+ Epic Verse and Epic Hero An Epic is one of the earliest forms of literature. It is a long narrative (story) poem that recounts the adventures of a legendary hero who is pursuing a goal of national importance. In an epic poem, the hero’s accomplishments and virtues reflect the values of his culture The epic hero is the central character of an epic poem. He is usually a larger-than-life figure, noble or semi-divine. He needs to use his fantastic courage, skills and strength to battle a an opposing, evil force.
+ Types of Epics There are two distinct forms of Epics. Folk Epics are long narratives passed down orally in a culture from one generation to the next. They were written down long after they were first composed. Examples of Folk Epics: Beowulf, Gilgamesh, Mahabharata Literary Epics are written by individual authors, drawing on the style and conventions of the folk epic . Examples of Literary Epics: Iliad, Odyssey, Paradise Lost
+ Quest A quest is a long, dangerous journey or mission undertaken by the epic hero. The quest is an opportunity for the epic hero to prove himself and win honor and glory.
+ Valorous Deeds These actions demonstrate the hero’s virtues. The are actions made by the hero to show how courageous, strong and resilient he is. Valorous deeds make up most of the action and move the plot along.
+ Divine Intervention In many epics, the hero receives help from a god or another supernatural force. This supernatural being usually takes an interest in the hero’s plight and wants to help him achieve his goal For example, in the Greek Epic the Iliad, the goddess Athene helps the hero Achilles.
+ Great Events Important events from the history or mythology of nation or culture often provide the themes and backdrop for the epic story. In other words, the epic narrative takes place in the midst of some other famous time period of struggle In the Iliad, the adventures of Achilles take place against the backdrop of the Trojan War
+ Kenning Kenning is a form of figurative language that is a creative two- word compound that renames an object Examples: “Whale’s-home” for the sea, “Battle-Sweat” for blood, “sky-candle” for he sun
+ Theme The theme is the overall message or lesson that the author of a work is trying to convey. Theme are usually universal and can apply to the life of the reader. The theme may be directly stated or implied.. The characters, plot, conflicts and setting usually contribute to the author’s development of the theme
+ Alliteration Alliteration is the repetition of a consonant sound, usually at the beginning of each word It is used to develop rhythm and meter, especially in poetry Example from Robert Frost’s poem “Acquainted with the Night”: I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet…
+ Caesura A caesura is a breath or pause in the middle of a line of poetry It is usually added to create an effect- either to build suspense or drama They are usually noted by punctuation (a comma, semicolon or sometimes an apostrophe)
+ Direct Characterization Direct Characterization occurs when an author makes a direct statement about a character’s personality or directly explains what the character is like Example: “Ed Johnson scratched his head in confusion as the sales rep explained Dralco’s newest engine performance diagnostic computer. The old mechanic hated modern electronics, preferring the old days when all he needed was a stack of manuals and a good set of tools.”
+ Indirect Characterization Indirect Characterization occurs when an author reveals information about a character through the character’s thoughts, speech and actions, as well as the behavior of other characters toward that character Example: ““That Ed Johnson,” said Anderson, watching the old mechanic scratch his head in confusion as the sales rep explained Dralco’s newest engine performance diagnostic computer. “He hasn’t got a clue about modern electronics. Give him a good set of tools and a stack of yellowing manuals with a carburetor needing repair, and he’d be happy as a hungry frog in a fly-field.””
+ Allegory Allegory is a form of extended metaphor, in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative, are equated with the meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. The underlying meaning has moral, social, religious, or political significance, and characters are often personification of abstract ideas as charity, greed, or envy. Thus an allegory is a story with two meanings, a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning.
+ Frame Tale A frame tale is a narrative technique that sets up a main story that will include the telling of other stories within that story. The Frame Tale leads readers from the main story to the smaller one within it In many cases, the frame tale progresses with a group of characters meeting together and telling each other stories Most of the plot occurs in the stories-within-the-story
+ Imagery Imagery is the process by which an author uses words to appeal to the five senses of the reader Imagery is important in getting the reader engaged in the story Imagery is created by SHOWING and not simply TELLING Example from William Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”: "A host of golden daffodils; / Beside the lake, beneath the trees, / Fluttering and dancing in the breeze/Continuous as the stars that shine / And twinkle on the milky way, / They stretched in never- ending line / Along the margin of a bay.”
+ Symbolism A person, place or object which has a meaning in itself but suggests other meanings as well. Things, characters and actions can be symbols. Anything that suggests a meaning beyond the obvious. For example- in the American flag, the stars represent the fifty states and the stripes represent the 13 original colonies.
+ Allusion Allusions are references, made by the author or characters, to a well-known or famous person, event, object or literary work. They draw on the reader’s associations to prove a point Example: FAMILY GUY, anyone?
