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Form and meaning of poetry

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Form and meaning of poetry Powered By Docstoc
					UNIVERSITATEA DIN CRAIOVA                                            TITULARUL DISCIPLINEI
FACULTATEA DE LITERE                                                 FLORENTINA ANGHEL
CATEDRA DE STUDII ANGLO-AMERICANE




                                   PROGRAMA ANALITICA
                             DISCIPLINA: Critica aplicată (curs practic)


Specializarea: Romană / Engleză – ID
An de studiu: I, S1

OBIECTIVELE DISCIPLINEI:
Obiectivul cursului este de a aborda textele literare din diverse perspective urmând etapele specifice
interpretării de texte. Se urmăreşte analiza simbolurilor şi a semnificaţiei cuvintelor, a relaţiilor dintre
ele, a analogiilor posibile cu textul şi cu alte texte.
Obiective: La finalul cursului studenţii trebuie
     Să cunoască trăsăturile genurilor literare
     Să recunoască figurile de stil
     Să caracterizeze personajul literar
     Să identifice tehnicile narative
     Să recunoască şi să aplice diferite teorii critice ale secolului al XX-lea

TEMATICA
      Steps to follow in texts interpretation (“Crossing the Bar” – A Tennyson)
      Figurative language (“Heat” – H.D.)
      Form and meaning of poetry. The euphonic level (“Sonnets” – Shakespeare)
      The limits of poetry (“Message Clear” – Edwin Morgan)
      Character, plot, theme (fragments from J. Joyce, O. Wilde)
      Point of view (stream of consciousness technique, external narrator, internal narrator)
      Time, setting, reflected stories (fragments from V. Woolf, J. Updike)




BIBLIOGRAFIE
  Christina Myers-Shaffer, The Principles of Literature, New York: Barron’s, 2000
  Stephen Matterson, Darryl Jones, Studying Poetry, London: Arnold, Copublished in the USA By
       Oxford UP Inc., 2000
  Thomas Carper and Derek Attridge, Meter and Meaning, New York, London: Routledge, 2003
  Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, Narrative Fiction, New York, London: Routledge, 22002
  Lintvelt, Jaap, Incercare de tipologie narativă, Punctul de vedere, trad. Angela Martin, Univers,
       Bucureşti, 1994
  John Lye, Narrative point of view: some considerations, prepared for the students in ENGL 2 F55 at
       Brock University
  Genette, Gérard, Narrative Discourse An Essay in Method, trad. Jane E. Lewin, Cornell University
       Press, Ithaca, New York, 1987

                                                                                                          1
   Martin Montgomery, Alan Durant, Nigel Fabb, Tom Furniss and Sara Mills, Ways of Reading, New
         York, London: Routledge, 22000
   John McRae and Roy Boardman, Reading Between the Lines, Cambridge University Press, 1984
   Jenny N. Sullivan, Writing Themes about Literature, London: W.W.Norton &Company, 1983
   Ştefan Avadanei, La început a fost metafora, Ed. Virginia, Iaşi, 1994
   Silviu Angelescu, Portretul literar, Univers, Bucuresti, 1985
   *** The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Fifth edition, vol.2, Abrams M.H. (ed),,
         W.W.Noton & Company, New York and London, 1986
   M. Bahtin, Probleme de literatură şi estetică, Nicolae Iliescu (trad), ed. Univers, Bucureşti, 1982
   Richard Bradford, Stylistics, Routledge, London, 1997
   Simpson Paul, Stylistics, New York, London: Routledge, 2004
   Peter Barry, Beginning Theory. An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory, Manchester
         University Press, 1995


EVALUAREA STUDENŢILOR
Portofoliu cu temele prevazute în suportul de curs – 40%;
Test scris – 50%




                                                                                                    2
                              Steps to follow in texts interpretation
   1. First reading – put down your first impressions about the text:
           if you like or dislike it
           the period you think it belongs to
           the words that you can remember
   2. Second reading
           Underline phrases that point out to ideas you suspect are important to understand the
              theme or to follow the plot
           Mention the main themes or ideas
           Put question marks by words or phrases you do not fully understand. If there is a term
              you do not know look it up in the dictionary and write a definition on the margin.
           Try to discover analogies in the text that can support the ideas
           For a long or complex work you may want to note the introduction of new characters by
              placing their names on the margin when they first appear
           Note your reaction to and conclusions about them
           If the text reminds you of another work you have studied/read, make a note
           Mark points in the plot to help you refer to passages more easily: “background”
   3. Making an outline
      Introduction
       Thesis statement (the central idea of your essay) indicating the purpose of your paper
       Statement of procedure indicating the paper’s pattern of organization
       Style: unusual punctuation & sentence structure – to stimulate the reader; dramatic, emphatic
          sentences, short ones
      Body
                         Topic sentence reiterating thesis and introducing first category of discussion
                         Detail to develop the idea of the topic sentence
                         Next topic sentence
      Conclusion
       A passage from the text ought to be the last word.
       A specific generalization or philosophical position
       A question addressed to the reader
       Style similar to the one used in introduction

Comment on the following text using the steps above:

Crossing the Bar                                       Turns again home.
       A. Tennyson
                                                       Twilight and evening bell,
SUNSET and evening star,                                      And after that the dark!
      And one clear call for me!                       And may there be no sadness of farewell,
And may there be no moaning of the bar,                       When I embark;
      When I put out to sea,
                                                       For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,                        The flood may bear me far,
       Too full for sound and foam,                    I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When that which drew from out the boundless deep           When I have crossed the bar.




