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HOW THE HECK TO READ LITERATURE

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Next period we will be having symbolism show-and-tell. Feel super sophisticated and mature by bringing in a meaningful object and ... They can be 'cheats. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: HOW THE HECK TO READ LITERATURE


1
HOW (THE HECK) TO READ LITERATURE
  • Demystifying literature and learning how to read
    (again)

2
SLIPPERY SYMBOLISM
  • Activity
  • Next period we will be having symbolism
    show-and-tell. Feel super sophisticated and
    mature by bringing in a meaningful object and
    sharing it with the class. Be sure to pick an
    object that is significant and special to you
    an object that is more than just what it appears
    to be to everyone else.
  • Do NOT expect credit for junk you dredged up from
    you locker right before class began.

3
SLIPPERY SYMBOLISM
  • What is it?
  • A symbol is something that stands for something
    else.
  • Symbolism can be a person, place, thing, or idea
    that represents something else. It has a deeper
    meaning a message or connotation that is not
    obvious or directly related to the symbol itself.

4
Slippery Symbolism
  • Symbols have both literal and figurative
    meanings.
  • Example Spring is a literal season but it is
    usually a symbol of rebirth or youth. Autumn is a
    literal season but is a symbol of death or dying.
    Why?

5
Slippery Symbolism
  • Symbols have properties similar to those of the
    abstract idea it stands for.
  • Example A river can symbolize life because both
    a river and life are fluid and forward moving
    both have a source and an endpoint. Rivers
    literally nurture life they give us water to
    drink and help our food grow.

6
SLIPPERY SYMBOLISM
  • Examples
  • Storm
  • Sunshine
  • Red Rose
  • Wilted Rose
  • Black
  • White

7
SLIPPERY SYMBOLISM
  • Example from Literature
  • Something was slithering toward him along the
    dark corridor floor, and as it drew nearer to the
    sliver of firelight, he realized with a thrill of
    terror that it was a gigantic snake, at least
    twelve feet long. Horrified, transfixed, Frank
    stared as its undulating body cut a wide, curving
    track through the thick dust on the floor, coming
    closer and closerit was following the spitting,
    hissing noises made by the cold voice beyond the
    door, and in seconds, the tip of its
    diamond-pattered tail had vanished through the
    gap.
  • There was sweat on Franks forehead now, and
    the hand on the walking stick was trembling.
    Inside the room, the cold voice was continuing to
    hiss, and Frank was visited by a strange idea, an
    impossible ideaThis man could talk to snakes
  • The cold voice was coming from the ancient
    armchair before the fire, but Frank couldnt see
    the speaker. The snake, on the other hand, was
    curled up on the rotting hearth rug, like some
    horrible travesty of a pet dog (HP4 / 14-15).

8
SLIPPERY SYMBOLISM
  • Think back on the Garden of Eden. What role did
    the serpent play in the story?
  • Compare the snake symbolism from this modern
    story to the snake found in the most ancient
    literature we have today the Bible.
  • Why might snakes have such a bad rap? What
    about their physical traits could have led to
    them becoming symbols for evil? Can you think of
    a better symbol for evil?

9
SLIPPERY SYMBOLISM
  • Food for Thought / Discussion
  • To what extent is language symbolic?

10
SLIPPERY SYMBOLISM
  • Questions to Ask
  • Do symbols have to be physical objects?
  • Can anything be a symbol?
  • What makes something a symbol? Are there specific
    things to look for? What are the criteria?
  • How can I be sure its really a symbol and Im
    not just letting all the English class poison my
    brain?
  • CHECK UP
  • How comfortable do you feel with symbols?
  • Show me with fist to 5.

11
Slippery Symbolism
  • Activity (2)
  • Groups will create five symbols (not mentioned by
    me or the class).
  • Brainstorm and then on the paper I hand out
  • Draw your symbols on the front
  • On the flip side, explain your symbols in words
    by making a Symbols Key
  • Remember Symbols need to physically mimic some
    of the characteristics of the things they
    represent (ex life as a flowing river). Create
    at least 10 symbols.

