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The Heart of Literature

The Heart of Literature

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The Heart of Literature

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  1. The Heart of Literature

  2. Why Do We Study Literature and What Is It? Literature reflects our humanity • Literature is • A poem, novel, etc. that tells a story, dramatizes a situation, expresses emotions, analyzes and advocates ideas • Helps us grow personally and intellectually • Provides an objective base for knowledge and understanding • Shapes our goals and values by clarifying our own identities, both positively and negatively

  3. Guidelines for Reading Literature • First reading • Determine what is happening, where, what, who is involved, major characters • Make a record of your reactions and responses • Describe characterizations, events, techniques and ideas • Second reading • Trace developing patterns • Write expanded notes about characters, situations, actions • Look for author’s use of literary devices

  4. Author’s Purpose • This is the ultimate goal of the author’s poem/story/novel. • Essentially, you are deciding WHY he/she wrote this story. • When you ask me why we are reading something, you are really asking me what the author’s purpose was! • And… The author’s purpose was to teach us something about what it means to be human.

  5. Reader’s Response Criticism What does it all mean to you?

  6. Definition: • The literary text possesses no fixed and final meaning or value; there is no one "correct" meaning. Literary meaning and value are "transactional," "dialogic," created by the interaction of the reader and the text.

  7. Questions to consider • Typical questions: • How does the interaction of text and reader create meaning? • What does a phrase-by-phrase analysis of a short literary text, reading experience pre-structured by (built into) that text? • What does the body of criticism published about a literary text suggest about the critics who interpreted that text and/or about the reading experience produced by that text?

  8. Right vs. Wrong • There are no right or wrong answers; however, there are strong and weak answers depending on support. • Support is the key to reader’s response criticism. • Support is the key to critical thinking.

  9. Teachers’ Bias • How will I get through Lit and Comp if there are no Right or Wrong answers? • Listen to lecture • Use textual support • Abide by teacher’s definition (for example: in this class, setting is always more than just time and place).

  10. Exploring the Layers of Literary Analysis The Text

  11. Literary Analysis is: • The study or examination of a literary work or author • This study can be LIMITED because it is: “Your Individual Thoughtful Interpretation” • Your interpretation is colored by: • Reader’s life experiences, expectations, reading ability • Your reading environment includes: • Our World • Our Society • Our Family

  12. Plot: it is the “what” of the story; what happened or the action. • The plot traditionally contains five elements: • exposition, • rising action, • climax, • falling action, • (denouement) resolution. Plot--What happened? The Text

  13. Setting: the Where/Geography, When/Time, Weather, and Season And then… how all of that affects plot and character. Setting The Text

  14. Character Development • Terms to know: • flat, round, static, dynamic • point-of-view • dialogue • character interaction Character Development & Point of View • POV Terms to know: • 1st person • 3rd person limited • Omniscient • Objective The Text

  15. The purpose of the central conflict is to drive the action forward. - internal conflict (man vs. himself) - external conflict (man vs. man or man vs. environment) The Central Conflict The Text

  16. Mood & Tone mood: the feeling a text arouses in its reader tone: the author’s stance toward the subject The Text

  17. Figurative Language — Contributes to the author’s tone, mood and “What does it all mean?” • Allusions • Metaphors • Similes • Imagery • Foreshadowing Figurative Language The Text

  18. This is the deep structure consisting of the text’s ideas and truths which the author tries to convey Theme The Text

  19. Theme • The insight about human life that is revealed in a literary work. • Themes are rarely stated directly in literature. • Most often, a reader has to infer the theme of a work after considerable thought.

  20. Theme • Theme is different from subject. • A story’s subject might be stated as “growing up,” “love,” “heroism,” or “fear.”

  21. Theme • The theme is the statement the writer wants to make about that subject: • “For most young people, growing up is a process that involves the pain of achieving self-knowledge.”

  22. Theme • Theme must be stated in at least one sentence. • Most themes are complex enough to require several sentences, or even an essay.

  23. Theme • Theme must be stated in at least one sentence. • Most themes are complex enough to require several sentences, or even an essay.

  24. Theme The Text Setting The Central Conflict Plot--What happened? Character Development Mood & Tone Figurative Language

  25. Literary Analysis Terminology Literature and Composition IH

  26. Character

  27. Character • Character development in life is a continual evolutionary and vital process in which we are all participants--some more actively, directly, and dynamically than others.