                                                                                                        3
               Poem and Communication: Figurative Language
         Figures of speech are original, nonliteral uses of language. “If meter and rhythm can be
understood as the points at which language comes closest to music (…), then imagery might broadly be
understood as those points at which language comes closest to the visual arts (…)”. (Stephen
Matterson,33) According to some critics, imagery refers to the figurative language of poetry including
the metaphor, the simile, the symbol, the metonymy and the synecdoche (Stephen Matterson); for other
critics (Paul Ricoeur) the category of “metaphor” is enlarged encompassing all of these forms.
         Metaphor
         There are different definitions of metaphor in dictionaries: ‘the figure of speech in which a name
or descriptive term is transferred to some object to which it is not properly [literally] applicable’ (Shorter
Oxford Dictionary); ‘a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea used in place of
another by way of suggesting a likeness or analogy between them”; resembles a simile by talking about
one thing in terms of another, but a metaphor's comparison is implicit; it does not use ‘like’, ‘as’, ‘seem’
or ‘appear’(e.g. “She snailed her painful way across the field.”). Metaphor in its Greek origin means
‘transference’, ‘to carry over’ or ‘to carry across’. Generally metaphors involve “the transportation or
carrying over of abstractions or difficult intellectual concepts into easier or more vivid concrete forms –
a kind of reification, turning ideas into things”. (Stephen Matterson, 34) According to I.A. Richards the
total meaning of a metaphor results from the interaction of two concepts - the tenor, the subject of the
comparison, always present in the metaphor, and the vehicle, the image by which the idea is conveyed,
usually absent. (eg. “The yellow fog that rubs its bag upon the window pane”: tenor=fog, vehicle=cat)
         Metaphors are of three kinds: dead, dying (or worn out) and living. A dead metaphor can no
longer evoke in the mind a picture of the imagery of its origin: ‘the situation is now in hand’; ‘the
bottom line’(the final prognosis); ‘over the moon’ (delighted). A dying/ worn-out metaphor has lost ‘all
evocative power and is merely used because it saves people the trouble of inventing phrases for
themselves’(George Orwell): “to stand shoulder to shoulder with’; ‘to fish in troubled waters’; ‘to put
our shoulder to the wheel’; ‘the long arm of the law’. A living metaphor is one that evokes a mental
picture of the imagery of its origin: “He tells her something/ That makes her blood look out’
(Shakepeare, The Winter’s Tale).
         Variants of metaphor. Sometimes the simile, the synecdoche, the metonymy and the
personification are perceived are variants/versions of metaphor.
Simile – an explicit comparison using “like” or “as” or a verb like “seem”, “appear”.
         e.g. She walked as slowly as a snail.
Synecdoche – we speak of something by naming only part of it
         e.g. She acquired wheels = car
Metonymy - we speak of the object in terms of something closely connected with it, not a part of it as in
synecdoche but a thing closely and legitimately associated with it.
         e.g. “stove” – heat; “flower” – beauty
Synecdoche and metonymy substitute some significant part/detail or aspect for the object or experience.
Personification – a figure of speech by which we humanize the nonhuman.
         e.g. meadows look cheerful, the sun smiles
         Other figures of speech
The symbol – means more than what it is. Having a meaning of its own and suggesting something else at
the same time. It generally implies a higher degree of imprecision than other figures of speech. It differs
from metaphor in that the metaphor evokes an object in order to illustrate an idea or demonstrate a
quality, whereas the symbol embodies the idea or quality. [There is also a historical approach of the
difference between symbol (new) and metaphor (old).]
Hyperbole – extreme exaggeration
                                                                                                             4
        e.g. “That room was two miles wide”
Oxymoron/ -mora – contradictory terms used in conjunction
        e.g. beautiful tyrant
Litotes/-tes – understatement for rhetorical effect, especially using negation with a term instead of using
an antonym of that term.
        e.g. She was not a little upset = she was extremely upset
Apostrophe – a digression from discourse, especially an address to an imaginary or absent person or a
personification
        e.g. O Western wind, when wilt thou blow
                 That the small rain down can rain?… (Anonymous)
Syllepsis/-es – the use of a single sentence construction in which a verb, adjective etc., is made to cover
two syntactical functions
        e.g. She and they have promised to come.
              Neither he nor we are …
Zeugma – a word used to modify or govern two or more words, although appropriate to only one of
them or making a different sense with each
        e.g. Mr. Pickwick took his hat and his leave.
              To wage war and peace
Antonomasia – the substitution of a title or epithet for a proper name; the use of a proper name for an
idea
        e.g. his highness; He is a Daniel come to judgment.
              Some mute inglorious Milton
Hypallage – transferred epithet
        e.g. the blue hatred in her eyes

Identify the figures of speech used by Hilda Doolittle in the poem below:

   Heat
by Hilda Doolittle

O wind, rend open the heat,
cut apart the heat,
rend it to tatters.

Fruit cannot drop
through this thick air –
fruit cannot fall into heat
that presses up and blunts
the points of pears
and rounds the grapes

Cut the heat –
plough through it,
turning it on either side
of your path.