12
Irritating Images
  • Activity
  • Pick one object you see in this room and jot down
    two descriptions of it (3 sentences each), one
    very simple and one very dramatic.
  • 5 minutes.
  • Partner with the person next to you. Both read
    simple descriptions to each other, then dramatic
    descriptions.

13
Irritating Images
  • Class Discussion
  • How did you feel about the object when your
    partner read the first, simple description?
  • How did you feel when they read the dramatic
    description?
  • If you were writing a story, which type of
    description would you use? Why?
  • How did the way you saw the object change when
    your partner read the dramatic description? Did
    it suddenly seem more interesting?

14
Irritating Images
  • What is it?
  • An image is a word or words that refer to an
    object perceived by the senses or to sense
    perceptions themselves.
  • Examples Colors, shapes, lighting, sounds,
    tastes, smells, textures, temperatures, visuals.

15
Irritating Images
  • Lets make it simpler
  • Imagery is usually visual, consisting of
    descriptions of objects, characters, or settings
    as they are seen by the eye.
  • Images are LITERAL things that help set the
    mood of create the feel of a story.

16
Irritating Images
  • Example
  • A description of clouds literally means that the
    weather is cloudy, but it can also evoke an
    emotional atmosphere for example, a description
    of clouds can be used to create a sense of
    sadness.

17
Irritating Images
  • WAIT A SECOND! It sounds to me like image and
    symbols are the same thing
  • Yes, they are closely related. The difference is
    that images are LITERAL things that help create
    mood, whereas symbols are LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE
    things that add layers of meaning to the story.

18
Irritating Images
  • Example from Literature
  • The stairs into the stadium were carpeted in
    rich purple.at last they reached the top of the
    staircase and found themselves in a small box,
    set at the highest point of the stadiumA hundred
    thousand witches and wizards were taking their
    places in the seats, which rose in levels around
    the long oval field. Everything was suffused with
    a mysterious golden light, which seemed to come
    from the stadium itself. The field looked smooth
    as velvet from their lofty positionGold writing
    kept dashing across the gigantic blackboard as
    though an invisible giants hand were scrawling
    upon the blackboard and then wiping it off
    again (HP 4 / 96)

19
Irritating Images
  • What things does J.K Rowling describe in this
    excerpt?
  • What adjectives does she use to transform those
    things from mundane (boring / everyday / average)
    to magical?
  • What words would you use to describe the image
    she creates here?

20
Darned Diction
  • Its simple. Diction is the choice of words used
    by an author.
  • There are no accidents in good writing. Each word
    is carefully chosen to achieve a certain effect.
  • Just like a athlete plans how to execute a play
    or a painter purposefully places each brush
    stroke in the right place, an author picks words
    and phrases intentionally and carefully.

21
Darned Diction
  • How the author says something tells us a lot
    about what he/she is trying to say.
  • Diction can be
  • Simple or dramatic
  • Common / everyday or advanced
  • Sparse or detailed
  • To-the-point or exaggerated

22
Darned Diction
  • Think of it like this Diction is like food.
  • A veggie platter with sautéed tofu is totally
    different than a prime rib steak with mashed
    potatoes and gravy, even though both are meals a
    person eats for dinner. Both achieve the same
    purpose (to fill you up), but they do it
    differently. In the same way, all authors are
    trying to tell a story, but they do it
    differently. The way people eat reveals something
    about their personality and preferences, just
    like the way an author writes reveals something
    about what they are trying to say.

23
Darned Diction
  • Example from Literature
  • Snape finished calling the names of the class.
    His eyes were blackcold and empty and made you
    think of dark tunnels.
  • You are here to learn the subtle science and
    exact art of portion-making, he began. He spoke
    in barely more than a whisper
  • Snape put them all into pairs and set them to
    mixing up a simple potion to cure boils. He swept
    around in his long black cloak, watching them
    weigh dried nettled and crush snake fangs
  • (HP 1 / 137-138)

24
Darned Diction
  • The author never said this was a bad guy, yet
    somehow with just a simple description of him in
    action we already know hes evil. How come?
  • There are 6 words in this passage that reveal
    something more about Snape than just the color of
    his clothes, the way he talks, or his teaching
    style. What are they?

