Elements of Literature and the combined arts (Chapter 7)


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Humanities 1: Introduction to Art Approach (Chapter 7)

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Elements of Literature and the combined arts (Chapter 7)

  2. 2. At present, not all written works can be considered literature. To understand a good literary work, we should know first the important elements of literature. It is undeniable that the medium of literature is language, and language is composed of words that are combined into sentences to express ideas, emotions or desires. Writers, therefore, should be careful in their choice of words and expressions of their emotions and ideas in order to carefully organize sentences that would manifest a high sense of value.
  3. 3. In other words, a writer should bear these objectives in mind: 1. To strive in raising the level of the reader‟s humanity and 2. To accomplish the purpose of making one better person, giving him a high sense of value.
  4. 4. The important elements of literature are: 1. Emotional appeal 2. Intellectual appeal 3. Humanistic value
  5. 5. Emotional appeal – is attained when the reader is emotionally moved or touched by any literary work like: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. Elizabeth B. Browning How Do I Love Thee?
  6. 6. Rizal‟s two revolutionary novels, the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, are good illustrations of literature of intellectual appeal. Both add knowledge or information and remind the reader of what he has forgotten. Specially, in one of his philosophical ideas “on consecration to a great idea,” he said: Don‟t you realize that it is a useless life which is not consecrated to a great idea? It is a stone wasted in the fields without becoming part of any edifice. (Simoun to Basilio)
  7. 7. Humanistic value can be attained when a literary work makes the reader an improved person with a better outlook in life and with a clear understanding of his/her inner self. To illustrate, here is a stanza from Amado V. Hernandez‟s poem entitled “Foreigner,” which was translated by Cirilio F. Bautista into English. Finds faults with things that are native- customs and living, food and dress- were it not for his brown skin you‟d think he was foreign and born somewhere else.
  8. 8. Guy de Maupassant‟s “The Necklace” is a very good example of a literary work which has a humanistic value. It shows that woman‟s vanity changes the normality of life, but at the same time, the change is to the advantage of the individual for it leads to self-understanding ad a clearer outlook in life. What would have happened if she had never lost those jewels? Who knows? Who knows? How strange life is, how fickle! How little is needed to ruin or to save!
  9. 9. The above-mentioned important elements of literature are embo-died in the Holy Bible, as the Gospel of St. John 3:6 states; For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
  10. 10. Classification of Literature Perrine stated that literature can be classified as escape and interpretative literature. Escape literature – is written for entertainment purposes, that is, to help us pass the time in an agreeable manner. It takes us away from the real world and enables us to temporarily forget our troubles and has for its object only pleasure.
  11. 11. Interpretative literature – is written to broaden and sharpen our awareness in life. It takes us, through imagination, deeper into the real world and enables us to understand our troubles. It has for its object- pleasure plus understanding. Uses of Literature 1) Moralizing literature – here, the purpose of literature is to present moral values for the reader to understand and appreciate; the moral may be directly or indirectly stated.
  12. 12. The Monkey’s Point of View Three monkeys sat on a coconut tree Discussing things as they said to be Said one to the others, now listen, you two, There‟s a certain rumor that can‟t be true That man descended from our noble race The very idea! It‟s desire disgrace! No monkey ever deserted his wife, Starved his children and ruined their lives. And you‟ve never known a mother monk To leave her baby with others to bunk Or pass them on from one to another „Till they hardly know who is their mother And another thing, you will never see
  13. 13. A monk build a fence round a coconut tree And let the coconut go to the waste Forbidding all the monk to the taste. Starvation would force you to steal from me. Besides, what monk would smoke a pipe and burn the trees, pollute his hair and kill himself? Here‟s another thing a monk won‟t do Go out at night and get a stew Or use his gun or club or knife To take some other monkey‟s life Yes! Man descended, the ornery cuss, But brother, he didn‟t descend from us!!! - Anonymous
  14. 14. 2. Propaganda literature – This kind of literature is found not only in history books and advertising and marketing books but also in some books describing one‟s personal success and achievements in life. 3. Psychological continuum of the individual- therapeutic value – It could be looked on as a sophisticated modern elaboration of the idea of catharsis- an emotional relief experienced by the reader there by helping him recover from a previous pent-up emotion.