                                                                                                         5
                                       Form and meaning of poetry
        Any analysis of poetry focuses on both form and content. Poems communicate a message (or
more), but it is their form that makes them differ from other kinds of writings.
        The “meaning” of poems implies the meaning of poetic forms, “why a poem looks the way it
does”. There are some negative responses to poetic form considered “an abstruse subject, difficult to
understand”, “an unnecessary complexity”.
        The content of poetry is considered sufficient in itself, which is a reductive view. It tells us what
the poems are “about”, ignoring what they are/do. To tell what the poem is about actually means to
paraphrase it.
        Stephen Matterson and Darryl Jones use excerpts from two poems belonging to different periods
in British literature to show us that the meaning may be more or less the same, while the form makes the
difference. This is an idea that can be applied to literature in general since themes are recurrent,
sometimes deliberately reiterated, whereas the writers attempt originality at the level of form (how they
communicate).
Death be not proud, though some have called thee          And death shall have no dominion.
Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so,                Dead men naked shall be one
For those whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,        With the man in the wind and the west moon; …
Die not, poor death, not yet cans’t thou kill me;         Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
From the rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,       Though lovers be lost love shall not;
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,       And death shall have no dominion.
And sonnest our best men with thee do go,                 (Dylan Thomas, And death shall have no dominion)
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.(…)
(John Donne, Death be not proud)
            According to Cleanth Brooks (New Critics) who wrote about “The Heresy of Paraphrase”
    by paraphrasing, the reader commits an act of blasphemy or of violation upon the poem. It is
    actually a translation into prose and a removal from poems of all that is poetic.
            Assuming that the author is aware of the poetic form he uses, we consider it adequate to
    the meaning he wants to communicate. The relation form-content can be one of harmony or of
    conflict, or it can be traditionally adequate or inadequate. Anyway, it can be demonstrated that
    form stresses the meaning communicated by content.

            The Euphonic level of poetry
    Euphony represents the pleasing effect of the sound of words. The acoustic components of the
    language are: sounds, intonation, breathing force, timbre, and rhythm. The sounds represent the
    real foundations of euphony: the repetition of sounds and the rhyme are all rooted in the sound
    qualities of the language.
    Repetition of sounds:
         Alliteration – the use of the same consonant (consonantal alliteration) or of a vowel
            (vocalic alliteration) at the beginning of each word or stressed syllable in a line of a
            verse.

           E.g. Down their carved names the rain-drop ploughs.
          Assonance – the use of the same vowel sound with different consonants, or the same
           consonant with different vowels: penitent - reticence
         Consonance – similarity between consonants, but not between vowels, as between the ‘s’
           and ‘t’ sounds in ‘sweet silent thought’.
    Intonation – is part of the supra-segmental dimension of language. It is marked by punctuation.
    Timbre is something particular to one poet or another only in so far as we listen to him reading
    his own poems.
                                                                                                                    6
Prosody is the theory or study of specifically poetic devices – versification, meter, rhythm and
rhyme.
English meter is a count of syllables, usually syllables in pairs of which one is louder than the
other. The metrical patterns are given by the line lengths or number of feet (mono-, di-, tri-,
tetra-, penta-, hexa-, hepta-, octa- meter). English poetry is also characterized by a specific type
of meter called accentual, given not by the number of feet, but by the number of accents (‘sprung
rhthm’)
Rhythm is closely connected to meter in poetry; the form is given by the recurrence of stresses/
half-stresses and pauses (which sometimes may be caesuras: Or sinking || as the light wind lifts
or dies…). The lines it controls may be end-stopped or run-over (enjambment: With loss of
Eden, till one greater Man // Restore us …).
Of man’s first disobedience || and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, || whose mortal taste…
The basic unit of the meter is the foot:
     Iambic/ the iambus - a softer syllable followed by a louder: desPAIR - -
    I never saw a moor,
    I never saw the sea;
    Yet know I how the heather looks,
    And what a wave must be. (Emily Dickinson, I Never Saw a Moor)
     Anapestic rising/ the anapest - two softer syllables followed by a louder one: in the
         HOUSE - - -
    Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean, the world has grown grey from thy
    breath; (Swinburne, Hymn to Proserpine)
     Trochaic / the trochee -a louder syllable followed by a softer: HAPPy - -
    Souls of poets dead and gone
    What Elysium have ye known,
    Happy field or money cavern,
    Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
    (John Keats, The Mermaid Tavern)
     Dactylic-falling / the dactyl - a louder syllable followed by two softer ones:
         CHANGEable - - -
    Just for a handful of silver he left us,
    Just for a riband to stick in his coat -
    Found the one gift of which fortune bereft us,
    Lost all the others she let us devote… (Robert Browning, The Lost Leader)
     the Spondee - two louder syllables - -
    Silence, ye troubled waves, and though deep, peace!
Rhyme scheme:
     enclosing rhymes – abba
     alternate rhymes – abab
     rhymes in couplets – aabb
     monorhyme – aaaa
     slant rhyme, near rhyme, half rhyme, imperfect rhyme –rhyme in which either the vowels
         or the consonants of stressed syllables are identical: eyes – light; years – yours
     partial rhyme, semi-rhyme – a rhyme in which an unstressed syllable follows the
         rhyming: sun – running, toad – roaming
     internal rhyme – the rhymes within lines (“And through the drifts of snowy cliffs”)
     eye rhyme – words are similar in spelling, not in sound (stone – none)


                                                                                                  7
Refrains create a more general rhythmical pattern; the similitude is between/among stanzas or
sections. They can be terminal, incremental (additional), or internal.




a. Identify the metrical pattern, the rhythm, the rhyme, alliterations, and other elements of
prosody in the sonnets below:
b. Identify the theme and figures of speech.
Sonnet 12
       W. Shakespeare

When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls, all silver'd o'er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard;
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake,
And die as fast as they see others grow;
        And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence
        Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.(12)

Sonnet 144
       W. Shakespeare

Two loves I have, of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still.
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman colour'd ill.
To win me soon to hell, my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
And whether that my angel be turn'd fiend,
Suspect I may, yet not directly tell;
But being both from me, both to each friend,
I guess one angel in another's hell.
Yet this shall I ne'er know, but live in doubt,
         Till my bad angel fire my good one out.




