Unit 2 Neat People VS Sloppy People
Contents • Background information; • Humorous writing; • Text organization; • Text analysis; • Text appreciation; • Text appreciation practice; • Ways to achieve humor; • Writing assessment.
1. The author: Suzzane Britt • Poet/ Essayist • Born: Winston-Salem, North Carolina • Earned bachelor’s degree from Salem College; Master’s degree from Washington University • Teaches literature and writing at Meredith College in N. Carolina • Published poems in literary magazines (Denver Quarterly, Southern Poetry Review) • Essays appeared in national publications (Newsweek, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Newsday) • Fun, oh Boy, fun. You could die from it.
That Lean and Hungry Look Tone of writing
Humor- 1) implies a sympathetic recognition of human values; 2) deals with the incongruities of human nature, good-naturedly exhibited. • Humor, like poetry, has an extra content. It plays close to the big hot fire which is Truth, and sometimes the reader feels the heat. ----E. B. White
Humorist- • Sensible; • Concerned about daily worries/troubles. • Write in an active and positive way. • Mark Twain, Elwyn Brooks White, Woody Allen. • Further Reading: • Reread That Lean and Hungry Look carefully and study the language features.
To achieve humorous effect • The art of language. • Purpose of learning.
Pre-reading Questions • Which kind of people do you label yourself, the sloppy or the neat? • Whom do you prefer? • Why are there sloppy / neat people?
2. Text Organization • Type of text: • Argumentative • Writing style: • In comparison form • Text organization: • Part 1: the distinction is Moral • Part 2: arguments about S. people • Part 3: arguments about N. people
Question • The purpose of comparing the two kinds of people? • Compare to bring about similarities; • Contrast to bring about differences; • Support personal preference.
Comparison and Contrast Essay • Comparison: emphasize the similarities • Contrast: emphasize the difference • Two types of writing: • Block arrangement: • Give all supporting details for one subject and then the other, such as the text. • Alternating arrangement: • Alternate the details from one subject to another, as in That Lean and Hungry Look.
Writing Assignment • Refer to the guide of writing a comparison/contrast essay and write an essay in one of its arrangement.
3. Text Analysis The distinction is … Moral Sloppy people are morally superior to neat people. • Para.1: A very effective beginning. • How? Why?
Question • How to make a familiar topic in a new perspective and convince readers? • Justifying the sloppy people (para.2-5); • Criticizing the Neat people (para.6-12).
Reasons why S. people are moral Sloppiness is merely the unfortunate consequence of their extreme moral rectitude. Aiming too high and wide; Living in never- Never land Not bearing to part with things ambitious idealistic sympathetic Para. 2-5: Justifying sloppy people for their moral superiority.
Why N. people are less moral? They have cavalier attitudes toward possessions… Everything is just another dust- catcher to them. They don’t care about process. They are vicious with mails. They are wasteful. They are no good To borrow from. They cut clean swath through the organic and inorganic world. Portrayal of N. people: mean, insensitive, stupid. Para. 6-12: Criticizing neat people for their cavalier attitudes.
4. Language Points • Sloppy people, you see, are not reallysloppy.(para.2) • Their sloppiness is merely the unfortunate consequence of their extreme moral rectitude.(para.2) • Some people live in Never-Never land. (para.3) • Someday is their métier. • The surface of the desk is buried under mounds of paper and unread magazines threaten to reach the ceiling. (para.4) • Four hours or two weeks into the excavation, the desk looks exactly the same, primarily because the sloppy person is meticulously creating new piles of papers with new headings and scrupulouslystopping to read all the old book catalogs… (para.5) • A neat person would just bulldoze the desk. (para.5)
Language Points 8. N. people are bums and clodsat heart. (para.6) 9. Everything is just another dust-catcherto them. (para.6) 10. N. people will toy with ideaof throwing the children … just to cut down on the clutter.(para.6) 11.Into the trash it goes.(para.9) 12. N. people place neatness above everything even economics. (para.10) 13. They get their flour and sugar in two-pounds bags.(para.11) 14. N. people have the paper all wadded up and in the trash by 7:05 AM. (para.11) 15. N.people cut a clean swaththrough the organic as well as the inorganic world.