25
Darned Diction
  • You can think of diction as literary language.
    Literary language is expressive it communicates
    tone, attitude, and feeling. It does so
    purposefully and deliberately. It wants to create
    an aesthetic experience, a world of its own.
  • Everyday language wants to get things done. It
    usually doesnt draw attention to itself, doesnt
    try to be beautiful or emotionally evocative. Its
    job is describe and explain.

26
Darned Diction
  • Food for Thought / Discussion
  • Do you think characters in a good story should
    use literary language or everyday language? Why?
  • Do you think the narrator in a good story should
    use literary language or everyday language? Why?

27
Darned Diction
  • Activity
  • Describe these objects as if you were trying to
    sell them.
  • Describe these objects as if it they were
    terrible.
  • Catch YOU MAY NOT SIMPLY SAY THIS _________ IS
    AWESOME OR TERRIBLE. You can only DESCRIBE its
    physical attributes, while using DICTION to clue
    your reader into the way you really feel about
    it.

28
Darned Diction
29
Darned Diction
30
Darned Diction
31
Darned Diction
  • Questions to Ask
  • How is diction different from the text itself?
  • Why is it important to notice differences in
    diction?
  • What kinds of things can diction clue us into
    about a story?
  • How many kids of diction are there?
  • What is the difference between literary language
    and everyday language?
  • CHECK UP
  • How comfortable are you with diction?
  • Show me with fist to five.

32
Silly Settings
  • Activity
  • Sketch a floor plan of your house.
  • Fill in some furniture, major things around the
    house, and important people who live there or
    visit.
  • Label each room with a single, vivid memory (ex
    dining room Christmas dinner with family every
    year / kitchen mom and I baking cookies
    together / stairs sliding down the banister and
    breaking my arm).
  • Explain how the setting in which so much of your
    life happens has affected you as a person. Is the
    setting good / bad, familiar / new, happy / sad,
    safe / scary, etc.? How has living where you live
    changed your life? 6 sentences.

33
Silly Settings
  • As weve seen, settings play a huge role in
    developing people. In the same way, settings
    affect characters in stories.
  • Settings can be
  • Positive or negative
  • Safe or scary
  • Happy or sad
  • Boring or exciting
  • Dangerous or safe
  • Mundane or magical
  • Beautiful or ugly
  • Or anything else you can imagine

34
Silly Settings
  • What is it?
  • Settings are the places where the story takes
    place.
  • There can be many settings in a story or a single
    setting. Usually, though, even if a story has
    multiple settings, there is one primary setting.
  • Ex You visit your friends houses, get your
    teeth cleaned at the dentist, go on family
    vacations, help you mom grocery shop, hang out at
    the mall, etc., but most of the important things
    in your life probably happen either at home or at
    school.

35
Silly Settings
  • Why are settings important?
  • They affect the characters and the plot.
  • Ex A character in Victorian England probably
    cant fly, but Harry Potter can because he lives
    in a magical setting.
  • They help set mood / tone / feel / atmosphere.
  • Ex Horror stories are set in creepy places
    because a creepy setting helps the story seem
    even scarier. Monster movies set in sunshiney
    forests with ponies and rainbows weird and not
    cool.

36
Silly Settings
  • They can clue the reader into upcoming events.
    They can be cheats.
  • Ex A big thunderstorm or the sudden setting of
    the sun can signal danger for the characters (who
    happen to be stranded on a lonely desert road).
  • They can serve as symbols.
  • Ex Characters who are rich and shallow live in a
    big mansion covered by a façade of brick.
    Characters that are hiding something live in a
    house full of hidden rooms and locked doors.