                                                                                           8
                                        The Limits of Poetry
        Poets sometimes have brought poetry to its limits. At times these limits represent the way
in which poetry shades off into other arts. The poem may be apprehended as a piece of music, to
be heard and appreciated for its sound qualities; it may be considered primarily as a visual art,
seen on the page and appreciated in the way that a painting or a photograph might be.
Aristotle/Horace: ‘Ut pictura poesis’ (‘as is painting, so is poetry’)
Pound: the poem closest to being a painting is close to being ‘unreadable’ in that its verbal
qualities may not depend on a sequential apprehension of meaning.
T.S. Eliot: - emphasized the musical qualities of poetry and considered these essential to what
poetry meant.
           - it is the music of a poem that matters more than its paraphrasable meaning.
Walter Pater: all art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.

Picture poems or pattern poems – poems that accentuate the visual qualities of the printed poem
                                 – can be divided into: poems which are entirely readable but
                               have a mimetic visual element and poems which are not readable.
Concrete poetry – is closer to the graphic arts than to conventional poetry. It is an international
movement which developed after 1945, in which the visual aspect of language is emphasized. It
brings the poem closer to painting and further away from music by often being unreadable. The
attention is drawn to the very materials of the poem, the words become highly visible, ‘concrete’.
The poets place great emphasis on the non-transparent nature of language and seek to utilize the
visibility of language. Each poem does something different and it does it in a different way.
         Number poems – poems using numerological structures; organized through the
significance of certain numbers; made entirely of numbers (20th century):
                 567
                 246
                 657
                 496
                 88
This poem has rhyme and rhythm. The poem may be about the way in which in a technological
society people are being represented more and more by numbers, and therefore this poem
represents this fact by generating meaning in numbers rather than in words. The poem
approaches the ideal of pure sound without reference; the poem might be heard and enjoyed just
because of varied vowel sounds in it and not for any reductive meaning that they represent.
Emmett Williams’s ‘like          attracts      like’ (13)
Ian Hamilton Finlay’s ‘Acribats’ (15)
a      a      a     a    a
    c      c     c    c
r      r      r     r    r

Language poetry.
Language poets, mainly American, experiment in the poetics of language, developing post-
Saussurean linguistics in emphasizing the non-transparency of the word. They seek to
defamiliarize language, that is, the word, the letter and syntax itself, to emphasize the way that
we are positioned within language and to remind us that language is a system of organized signs,
a game with its own rules, not some straightforward simulacrum of reality. In a Language poem
language itself may be de-formed, twisted, lacking coherent syntax or organization. Language
                                                                                                 9
poetry tends to disturb traditional concepts of genre and of difference between poetry and prose.
One point which needs to be emphasized about Language poetry is that as in concrete poetry no
two poems are alike.

Comment on the following poems trying to identify the meaning rendered by their form:

LIFT OFF
        Charles Bernstein
HH/ie,s obVrsxr;atjrn dugh seineopcv I iibalfmgmMw
er„ me”is ieigorcy_jeuvine+pee.)a/na.t” ihl”n,s
ortnsihcldsel((pitemoBruce-oOiwvewaa
rHIDftppnee”eantsanegcintineorpemfnemtn t’e’w’aswen
toTT pr’ –kkePPyrrr/

Message Clear
      Edwin Morgan
                                                    i am he r                   e
am                      i                           ia         ct
                       if                           i     r u      n
i am                  he                            i m e e       t
     he r       o                                   i          t          ie
     h ur t                                         i       s t and
    the re         and                              i am th          o    th
     he     re and                                  i am r             a
     he re                                          i am the su         n
  a            n d                                  i am the s        on
    the r             e                             i am the e rect on          e if
i am r                    ife                       i am re           n t
             in                                     i am     s         a       fe
        s    ion and                                i am     s e n t
i                 d     ie                          i he e              d
  am e res ect                                      i te s t
  am e res ection                                   i     re         ad
              o          f                            a th re         ad
    the                 life                          a     s t on         e
              o          f                            a t re          ad
   m e           n                                    a th r      on       e
        sur e                                       i     resurrect
    the            d      ie                                        a     life
i       s                                           i am          in         life
        s e t and                                   i am resurrection
i am the sur           d                            i am the resurrection and
  a t res t                                         i am
              o        life                         i am the resurrection and the life