  15. 15. The following are examples of therapeutic poems. Don’t Quit When things go wrong. As they sometimes will When the road you‟re trudging seems all uphill When the funds are low and the debts are high And you want to smile, but you have to sigh When care is pressing you down a bit… Rest if you must but don‟t you quit.
  16. 16. Life is queer with its twists and turns As every one of us sometimes learns And many a person turns about When they might have won had they stuck it out Don‟t give up though the pace seems slow… You may succeed with another blow. Often the struggler has given up When he might have captured the victor‟s cup And he learned too late when the night came down How close he was to the golden crown.
  17. 17. Success is failure turned inside out… The silver tint of the clouds of doubt, And you never can tell how close you are It may be near when it seems afar, So stick to the fight when you‟re hardest hit… It‟s when things seem worst that you mustn‟t quit. -Anonymous
  18. 18. I Am Somebody “I may be young; I may be old,” But I am somebody, For I am God‟s child “I may be educated; I may be unlettered,” But I am somebody, For I am God‟s child. “I may be black; I may be white,” But I am somebody, For I am God‟s child. “I may be rich; I may be poor,” But I am somebody, For I am God‟s child
  19. 19. .“I may be fat; I may be thin,” But I am somebody, For I am God‟s child. “I may be married; I may be divorced,” But I am somebody, For I am God‟s child. “I may be successful; I may be a failure,” But I am somebody, For I am God‟s child. “I may be a sinner, I may be a saint,” But I am somebody, For Jesus is my savior, I am God’s child! From: Schuller, Robert H. self-Esteem: The New reformation U.S.A. Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, 1992
  20. 20. Elements of Poetry Poetry is as universal as language and almost as ancient. The most primitive peoples have used it, and the most civilized have cultivated it. Among the types of literature, poetry writing is the most challenging for the following reasons: first, the choice of proper words or grammar; second, the denotative and symbolical meaning of the chosen grammar and third, the limitation imposed by the structure and rhythm of sounds. It is the last reason, however, that makes a poem beautiful and appreciated by the reader:
  21. 21. 1. Denotation/Connotation Denotation – is the actual meaning of a word derived from the dictionary. The word “home” for instance, by denotation means a place where one lives. Connotation – is the related or allied meanings of a word. The same word “home” suggests warmth, comfort, security, love, and other meanings that are associated with its denotative meaning.
  22. 22. Unless a young one tries Unless an old one tries There‟ll always be a wall “Thoughts” Czarina Roldan In the stanza above, the word wall is clearly associated with hindrance or obstruction that will lead to the communication gap between two generations: the old and the young.
  23. 23. 2. Imagery -this may be defined as the representation of sense experience through language. Images are formed as we see, hear, taste, smell, and touch; or we say that an “image” is the mental duplication of a sense impression. The most common imagery is visual, as we are made to see what the author is talking about. G. Burce Bunao‟s “Change” is filled with the poet‟s own personal imagery.
  24. 24. Things change: No longer do I, Recovering from the shock Of a huge branch falling At my feet No longer do I Cower in fear No longer run to my altar In the woods, The fire of prayer in my mouth. The poet imagines his previous fear of falling, his recovery from the shock, and realization that the fall a part of a child‟s growth and development.
  25. 25. 3. Figurative language – the most commonly used and the most important of the figurative language are the simile and the metaphor. Both simile and metaphor are used as a means of comparing things that are essentially unlike. The only distinction between them is that a simile – the comparison is expressed by the use of some word or phrase, such as like, as than, similar to, resemble or seem; metaphor – the comparison is implied, that is, the figurative term is substituted for or identified with a literal term.
  26. 26. Our man-child is wild – As tempest, as northwind, As jungle, as rapids, As tiger, as broncho As all these are wild! “Our Children” Lucia Zabarte Parceso We can clearly notice above that the author compares the child of the men to the wildest in nature and the wildest of animals.
  27. 27. I gave myself to him. And tock himself for pay. The solemn contract of a life. Was ratified this way. “I Gave Myself to Him” Emily Dickinson This stanza is imaginatively unified by an extended metaphor, in which a marriage contract is compared to a sales contract (or the entering into a love relationship is compared to a commercial transaction). The woman is both the seller and the merchandise, the man both the purchaser and the payment.