37
Silly Settings
  • Example from Literature
  • Harry had never even imagined such a strange
    and splendid place. It was lit by thousands and
    thousands of candles that were floating in midair
    over four long tables, where the rest of the
    students were sitting. These tables were laid
    with glittering golden plates and gobletsDotted
    here and there among the students, the ghosts
    shone misty silverHarry look upward and saw a
    velvety black ceiling doted with stars.
  • (HP 1 / 116-117)

38
Silly Settings
  • What does this setting tell you about the castle
    where Harry will be living?
  • What sense does it give you about Harrys
    future here?
  • Is this a positive or negative place? How do you
    know?
  • Do you think the main character will like it
    here? Why or why not?

39
Cranky Characterization
  • Activity Discussion
  • Write down the names of two favorite characters
    (one from a book, one from a movie).
  • Jot down at least five reasons why they are your
    favorites.
  • Share profiles of favorites as a class. What
    patterns of characterization pop up in many
    favorite characters?
  • What are some famous characters that have or will
    endure the test of time? Why are they so
    popular? What about them makes them amazing?

40
Cranky Characterization
  • Activity (2)
  • Divide into small groups. Each group picks a
    name
  • Ursula, Jordan, Linus, Dagny, Delilah, Baron, Jo,
    Fred, Dallas
  • Take 10 min. to create a persona for your name
    (use computer paper do NOT include names of
    group members). Include the following
  • A) Physical description and age
  • B) Behavior traits / personality
  • C) Body and facial language / habits
  • D) Fashion traits
  • E) Language characteristics
  • F) Special talents / hobbies / interests
  • G) Favorite things

41
Cranky Characterization
  • Groups pass in papers and I share characters with
    the class.
  • Characters are randomly switched and two groups
    (with new characters) get together.
  • Each pair of groups writes a brief script
    involving their two characters. Pick one
  • An incident at school
  • A social situation (dance, concert, trip to
    theater)
  • An unexpected meeting

42
Cranky Characterization
  • You MUST maintain the characters personality,
    behavior, and linguistic traits throughout the
    script.
  • Pass computer paper profiles back up and I will
    display them again for everyone to see.
  • Act out your script in front of the class. Class
    figures out which characters are represented.

43
Cranky Characterization
  • Debrief and Discussion
  • Were the groups successful in sustaining
    characterization in 1) their scripts and 2) their
    performances? Why or why not?
  • As a group, was it difficult to create an entire
    character?
  • To what degree was your character believable?
    When you saw your character acted out by another
    group, did that change your opinion?
  • Do you think you could create and sustain several
    believable characters throughout an entire book?

44
Cranky Characterization
  • What is it?
  • Characterization is the way an author develops a
    character / reveals information about a
    character.

45
Cranky Characterization
  • Types of Characters
  • Flat (defined by a single trait not much detail
    more like a caricature than a real person)
  • Round (complex full of detail not easily
    defined like a real person)
  • Give me examples of each

46
Cranky Characterization
  • Major Characters
  • The protagonist(s) one of the most prominent
    figures in the storys action
  • Minor Characters
  • Build structural tensions in the narrative act
    as foil for the protagonist clarify emotional
    contexts of major characters illuminate motives
    of major characters enhance readers perceptions
    of background and setting deepen the plot with
    "side stories contribute to foreshadowing
    underscore a thematic statement expand readers
    perceptions of how narrative, characters, events,
    and theme function change rhythm and pace add
    comic relief.

47
Cranky Characterization
  • Example from Literature
  • The table was almost hidden beneath all
    Dudleys birthday presents. It looked as though
    Dudley had gotten the new computer he wanted, not
    to mention the television and the racing bike.
    Exactly why Dudley wanted a racing bike was a
    mystery to Harry, as Dudley was very fat and
    hated exercise - unless of course it involves
    punching somebody. Dudleys favorite punching bag
    was Harry, but he couldnt often catch himAunt
    Petunia often said that Dudley looked like a baby
    angel - Harry often said that Dudley looked like
    a pig in a wig.
  • (HP 1 / 20-21)

48
Cranky Characterization
  • How is Dudley characterized? Does he seem to be
    round or flat? Why?
  • Dudley is a minor character and we know Harry is
    a major character. How does Dudleys
    characterization reveal things about Harry?
  • Why is Dudley in this story (he has very little
    to do with the actual plot of the book)? What
    purpose does his character serve?

