Diction & Imagery in A Christmas Carol

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A brief look at how Dickens uses diction and imagery in A Christmas Carol

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Diction & Imagery in A Christmas Carol

  1. 1. A Christmas Carolby Charles DickensA look into the diction and imagery used byDickens and the effect he creates.
  2. 2. What is diction?
  3. 3. What is diction?› According to Dr. L. Kip Wheeler, diction is – “The choice of a particular word as opposed to others. A writer could call a rock formation by many words--a stone, a boulder, an outcropping, a pile of rocks, a cairn, a mound, or even an „anomalous geological feature.‟” – A reader must ask himself, › “Why that particular choice of words? What is the effect of that diction? › The word choice a writer makes determines the readers reaction to the object of description, and contributes to the authors style and tone. › Compare with concrete diction and abstract diction, above.”
  4. 4. What is imagery?› “A common term of variable meaning, imagery includes the „mental pictures‟ that readers experience with a passage of literature” (Wheeler).› “It signifies all the sensory perceptions referred to in a poem, whether by literal description, allusion, simile, or metaphor. Imagery is not limited to visual imagery; it also includes auditory (sound), tactile (touch), thermal (heat and cold), olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste), and kinesthetic sensation (movement)” (Wheeler).
  5. 5. Target› Now we will see examples from Dickens‟s text to try to identify the effect he is trying to achieve concerning diction.› The next slide will present you with a portion of the text from page 6.› Please locate that page and prepare to practice annotating for purpose of diction in A Christmas Carol› For this exercise, we will highlight diction in yellow.
  6. 6. Diction in A Christmas Carol › Meanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so, that people ran about with flaring links, proffering their services to go before horses in carriages, and conduct them on their way. The ancient tower of a church, whose gruff old bell was always peeping slily down at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in the wall, became invisible, and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds, with tremulous vibrations afterwards as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there.
  7. 7. Diction in A Christmas Carol› Identify any words that jump out at you to › Meanwhile the fog and darkness help see Dickens‟s clever usage. thickened so, that people ran about› Once you make a selection, identify your with flaring links, proffering their services reason and the effect it has on the text. to go before horses in carriages, and conduct them on their way. The The gloominess of the fog is ancient tower of a church, whose gruff intensified with the usage of old bell was always peeping slily down thickened. at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in› Then continue to look for more examples to the wall, became invisible, and struck help improve our close reading skills. the hours and quarters in the clouds, with tremulous vibrations afterwards as The personification given to if its teeth were chattering in its frozen the old bell adds to its head up there. suspicious nature and treats it as a spy-like creature
  8. 8. Target› Now we will see examples from Dickens‟s text to try to identify the effect he is trying to achieve concerning imagery.› The next slide will present you with a portion of the text from page 6.› Please locate that page and prepare to practice annotating for purpose of diction in A Christmas Carol› For this exercise, we will highlight imagery in red.
  9. 9. Imagery in A Christmas Carol› Identify groups of words that create a › Meanwhile the fog and darkness lasting image and highlight them. thickened so, that people ran about› Once you make a selection, identify your with flaring links, proffering their services reason and the effect it has on the text. to go before horses in carriages, and conduct them on their way. The Outside is gloomy and depressing – ancient tower of a church, whose gruff ancient tower and bell are old bell was always peeping slily down personified and add to at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in gloom, darkness and cold the wall, became invisible, and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds, Adversarial tower – peeps slily, like with tremulous vibrations afterwards as spying, above all, loud and forceful if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there. Very cold imagery – emphasizes cold – instant freezing – ice does harm to people “misanthropic”
  10. 10. What is the mood of this passage based upon our selection?› Meanwhile the fog and darkness › Meanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so, that people ran about thickened so, that people ran about with flaring links, proffering their services with flaring links, proffering their services to go before horses in carriages, and to go before horses in carriages, and conduct them on their way. The conduct them on their way. The ancient tower of a church, whose gruff ancient tower of a church, whose gruff old bell was always peeping slily down old bell was always peeping slily down at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in the wall, became invisible, and struck the wall, became invisible, and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds, the hours and quarters in the clouds, with tremulous vibrations afterwards as with tremulous vibrations afterwards as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there. head up there.
  11. 11. The mood of the passage is:› Despite the extreme cold and fog, most of the Londoners allow the holiday spirit to warm their spirits.
  12. 12. What is the setting of this passage based upon our selection?› Meanwhile the fog and darkness › Meanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so, that people ran about thickened so, that people ran about with flaring links, proffering their services with flaring links, proffering their services to go before horses in carriages, and to go before horses in carriages, and conduct them on their way. The conduct them on their way. The ancient tower of a church, whose gruff ancient tower of a church, whose gruff old bell was always peeping slily down old bell was always peeping slily down at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in the wall, became invisible, and struck the wall, became invisible, and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds, the hours and quarters in the with tremulous vibrations afterwards as clouds, with tremulous vibrations if its teeth were chattering in its frozen afterwards as if its teeth were head up there. chattering in its frozen head up there.
  13. 13. The setting of the passage is:› London street› Afternoon› near Scrooge‟s office› Christmas Eve› 1840s› Intensely cold and foggy
  14. 14. Conclusion› Now that we have taken a closer look at the choices made by the author, we are able to infer many of the outcomes that Dickens intended for us as readers to have. You will be more in tuned with what he is writing and what the story offers us.
  15. 15. References› Reetzr45. “Introducing Diction.” YouTube. 20 Jun 2012. Web. 10 Dec 2012.› Wheeler, L. Kip. "Literary Terms and Definitions D." Literary Terms and Definitions. cn.edu, 10 Sept. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.› Wheeler, L. Kip. "Literary Terms and Definitions I." Literary Terms and Definitions. cn.edu, 10 Sept. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

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