+ Satire Satire is a literary device that uses ridicule, irony, sarcasm or exaggeration to make fun of human weakness or error Example: “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” try to expose and poke fun at the political landscape in America. Even Stephen Colbert’s super conservative, ridiculous character is meant to show the people who actually act like that how he perceives them.
+ Foil A foil is a character that serves as a contrast to a major character Laertes is a foil to Hamlet because Hamlet is indecisive and contemplative and Laertes is rash and impulsive
+ Mood Mood is the feeling the author establishes in a story. The author uses word choice (diction) to create emotional effects on the reader.
+ Soliloquy A soliloquy is a speech that a character delivers to him or herself Itoften reveals the theme of the work and helps to develop characterization- that is, showing what the characters are thinking and feeling. Itis used in plays to allow a character to speak indirectly to the audience to provide them with information
+ Comic Relief Comic relief is a technique used by an author to break up a serious, sad or tense story It comes in the form of a hilarious or silly character, a witty scene or funny bit of dialogue Incharacter form, the comic relief is usually a bumbling, stupid or clumsy sidekick to the hero or the villain Famous comic relief characters: C3PO from Star Wars and Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series
+ Tragic Hero The Tragic Hero is the main character in a tragedy. The tragic hero has a few required elements, according to Aristotle: 1.He has noble or high birth, 2. He has a tragic flaw that eventually leads to his downfall, 3. He develops self-awareness or knowledge, 4. The audience feels pity for him, 5. He is doomed from the very start, 6. His suffering means something or is important, 7. His downfall is usually his own fault, not the fault of fate or someone else
+ Tragic Flaw A flawor negative characteristic that eventually leads to the ruin or doom of the character
+ Internal/External Conflict Internal Conflict occurs when a character is fighting a battle within him or herself. The character is usually wrestling with a decision or a personal problem that he/she is trying to solve ExternalConflict occurs between two characters and can be emotional, physical, verbal or mental
+ Iambic Pentameter Five “iambs” in a line An iamb has two syllables- one stressed and one unstressed An example of an iamb is the word “today” (to-DAY) Iambic Pentameter is five iambs in a line 5 iambs at 2 syllables each = 10 syllables in a line
+ Unit Terms, Set 4 Women Authors and Post-Colonialism
+ Symbolism A person,place or object which has a meaning in itself but suggests other meanings as well. Things, characters and actions can be symbols. Anything that suggests a meaning beyond the obvious. Forexample- in the American flag, the stars represent the fifty states and the stripes represent the 13 original colonies.
+ Irony Irony is an implied difference in the way things are from the way things should be. Verbal Irony shows a difference between what is said and what is meant, and the speaker is trying to convey a message by saying the opposite (Example: "as pleasant and relaxed as a coiled rattlesnake”) Situational Irony occurs when what happens is the opposite of what is expected (Example: When John Hinckley tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan, all of his shots initially missed the President; however, a bullet ricocheted off the bullet-proof Presidential limousine and struck Reagan in the chest. Thus, a vehicle made to protect the President from gunfire was partially responsible for his being shot.) Dramatic Irony occurs when the audience knows something that the characters in the narrative do not (Example: In Romeo and Juliet, the other characters in the cast think Juliet is dead, but the audience knows she only took a sleeping potion.)
+ Setting The time and place in which events of a literary work take place (geographical location, weather conditions, historical context, time, psychological state of characters, way of life of characters, etc.); not just where events take place. Settings may be symbolic, representing ideas larger and more significant than the literal time and place.
+ Characterization Characterization is the process by which an author describes and explains a character. The author reveals details about the character through: looks, thoughts, actions, choices and dialogue. We learn about the characters through what the author tells us (direct) and what we can infer about the character through their thoughts and actions (indirect).
+ Allegory A work in which the characters and events are to be understood as representing other things and symbolically expressing a deeper, often spiritual, moral, or political meaning
+ Style The way the author writes. Style is developed by word choice and sentence structure, among other things. It is the characteristic way that writer uses language to achieve certain effects.
+ Theme The overall message or main idea of a piece of literature The idea that an author wants to get across to the audience Often themes try to impart a lesson or a learning experience They are usually universal
+ Point of View/Narrator The perspective from which the story is told It is important to evaluate the telling of events based on the credibility or bias of the narrator- if the narrator is involved in the story or may not know what is going on in the minds of other characters Objective Point of View Third Person Point of View First Person Point of View Omniscient and Limited Omniscient Points of View
+ Foreshadowing Foreshadowing is a technique used by an author to provide clues that he audience can analyze to predict what might come next Example: In Star Wars Episode 2, Obi Wan says to Anakin “Why do I feel like you will be the death of me?” Later, we find out that Anakin does indeed kill him.
+ Diction Diction means the words the author chooses and is part of the way an author develops style. When analyzing literature, it is important to look at the words chosen by the author because they usually have a deeper meaning