                                                                                              10
                    Characters, literary portraits, characterization
                                    Plot and theme
         A character is an imagined person in a story, whom we know from the words we read on
the page.
         The literary portrait is a literary device especially used in epic genre and consists of the
emphasis upon the specific features of a character in order to individualize and objectify him/her.
In literature the reader is supposed to follow the device along the novel to get the "picture" after
he has finished reading the work. This perception stands in opposition with the painted portrait
which is simultaneously perceived at the beginning and then decomposed into pieces - a linear
apprehension.
         According to Tomashevski "a character may be identified through: name, direct or
indirect characterization, masks (exterior aspect) and vocabulary." Therefore a character may
exist without a portrait (Stephen in "A Portrait", V Woolf's "The Waves") but the existence of a
portrait depends on the existence of a character. In this case "portrait" is associated with image,
or it refers to the physical aspect while "character" is more complex. Generally "a portrait is
descriptive", as Fontanier stated, and in this situation the character becomes more "abstract" as it
may be only voice or consciousness. We may assume that the character is an artifice or the two
concepts may be perceived as the opposition between 'person' - meaning reality/ what is visible -
and 'persona' which is a conscious, independent, autonomous, free, responsible being.
         Generally, the authors follow several points when they try to create characters:
a) the physical aspect and they focus on some specific features: form, colour, size, clothes.
      Sometimes these features give information about temperament and social-cultural
      background.
b) The intellectual level which may be depicted by referring to the relations/friends of he
      character, to his preoccupations and to the language he uses. To analyse a character, the
      reader should emphasize the vocabulary (words belonging to a particular sphere, formal and
      informal style); the sentences which may be long, complex, conscious, elaborated or short,
      simple, elliptical, unconscious, spontaneous. The former type of sentences generally defines
      an educated person speaking consciously, the latter may define: uneducated people, oral
      language/style, stream of consciousness technique/involuntary communication.
c) The character's morality meaning behaviour, attitude towards people/religion.
d) One's personality and interests may be suggested by the environment. An idealistic, open
      personality, high aspirations, a dreamer, a philosopher are associated with open spaces,
      windows, light, high trees, the sky. Whenever such characters are placed in closed spaces
      the author creates tension. Most of these characters are men, the environment defining their
      expansive but also superficial nature. Women are more familiar with closed spaces,
      especially rooms suggesting their limited aspirations but also their practical nature. Their
      vulnerability determines them to choose protective environment, their lack of selfishness
      makes them offer protection. Any door or window announces a possible danger. They are
      related to the earth.
      Features that define a character: attitudes, emotions, response mechanisms and intrinsic
values (Myers-Shaffer: 175…). Attitudes refer to the character’s mental positions or feelings in
relation with the other people, events or setting. They can be good, bad, positive or negative.
Emotions refer to a character’s intense feelings and require psychologically based interferences.
A reader may refer to the character’s feelings of inferiority, inadequacy, emotional immaturity,
liability, instability; isolation, escapism, defense mechanisms, fantasies, anxiety, melancholia,
depression, preoccupation, indifference, detachment, etc. Response mechanisms refer to the way
in which a character reacts when put under pressure or, generally, in relation with the world.
                                                                                                  11
Reffering to a character’s intrinsic values, Myers mentions traits that result from what is really
important to him or her: home, family, country, religion, self, etc.
     Characters can play different roles: hero/heroine or protagonist, superhero(ine), villain(ess)
or antagonist, antihero(ine).
     Plot. In criticism it is a term of highly varied status. It can mean ‘story of a work’ – the
simple narrative line which can flesh out by considering character and description, tone and
texture, pattern and myth. Aristotle’s plot was the mimesis (the analogous making) of an action.
Plot constitutes the dynamic whole to which the other parts relate, the necessary order as
opposed to the enabling features of development. The plot must have a shape (e.g. a rise in the
hero’s fortune followed by a descent); it must have a sequence or order determining the kind and
degree of effort at particular points (beginning, middle, end); it must have a size (magnitude,
duration) which will help to determine that shape and sequence. Some modern critics have taking
up this complex usage, viewing plot as a necessary order of a fiction.
     Theme traditionally means a recurrent element of subject-matter, but the modern insistence
on simultaneous reference to form and content emphasizes the formal dimension of the term. A
theme is always a subject, but a subject is not always a theme: a theme is not usually thought of
as the occasion of a work of art, but rather a branch of the subject which is indirectly expressed
through the recurrence of certain events, images, or symbols.

       When you investigate stories for their themes try to keep the following matters in mind:
       1. Pay attention to the story’s title, it may help.
       2. Remember to state a theme as a complete sentence. Old people is not a theme, it’s a
          topic. Old people continually find the young neglectful could be a theme.
       3. Remember to state a theme as a generalization.
       4. when write down the generality that is the theme, double-check: does it encompass
          all the major events of the story? If it doesn’t. the theme is probably incomplete.

Identify the features of the underlined characters:
a. You’ll think I thought all men were beautiful, I was your usual de-repressed ex-Quaker
hotpants, but no … it was Zack. Something about the knit of his face, and his color; he had skin,
Western skin I thought of it as, leathery-soft, it didn’t wrinkle, it creased, and he kept a sallow
sort of tan through the winter, and in summer he never used lotion; his face had these lovely low-
relief episodes of muscle, even in his forehead, the two diagonal high places up from the deep
creases where his eyebrows frowned in, he was always frowning; as his hair thinned more and
more, he looked less and less as if he had ever had hair, it was the most natural and becoming
baldness I ever saw. When I was shown snapshots of him with his blond mop from boyhood I
felt a kind of disgust. His dimples are always mentioned in descriptions of him…
                                                              (John Updike, Seek My Face)
b. Stephen sat in the front bench of the chapel. Father Arnall sat at a table to the left of the altar.
He wore about his shoulders a heavy cloak; his pale face was drawn and his voice broken with
rheum. The figure of his old master, so strangely rearisen, brought back to Stephen’s mind his
life at Clongowes: the wide playgrounds, swarming with boys, the square ditch, the little
cemetery off the main avenue of limes where he had dreamed of being buried, the firelight on the
wall of the infirmary where he lay sick, the sorrowful face of Brother Michael. His soul, as these
memories came back to him, became again a child’s soul.
                                                     (James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist…)