  28. Character • Because we bring to the reading of stories our own sense of character development, we have a ready pool of experience with which to explore the character development in the short story.

  29. Character • We come to know the characters in the text through the indirect method of: • Physical description • The character’s thoughts, feelings, and words • The comments and reactions of others • The actions of the character and… • the direct method of the author’s stated opinion about the character

  30. Character • Word Origens • Pro--for, in front of • Anti--against • Agonistes--actor • Agonia--contest • A person in a text is called a character, not the person. • The person around whom the conflict revolves is called the maincharacter, also known as the protagonist. • The most prominent of the characters who oppose the protagonist is the antagonist.

  31. Character • A protagonist can be virtuous or a villain. • An antagonist can be virtuous or a villain, depending upon the protagonist, and is typically the opposite.

  32. Character • A foilis a character whose qualities or actions serve to emphasize those of the protagonist by providing a strong contrast with them.

  33. Character Types • A static character is one who does not change much in the course of the story.

  34. Character Types • A dynamic character changes in some important way as a result of the story’s events.

  35. Character Types • Flat characters have few personality traits. They can be summed up by a single phrase: the loyal sidekick, the buffoon, the nosy neighbor.

  36. Character Types • Roundcharacters have more dimensions to their personalities--they are more complex, just as real people are.

  37. Character • A motive is the reason behind an individual’s actions. • It’s not what happens, it’s WHY it’s all happened. • THEME • Second chances allow us to right the wrongs of the past.

  38. Analyzing“Marigolds”

  39. Character • Who is our PROTAGONIST? • Is she a ROUND or a FLAT character? • How does she illustrate the complexities found in real people? • She is confused, she acts before thinking • How old is Lizabeth? Why is her age significant in the story? • 14-going-on-15 • How old is Lizabeth as she narrates her story? • How does this affect the point-of-view, tone and mood of the story?

  40. Character continued… • Who is the ANTAGONIST? • Setting, Lizbeth herself • Who is Miss Lottie? • She is a big frame woman; she has smooth, reddish-brown skin. She has Indian-like features. She is very unemotional in her facial expression. She didn’t like intruders and she never left her yard nor did she have any visitors. • Is this direct or indirect characterization?

  41. Character continued… • Describe Miss Lottie’s son, John Burke. • “ageless…in a mindless stupor…but he would become enraged.” • Is he ROUND or FLAT? • How is he important to the story? • He adds to the setting of decay and limits Miss Lottie’s freedom to break away and find a better life. • John Burke is NOT character. He functions to add the setting and thus develops Miss Lottie’s character.

  42. Setting

  43. Setting • Setting--or the time and place of the action in a short story--has a definite impact on the character development and plot. • The setting is often found in the exposition of the plot and readily establish time and place.

  44. Setting/Geography • What is the setting of the story? • a poor section of rural Maryland • What is the social setting/time period of the story? • the United States in the midst of the Depression • More? • Dust everywhere, dirt roads, shanty/ramshackle homes colored dull gray • Describe the weather/season. • Late summer • Consider the hour • it’s just after 4 A.M. • What are some characteristics of time just before dawn? • Four o’clock in the morning is a time when few people are awake and it is still mostly dark. It is a time when a person who is awake can easily feel “alone in the world.” The early hour tends to isolate Lizabeth and make the reader wonder what she plans to do. • How does all of this affect our character(s)? • “smoldering emotions of that summer swelled.”

  45. Setting/Geography Continued… • Describe Miss Lottie’s house? • the most wretched, and her “queer headed” son on the porch adds to the impression of lowliness • What does this tell us about her character? • house is a reflection of her social standing, which is probably lower than Lizabeth’s • How does all of this affect plot? • The setting acts as an intrinsic part of the characters motivations for behaving in the manner in which they do.

  46. Plot

  47. Plot • The term plot refers to the chain of events which make up the story. Each link in this chain helps to build suspense and to solve a problem.

  48. Plot • The main character is presented with a conflict--a situation or a problem which he or she will be called upon to resolve.

  49. Plot • Sometimes the problem lies within the main character and is said to be internal. • Other times, outside forces act upon the main character, which is said to be an external conflict.

  50. Plot • There is a constant, ongoing struggle in which the main character attempts to resolve his or her problem; hence, he or she seeks a solution.