  28. 28. 4. Rhythm and Meter - our appreciation of rhythm and mater is rooted even deeper in us than our love for musical repetition. It is related to the beats of our hearts and the intake and outflow of air from our lungs. Rhythm is a part of our lives as there is rhythm in the way we walk, the way we talk, the way we swim and other similar activities. Meter, in language, is the accents that are so arranged as to occur at apparently equal intervals of time. Metrical language is called verse.
  29. 29. Out of the night that covers me. Black as the Pit from pole to pole. I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. “Invictus” William Ernest Henley At present, there are poets who are not so particular on rhyme and meter, and they call such a style as “free verse”.
  30. 30. What I am at any given moment in the process of my becoming a person, will be determined by the relation with those who love me with those whom I love or refuse to love. “On Being a Person” Lory Jao, 1981
  31. 31. 5. Meaning and Idea – the meaning of a poem is the experience it expresses. Here, we can distinguish between the “total meaning” of a poem and its “prose meaning”. Total meaning – is the idea in a poem which is only a part of the total experience it communicates. The value and worth of the poem are determined by the value of the total experience, not by the truth or the nobility of the idea itself. Prose meaning – does not necessarily have to be an idea itself. It may be a story, a description, a statement of emotion, a presentation of human character or a combination of these.
  32. 32. Elements of the Short Story As mentioned earlier, literature can be classified as escape and interpretative literature. A story becomes interpretative as it illuminates some aspects of human life or behavior. An interpretative story presents us with an insight- large or small- into the nature and condition of our existence. It gives us a keener awareness of what it is to be a human being in a universe that is sometimes friendly, sometimes hostile. It helps us understand our neighbors and ourselves. A story has certain elements:
  33. 33. 1. Plot - it is the sequence of incidents or events of which a story is composed. “The Life of Cardo” by Amador T. Daguio is in example of a short story with related incidents or events. Plot in a short story means arrangement of action. The action refers to an imagined event or happening or to a series of such events. 2. Character – reading for character is more difficult than reading for a ploy, for character in much more complex, varied, and ambiguous. Most short stories are focused on or evolves in just one character.
  34. 34. 3. Theme – it is the controlling idea or the central insight in a literary work. It is the unifying generalization about life stated or implied by the story. In many stories, the theme may be the equivalent to the revelation of human character. In stating the theme in the sentence, we must pick the central insight, the one that explains the greatest number of elements in the story and relates them to each other. The theme gives a story its unity. The equivalent of the theme in the literature and combined arts is the subject in painting, sculpture, and music
  35. 35. 4. Symbol and Irony – literary symbol is something that means more than what it is. It is an object, a person, a situation, an action or some other item that has a literal meaning in the story but suggests or represents other meanings as well. Irony – is a term with a range of meanings, all of them involving some sort of discrepancy or incongruity. It is a contrast in which one term of the contrast in some way mocks the other term.
  36. 36. According to Perrine, there are3 kinds of irony: a.)Verbal Irony – is a figure of speech in which the opposite is said from what is intended. The discrepancy is between what is said and what is meant. b.)Dramatic Irony – is the contrast between what a character says and what the reader knows to be true. c.)Irony of Situation – is the discrepancy between appearance and reality, between expectation and fulfillment, or between what is said and what would seem appropriate.
  37. 37. 5. Language and Style – language refers to the idiom used and how it is used. Style, on the other hand, is a term which may refer to the precise use of language, both literary and figuratively; it may refer to the total working out of the short story, taking all the other elements (character, plot, theme , setting) into consideration. ( Edilberto Dagot ; et al., 1974)
  38. 38. Carmen Arcilla stated that symbolism has truly found its place in the Filipino short story in English. This was revealed in her study on the ” Symbolism in the First-Prize Winning Short Stories of the Philippines Free from 1956- 1965.” An example is her study of the short story of Wilfredo Nolledo‟s “The Last Caucus,” with JC and Bruno as principal characters. The two names are symbolical, for JC is actually the initial of Juan Cruz, who was betrayed by his friend Bruno. The betrayal of JC by Bruno can be compared to Brutu‟s betrayal of Julius Caesar, two characters in a Shakespearean drama.