49
Pesky Point of View
  • Activity
  • As you read this passage, imagine that youre a
    home buyer and write down any details (in ISN),
    positive or negative, that you think would be
    important if you were considering buying the
    house described.

50
Pesky Point of View
  • The two boys ran until they came to the
    driveway. See, I told you today was good for
    skipping school, said Mark. Tall hedges hid the
    house from the road so the pair strolled across
    the finely landscaped yard. I never knew this
    place was so big, said Pete. Yes, but its
    nicer now than it used to be since Dad had the
    new stone siding put on and added the fireplace.
  • There were front and back doors and a side door
    which led to the garage, which was empty empty
    except for three 10-speed bikes. They went in the
    side door, Mark explaining that it was always
    open in case his younger sisters got home earlier
    than their mother.

51
Pesky Point of View
  • Pete wanted to see the house so Mark started
    with the living room. It, like the rest of the
    house, was newly painted. Mark turned on the
    stereo, the noise of which worried Pete. Dont
    worry, the nearest house is half a mile away,
    shouted Mark. Pete felt more comfortable
    observing that no houses could be seen in any
    direction beyond the huge yard.
  • The dining room, with all the china, silver, and
    cut glass, was no place to hang out so the boys
    moved into the remodeled kitchen, where they made
    sandwiches

52
Pesky Point of View
  • Now, lets go back and reread the passage and
    write down any details, positive or negative,
    that you think would be important if you were
    casing the house in order to rob it.

53
Pesky Point of View
  • During our second reading of this passage,
    because were thinking of robbing the house, we
    focus on very different details, and even when we
    focus on the same details, they have a very
    different meaning for us.
  • Ex The privacy that is an asset for many home
    buyers becomes a liability in terns of the homes
    vulnerability to burglars. Merely changing the
    purpose for which we read can radically change
    the passage.

54
Pesky Point of View
  • In the same way, who tells a story and how they
    tell it greatly affects the way we read it.
  • Ex That story could be told through the eyes of
    a burglar, through the eyes of the boys, or
    through the eyes of a home buyer. In each case,
    the story would be totally different.
  • Details
  • What we know about characters
  • What we know about the plot
  • Agenda / meaning / moral / point

55
Pesky Point of View
  • What is it?
  • Who tells us the story and how it is told.
  • Shapes what we know and how we feel about the
    events in a story
  • Point of view is created by the storys narrator
    (the teller of the story). Our understanding of
    the plot and characters actions are filtered
    through his or her perspective.

56
Pesky Point of View
  • Arent the narrator and the author the same
    thing? NO! The author CREATES the narrative
    voice, but the two are distinct.
  • Ex A Christian author could write a story told
    from the narrative voice of a Buddhist monk.

57
Pesky Point of View
  • 3 Types of Narrator (Its as easy as 1,2,3!)
  • 1st Person (he, she, they does not participate
    in the action)
  • 2nd Person (you makes the reader part of the
    story almost never used except in
    choose-your-own-adventure books)
  • 3rd Person (I is a major or minor participant in
    the story)

58
Pesky Point of View
  • 3 Types of 3rd Person Narrative
  • 1) Omniscient (the narrator takes us inside the
    characters)
  • 2) Limited omniscient (the narrator takes us
    inside one or two characters)
  • 3) Objective (the narrator is outside the
    characters)

59
Pesky Point of View
  • Omniscient
  • All-knowing
  • Narrator can move the reader from place to place
    and pass back and forth through time, slipping
    into and out of characters.
  • Tells us about characters thoughts and feelings
    as well as what they say and do.

