesn’t leave her, and Linda never confronts him, he has still given something to another woman that should have been Linda’s. He can never get it back to return to its rightful owner.
connect to something else
Connect to Something Else
  • Stockings in A Doll’s House:
    • Just before Dr. Rank tells Nora he is dying, she is putting away some of her stockings. He wants to see them. She shows him only the foot, then coyly puts them away.
  • Analyze the symbol:
    • Nora and Dr. Rank have a certain extent of emotional intimacy because they listen to each other and share each other’s lives
    • Nora may long to share more of herself with Dr. Rank, but holds back, wanting to keep their relationship on the surface.
practice symbolism
Practice Symbolism
  • Choose from:
    • Christmas tree
    • The tarantella
    • Slamming door
  • Ask
    • Why THIS particular thing?
    • What other connotations come with this thing?
symbolism and beyond illness in literature
Symbolism and beyond…Illness in Literature
  • Opens with reference to a book about a boy who examines a dying priest. There is no hope for this priest.
    • Any red flags?
    • Stumped? Read paragraphs 1-2.
  • Look at how literature from earlier centuries is filled with mis-diagnoses and ignorance…
    • People catch a “chill” from going out in the rain, and end up with pneumonia. Accurate?
  • Note that doctors from the pre-20th century world weren’t accurate either.
    • Bleeding fevers
    • Staying ignorant of germs
    • Superstition
disease and its connotations
Disease and its Connotations

Cholera: unsightly. Painful. Violent. Deadly.

Tuberculosis: slow moving. Waning. Deadly.

Syphilis: evidence of adultery. Ghastly. Deadly.

4 thoughts on all things deadly
4 thoughts on all things deadly

Not all diseases are created equal

Disease should be picturesque

It should be mysterious in origin

It should have strong symbolic or metaphorical possibilities

tuberculosis the cure all to the disease question
Tuberculosis: the cure-all to the disease question

It is unequally high above other diseases—no sex, no nastiness, no violence. Just coughing.

It picturesquely brings characters into a wan, martyr-like appearance

Its origin was not known—but definitely not sex

It has potential as a symbol or metaphor—”hidden” death that doesn’t have many physical consequences

think of recent texts
Think of Recent Texts…

In Death of a Salesman and A Doll’s House, who may have a clinical illness? Is it…

  • Socially acceptable?
  • Picturesque? Dramatic?
  • Mysterious?
  • Symbolic or metaphoric?
popular illness in today s booklists
Popular Illness in Today’s Booklists:

Which illnesses feature heavily in today’s literature?


Why these illnesses? (Picturesque? Mysterious origin? Metaphors or symbols?)