                                                                                                    12
                                          Point of view

By 'point of view' we may mean two different things:
    1) the relation of the narrator to the action of the story — whether the narrator is, for
    instance, a character in the story, or a voice outside of the story, the perspective from which
    the story is told;
    2) the attitude of the narrator to the issues and the characters that the story involves —
    whether the narrator is sympathetic, whether she agrees supports of opposes a particular
    cultural practice or doctrine, that sort of question.
    The first meaning refers to a technical device used in prose. The second is more thematic and
ideological: how the narrator 'sees' various issues with which fiction may deal, the various
questions, conflicts and anxieties in the culture that are raised by the narrative.
Readers may assume that the narrator represents the author, or that the narrator is the author. It is
hard to say that the narrator does not speak for the author, but the narrator is not the author, the
narrator is a device of the fiction.
The following description of the focalized and non-focalized perspectives belongs to John Lye,
Narrative point of view: some considerations, prepared for the students in ENGL 2 F55 at Brock
University:
1. The external narrator: (also known as a 'non-focalized' point of view)

           a. the external narrator is not a character in the story, but rather 'stands outside' the
              world of the story
           b. an external narrator is aware that he or she is telling a story, and may comment on
              the story being told
           c. when, as the external narrator tells the story, we seem to be present to the
              thoughts, experiences and feelings of a character in the story, that character is
              known as a Reflector Character. We are 'inside' the Reflector Character's mind,
              but through the agency of the external narrator. The Reflector Character is not
              aware that she or he is the subject of narration, is not telling the story but merely
              having her or his experiences reported: this the crucial distinction between a
              Reflector Character and an internal narrator. When the story is told entirely as the
              internal processes of one or more Reflector Characters' minds, we call the
              narrative method 'stream of consciousness' or 'internal monologue.'
           d. the story may be told by the external narrator so as to put the reader in a position
              of irony, in which we know more of the story, of the fate of the characters, of the
              motivations of other characters, than do the characters themselves, or in a position
              of suspense, in which we know no more than the character or characters do.
           e. the external narrator may be more or less dramatized, and more or less reflexive.
                 i.   A more dramatized external narrator is one whose own personality,
                      opinions, etc, may begin to obtrude and to influence the reading of the
                      story (the narrator, perhaps unfairly or unreasonably, likes a character
                      more than the events of the story would warrant, or that the external
                      narrator has a certain axe to grind).
                ii. the external narrator may be simply the voice telling the story, so we don't
                      view him or her in any way as having any particular characteristics or
                      interests (an objective voice).
               iii. A more reflexive external narrator is one who is aware of and comments
                      on the telling of the story. (We may start using words like 'meta-narrator',


                                                                                                  13
                  'meta-commentary', 'meta-fiction': the telling of the story itself is being
                  subjected to reflection and questioning.)
           iv.    A less reflexive or non-reflexive external narrator is one who draws no
                  attention to the story-telling process at all.
2. The internal narrator: (also known as a 'focalized' point of view).
      a. When the narrator is a character in the story and is aware that she or he is telling a
          story, the story is being told from an internal point of view.
      b. This internal narrator may be a protagonist — one of the main characters or a less
          central character, an observer of the protagonists' lives (as, for instance, Nick in
          The Great Gatsby.)
      c. There may well be more than one internal narrator. In this case we get the story
          from more than one point of view, and often such a method emphasizes the
          subjectivity of experience and the fact that the same event can have different
          meanings for different people.
      d. The internal narrator may tell the story retrospectively, after he or she has lived
          through it, or as it is happening. The retrospective narrator knows more than the
          reader, and is in a position of irony in relation to the events of the story.
      e. Alternatively the internal narrator or narrators may tell the story as it is
          happening. In this case the narrator knows no more than the reader, does not know
          the outcome, is in a position of suspense in regard to the story.
      f. Internal narration may take various forms: it may be a voice telling a story, but it
          may also be a diary, or letters, or a discovered manuscript, even an overheard
          conversation or telephone call.
      g. There can be internal narratives within internal narratives (embedded internal
          narratives) — for instance in Frankenstein the narrator Walton tells the story,
          which includes the story told him by Dr. Frankenstein, which includes in it the
          story told to him by the monster. A letter within a narrative written by someone
          other than the narrator, telling of an event, is an embedded internal narrative

HOW MANY NARRATORS ARE THERE?
1. There may be more than one 'narrator' , but this may take more than one form:
      a. There may be more than one internal narrator, that is, narrator who is aware that it
          is he who is telling the story.
      b. There maybe more than one external narrator: a story may be told by different
          people who are not characters in the story. In this case, it becomes clear that the
          narrator is not the 'author.' The narrator never was the author.
      c. We need to distinguish multiple narrators, voices aware that they are telling the
          story, from multiple reflector characters, consciousnesses revealed, who are not
          aware that they are narrating a story. There may well be multiple Reflector
          Characters: these are not narrators.

HOW MUCH DOES THE NARRATOR KNOW?
1. An important element in the telling of the story is how much the narrator knows.
      a. If we are assured that the narrator 'knows everything,' then we read the story with
         trust: what is presented to us is 'what is.'
      b. If we are not so assured, we read the story with suspicion, noting the things that
         the narrator does not know, or does not understand, and struggling to make sense
         of the 'data' of the story ourselves and to decipher the narrator as well as the story.