Paradox • A rhetorical device; • It is self-contradictory statement; • It contains two contradictory ideas.
Examples of Paradox • War is peace. (George Orwell) • If you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. (Mother, Teresa) • Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. (C.S. Lewis to his grandchild) • "Perhaps this is our strange and haunting paradox here in America--that we are fixed and certain only when we are in movement."(Tom Wolfe)
Never-Never Land • Allusion. • A place in Peter Pan (1904). • Novelist and playwright: J. M. Barrie. • Original place: A real place recorded in late 19thC., an inhabited place in Australia. • Literature: a utopian dreamland. • Implication in the text? • Sloppy people are idealistic and perfectionists.
Métier • French: an occupation, or a profession • Difference from occupation/profession • Example: • Classic music is his métier. • Implication in the text: • They have natural ability to clean up everything. • They won’t be neat until their talents emerge. • Sloppy people are idealists.
Personification • A rhetorical device; • Also considered as a type of metaphor; • An inanimate object or abstraction is given human qualities or abilities. • More examples: • Fear knocked on the door. Faith answered. There was no one there. • The wind stood up and gave a shout. • The road isn't built that can make it breathe hard. • Effect in the text: • Vivid description; • Humorous effect.
Hyperbole • A rhetorical figure of exaggeration. • A form of irony. • Hyperbole can be either overestimate, or underestimate.
More example of hyperbole • My mother’s lecture on good manners lasted two weeks one afternoon. • The engagement ring Steven gave to Miranda was so small that a magnifying glass was needed to see it. • Randy’s house was so big that it took a week to walk from one end to the other. • Effect of hyperbole: • Creating fun • Emphasizing
Bums and clods • Stupid and incompetent; • Paraphrase the sentence; • A paradox applied; • In coherence with “Sloppy people are not really sloppy”.
Metaphor • A rhetorical device. • An implied comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something in common. • “Tenor” and “Vehicle” • Tenor: the unfamiliar • Vehicle: the familiar • More example: • The rain came down in long knitting needles. • Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations.
Toy with… • Toy with the idea of doing sth. • To think about an idea for a short time and not very seriously. • Effect in text: “Toy with the idea of throwing the children…” • Toy with sth. • To play with an object while you are thinking about something else.
Inversion • Effect of inversion? • Context of usage? • More examples: • At no time • Hardly…before/when • Not + n. • Not until… • So…that
Cut a swath • Sth destroys everything and leaves nothing behind. • Usually it is a fire, a storm, or a disaster. • Examples: • The flood cut a wide swath in this area. • The tornado cut a swath through the town.
Organic and inorganic • Organic world • Living things, or produced by/from living things. • Inorganic world • Things produced by non-living natural processes or by human intervention in the laboratory. • Paraphrase the sentence.
Features of words • Lexical features • Exaggerated adv. • Very exact numbers. • Powerful adj. • Allusion. • Effects: • To propose personal preference powerfully; • To draw attention; • To achieve humor.
Sentence features • Syntactic features • Parallelism • Inversion • Coherence • Effects • To achieve emphasis • To make ideas easily accepted • To impress readers
Semantic features • Definition • Semantic features in the text: • Personification • Hyperbole • Metaphor • Paradox • Effects • Vivid description • Humor
5. Linguistic features • Lexical features • Syntactic features • Semantic features • Effects of applying these features
Text Appreciation • How to appreciate a literary work? • Background • Text type • Main idea • Writing purpose • Text organization • Linguistic features and effects • Tone of writing
Assignments • Text appreciation on That Lean and Hungry Look. • Revise your writing and submit writing assignments on due date.
6. Text Appreciation Practice • Text type • Main idea and writing purpose • Text organization • Linguistic features and effects: • Lexical features • Syntactic features • Semantic features • Tone of writing
7. Ways to Achieve Humor • Rhetorical devices: • Hyperbole: • Exaggeration • Underestimate • Alliteration • Metaphor
8. Writing Assessment • Exchange your writing assignment with your desk-mate. • Assess the other’s writing from these aspects: • Writing style; • Thesis; • Language.