60
Pesky Point of View
  • Example
  • Jane felt vaguely nauseated as Nick told her the
    relationship was over. She wanted to cry, but
    tried to appear cold and unmoved so as not to let
    him know how she truly felt.
  • Nick seethed with anger as Jane stared coolly up
    at him. He wanted her to feel pain like the pain
    she had caused him.
  • Britt and Darren looked anxiously at the unhappy
    couple, pretending to be in conversation but
    really trying to ease drop on the break up. They
    were both worried about the heartache this would
    cause their friends and were confused as to why
    Nick was ending it so abruptly. Just yesterday
    they had seemed like the perfect couple

61
Pesky Point of View
  • Limited Omniscient
  • Knows the thoughts and feelings of only one or
    two major characters.
  • The reader has access to the thoughts and
    feelings of the character revealed by the
    narrator, but neither the reader nor the
    character has access to the inner lives of any of
    the other characters in the story.
  • We are not told of anything that happens away
    from the character because the narration is based
    on his/her perception of things.

62
Pesky Point of View
  • Example
  • Its over, Nick spat as he slammed his open
    palm on Janes car door. Ill never forgive you
    for what youve done.
  • Jane felt vaguely nauseated as Nick told her the
    relationship was over. She wanted to cry, but
    tried to appear cold and unmoved so as not to let
    him know how she truly felt.
  • As Jane chocked back her tears, she noticed Britt
    and Darren staring at them from across the
    parking lot. Why cant they just leave us
    alone, she thought angrily as she turned her
    face away.

63
Pesky Point of View
  • Objective
  • Narrator does not see into the mind of any
    character.
  • Reports action and dialogue without telling us
    directly what the character feels and thinks.
  • Detached and impersonal.
  • Relies on lots of actions, speaking, and details
    to reveal character (like a movie or play).

64
Pesky Point of View
  • Example
  • Its over, Nick spat as he slammed his open
    palm on Janes car door. Ill never forgive you
    for what youve done.
  • Jane winced as she felt tears spring into her
    eyes. She quickly averted her eyes so Nick
    wouldnt notice. When she looked back at him, her
    face was cold and blank.
  • Britt and Darren kept glancing over toward the
    couple, confused looks on both their faces.

65
Pesky Point of View
  • Back to 1st Person Narrative
  • Narrator is IN the story.
  • The I presents the point of view of only ONE
    character. Basically, the reader is restricted to
    the perceptions, thoughts, and feelings of that
    single character.
  • These narrators can see the world rightly or
    wrongly. They can be
  • Reliable or unreliable
  • Perceptive or naïve

66
Pesky Point of View
  • Examples from Literature
  • Identify POV
  • If 3rd, which type?

67
Pesky Point of View
  • Before Harry could reply, there was a soft
    knock on the door and Madam Pomfrey, the nurse,
    came bustling in.
  • Harry felt himself going red in the face. It
    was bad enough that hed passed out, or whateve
    he had done, without everyone making all this
    fuss.
  • Im fine, he said, I dont need anything-
  • Oh, its you, is it? said Madam Pomfrey,
    ignoring this and bending down to stare closely
    at him. I suppose youve been doing something
    dangerous again?
  • (HP 3 / 89)

68
Pesky Point of View
  • 1st person hold up 1 finger
  • 2nd person hold up 2 fingers
  • 3rd person hold up 3 fingers
  • Why?

69
Pesky Point of View
  • Now that weve established why this passage is
    third person POV, what type of 3rd person is it?
  • Omniscient hold up 1 finger
  • Limited omniscient hold up 2 fingers
  • Objective holds up 3 fingers
  • Why?

70
Pesky Point of View
  • How does Madam Pomfrey feel about the fact Harry
    is injured again?
  • How do we know this? Does she ever tell Harry or
    the reader how she feels?
  • How does Harry feel about winding up in the
    nurses office again and passing out in front of
    the whole school?
  • How do we know this?
  • Which character do we have intimate knowledge
    about? Which character do we make assumptions
    about based on their actions or dialogue?

71
Pesky Point of View
  • Activity
  • In pairs, re-write this passage to make it 3rd
    person omniscient.
  • Then, re-write it again to make it 3rd person
    objective.
  • 10 min.
  • Share with another pair to check if youve got
    POV down.
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