                                                                                             14
     2. This question may arise both with external and internal narrators. We see limited
        knowledge in internal narrators as normal, expected. But it is also possible for an 'author'
        to write a story in which it becomes clear that the external narrator does not understand
        the implications of what she is narrating, is misrepresenting what is happening, and so
        forth: it becomes clear that the 'author' and the narrator are not 'the same.'
     3. This question of what the narrator knows is a separate matter from what the narrator
        chooses to tell us.

Identify the point of view in the following texts:

1.    ‘D’you remember?’ she felt inclined to ask him as she passed him again of Mrs Ramsay on
     the beach; the cask bobbing up and down; and the pages flying. Why, after all these years
     had that survived, ringed round, lit up, visible to the last detail, with all before it blank and all
     after blank, for miles and miles? (V.Woolf – To the Lighthouse)

2. “The shore was fledged with palm trees. These stood or leaned or reclined against the light
   and there green feathers were a hundred feet up in the air. The ground beneath them was a
   bank covered with coarse grass, torn everywhere by the upheavals of fallen trees, scattered
   with decaying coco-nuts and palm saplings. Behind this was the darkness of the forest proper
   and the open space of the scar.(...) Within the irregular arc of coral the lagoon was still as a
   mountain lake-blue of all shades and shadowy green and purple. The beach between the palm
   terrace and the water was a thin bowstave, endless apparently, for to Ralph’s left the
   perspectives of palm and beach and water drew to a point at infinity; and always, almost
   visible, was the heat.” (W.Golding – Lord of the Flies)

3. I was staring, ears warm, toward Mt. Alton. As if through an imperfection in the glass I
   looked around a corner of time and foresaw, fantastically, that Deifendorf would teach. And
   so it was to be. Fourteen years later, I went home and on an Alton side-street met Deifendorf
   in a saggy brown suit from whose breast pocket the pencils and pens thrust as from my
   father’s pocket in the old forgotten days. Deifendorf had gone fat and his hairline had
   receded, but it was he. He asked me, dared in all seriousness to ask me, an authentic second-
   rate abstract expressionist living in an East Twenty-third Street loft with a Negro mistress,
   me, if I was ever going to teach, I told him No. He told me, his pale dull eyes shelled in
   seriousness, “Pete, I often think of what your Dad used to tell me about teaching. ’It’s rough,
   he’d say, ‘but you can’t beat it for the satisfaction you get.’ Now I’m teaching myself, I see
   what he meant. A great man, your Dad. Did you know that?” (John Updike – The Centaur)

4. Towards dawn he awake. O what sweet music! His soul was all dewy wet. Over his limbs in
   sleep pale cool waves of light had passed. He lay still, as if his soul lay amid cool waters,
   conscious of faint sweet music. His mind was waking slowly to a tremulous morning
   knowledge, a morning inspiration. A spirit filled him, pure as the purest water, sweet as dew,
   moving as music. But how faintly it was inbreathed, how passionless. As if the seraphim
   themselves were breathing upon him! His soul was waking slowly, fearing to awake wholly.
   It was that windless hour of dawn when madness wakes and strange plants open to the light
   and the moth flies forth silently. (James Joyce – A Portrait)




                                                                                                       15
                                   Narrative Techniques

   1. Order
   1.1 Narrative time. Narrative time is a doubly temporal sequence: story time and narrative
       time. This duality renders possible all the temporal distortions that are commonplace in
       narratives (three years of the hero’s life summed up in two sentences). Of course, there is
       the reading time which can be undermined by a capricious, repetitive or selective reading.
   1.2 Anachronies. To study the temporal order of a narrative is to compare the order in which
       events or temporal sections are arranged in the narrative discourse with the order of
       succession that these same events or temporal segments have in the story. Obviously this
       reconstitution is not always possible and it becomes useless for certain extreme cases.
   1.3 Analepses. Every anachrony constitutes, with respect to the narrative into which it is
       inserted, a narrative that is temporally second, subordinate to the first in a sort of
       narrative syntax. External analepses – the entire extent remains external to the extent of
       the first narrative. Internal analepses – refers to an event which takes place later than the
       starting point. Mixed analepses – whose reach goes back to a point earlier and whose
       extend arrives at a point later than the beginning of the first narrative.
   1.4 Prolepses. Anticipation, or temporal prolepses, is clearly much less frequent than the
       inverse figure.

   2. Duration
   The isochronous narrative, our hypothetical reference zero, would thus be here a narrative
   with unchanging speed, without accelerations or slowdowns, where the relationship duration-
   of-story/length-of-narrative would remain always steady. Such a narrative does not exist.
   Anisochronies are effects of rhythm (accelerations or slowdowns). The analysis is relevant
   only at the macroscopic level, that of large narrative units.

   3. Frequency / Repetition (Singulative / Iterative)
   An event is not only capable of happening; it can also happen again, or be repeated: the sun
   rises every day. The “repetition” is in fact a mental construction, which eliminates from each
   occurrence everything belonging to it that is peculiar to itself, in order to preserve only what
   it shares with all the others of the same class, which is an abstraction. What we name
   “identical events” or “recurrence of the same event” is a series of several similar events
   considered only in terms of their resemblance.

