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Literary foils and mirrors

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Literary foils and mirrors

  1. 1. Literary Foils and Mirrors The same…but different. (I know. Pretty deep stuff.)
  2. 2. Foil Literally, a “leaf” of bright metal placed under a jewel or art to increase its brilliance. Contrast underscores distinctive characteristics.
  3. 3. Literary Foils Pairs of characters whose differences illuminate the important characteristics in each other
  4. 4. Scar and Simba Scar is selfish, vain, and evil. Simba is self-sacrificing, loyal, and righteous.
  5. 5. Katniss and Peeta Peeta’s gentle and sweet personality contrast with Katniss’s rational, sometimes cold independence.
  6. 6. Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort Harry Potter believes in honor, truth, and justice. Voldemort is a staunch evildoer and considers Harry’s values foolish.
  7. 7. However… Foils must have some similar form or function. We cannot compare apples and oranges, after all. This is where the term mirror comes in.
  8. 8. Mirrors Literally, a glass surface backed by reflective material (foil!) that reflects visual images. A mirror image follows the same form and movement BUT A mirror image is also OPPOSITE and RELATIVE! Left is right. Right is left. The device can influence the reflected image.
  9. 9. Literary Mirrors Characters who have similar form and/or function, but oppose each other in some significant way
  10. 10. Foil and Mirror Although traditionally, foil=opposite and mirror=same These terms are indelibly related and perhaps more synonym than antonym. In any case, they… • add depth to stories • allow us to appreciate characters and situations • reveal theme
  11. 11. Concluding Connections Heat soothes in cold weather… …a cool breeze is a summer delight. A starry night against a dark sky is a brilliant treat for our vision. Without the other, one holds less meaning and power.

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