   4. Perspective (see point of view)


Comment on the narrative time in the following texts. Identify anachronies and how they are
announced or introduced in the texts:

a. I was staring, ears warm, toward Mt. Alton. As if through an imperfection in the glass I looked
around a corner of time and foresaw, fantastically, that Deifendorf would teach. And so it was to
be. Fourteen years later, I went home and on an Alton side-street met Deifendorf in a saggy
brown suit from whose breast pocket the pencils and pens thrust as from my father’s pocket in
the old forgotten days. Deifendorf had gone fat and his hairline had receded, but it was he. He
asked me, dared in all seriousness to ask me, an authentic second-rate abstract expressionist
living in an East Twenty-third Street loft with a Negro mistress, me, if I was ever going to teach,
                                                                                                 16
I told him No. He told me, his pale dull eyes shelled in seriousness, “Pete, I often think of what
your Dad used to tell me about teaching. ’It’s rough, he’d say, ‘but you can’t beat it for the
satisfaction you get.’ Now I’m teaching myself, I see what he meant. A great man, your Dad. Did
you know that?”
        And now in his weak and scratchy whine of a voice he began to tell my father something
of the sort. “I ain’t no enemy, Mr. Caldwell. I like you. All the kids like you.”
        “That’s my trouble, Deifendorf. That’s the worst thing can happen to a public school
teacher. I don’t want you to like me. All I want from you is to sit still under me for fifty-five
minutes a day five days a week. When you walk into my room, Deifendorf, I want you to be stiff
with fear. Caldwell the Kid-Killer; that’s how I want you to think of me. Brrouh!”
        I turned from the window and laughed, determined to interrupt. The two of them, the
chipped yellow desk between, hunched toward each other like conspirators. My father looked
sallow and nauseated, his temples glazed and hollow; the top of his desk was littered with papers
and tin-jawed binders and paperweights like half-metamorphosed toads. Deifendorf had stolen
his strength; teaching was sapping him. I saw this helplessly. I saw helplessly in the smirk on
Deify’s face that from my father’s whirl of words he had gathered a sense of superiority, a sense
of being, in comparison with this addled and vehement shipwreck of a man, young, clean, sleek,
clear-headed, well-coordinated, and invincible.( John Updike, The Centaur, pp. 81-2)

b. ‘D’you remember?’ she felt inclined to ask him as she passed him again of Mrs Ramsay on the
beach; the cask bobbing up and down; and the pages flying. Why, after all these years had that
survived, ringed round, lit up, visible to the last detail, with all before it blank and all after blank,
for miles and miles? (V.Woolf – To the Lighthouse)




                                                                                                      17
Evaluation:
    1. Portfolio including the above mentioned tasks (40%);
    2. Written test (50%)

Test Paper – model 1
1. Identify the figures of speech in the stanza below:
        Time that scatters hair upon a head
        Spreads the ice sheet on the shaven lawn;
        Signing an annual permit for the frost
        Ploughs the stubble in the land at last
        To introduce the unknown to the known
        And only by politeness make them breed;
                    (Philip Larkin: "Disintegration")
2. Focus on the relation time-space in the fragment below:
        ‘D’you remember?’ she felt inclined to ask him as she passed him again of Mrs Ramsay on the
beach; the cask bobbing up and down; and the pages flying. Why, after all these years had that survived,
ringed round, lit up, visible to the last detail, with all before it blank and all after blank, for miles and
miles?
                         (Virginia Woolf: To the Lighthouse)
3. Identify the main theme in the sonnet:
                When I do count the clock that tells the time,
                And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
                When I behold the violet past prime,
                And sable curls, all silver'd o'er with white;
                When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
                Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
                And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,
                Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard;
                Then of thy beauty do I question make,
                That thou among the wastes of time must go,
                Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake,
                And die as fast as they see others grow;
                         And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence
                         Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.
                                                            (Shakespeare, Sonnet 12)


Test Paper –model 2
I.       Speak about the character's personality taking into account the setting:
The first week after I had the glimpse of Mr. Speed through the parlor window, I spent the afternoon
dusting the bureau and mantel and bedside table in my room, arranging on the chaise longue the dolls
which at this age I never played with and rarely even talked to; or would absent-mindedly assist Lucy in
turning down the beds and maybe watch the houseboy set the dinner table. I went to the parlor only when
Father came or when Brother came earlier and called me in to show me a shin bruise or a box of
cigarettes which a girl had given him.
Finally, I put my hand on the parlor doorknob just at four one afternoon and entered the parlor, walking
stiffly as I might have done with my hands in a muff going into church. The big room with its heavy
furniture and pictures showed no change since the last afternoon that I had spent there, unless possibly
there were fresh antimacassars on the chairs. I confidently pushed an odd chair over to the window and
took my seat and sat erect and waited.
                                                  (Peter Taylor - "A Spinster's Tale")

                                                                                                          18
II.      Identify contrasts and symbols in the following poem:
The Sick Rose
         by William Blake
O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy,
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.


Test Paper –model 3
1. a) Define the following figures of speech and give examples: synechdoche, simile.
    b) Speak about order as a narrative technique.
          2.      What is the point of view of the following text? Explain.
Towards dawn he awake. O what sweet music! His soul was all dewy wet. Over his limbs in sleep pale
cool waves of light had passed. He lay still, as if his soul lay amid cool waters, conscious of faint sweet
music. His mind was waking slowly to a tremulous morning knowledge, a morning inspiration. A spirit
filled him, pure as the purest water, sweet as dew, moving as music. But how faintly it was inbreathed,
how passionless. As if the seraphim themselves were breathing upon him! (James Joyce – A Portrait…)
          3.      Comment on the text mentioning the theme and three figures of speech:
When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be
                          by John Keats
When I have fears that I may cease to be
    Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charactry,
    Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
    Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
    Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
    That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the fairy power
    Of unreflecting love; -- then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
    Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.




                                                                                                        19

				
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