Literary Analysis: A Guide For Understanding Key Concepts in ENG300 by…
Literary Analysis: A Guide For Understanding Key Concepts in ENG300 by Matt Spencer
Metaphor / Simile
Metaphor: a figure of speech that associates two distinct things, without using "like" or "as"
Ezra Pound's "In A Station of the Metro"
Simile: a figure of speech that compares two distinct things by using words such as "like" or "as"
Atwood's "[you fit into me]"
The use of figurative language, often to express abstract ideas in a vivid and innovative way.
Bishop: "The Fish"
Voice: The manner of expression if the speaker in a literary work
Associations beyond a word's literal meaning
Comic / Rhetorical Form
Irony: Contradiction or incongruity between an appearance or expectation and reality
A statement that seems self-contradictory or nonsensical but may express an underlying truth
Keats's "Ode On a Grecian Urn"
Associated with 17th century metaphyiscal poetry; involves the use of paradox and imagery drawn from arcane sources;
Donne's "Valediction: Forbidden Mourning"
Metonymy: a figure of speech in which one thing is represented by another that is common and often physically associated with it
A lyric poem in which the speaker addresses a silent listener
Roethke, "My Last Duchess"
Format: Lyric poem that often consists of fourteen lines and follows a conventional rhyme scheme
Italian sonnets, "little songs"
English (Shakespearean) sonnets
Iambic Pentameter: A line of verse consisting of five metrical feet, the predominant length in English verse
Shakespeare: "Sonney 116"
Donne: "Holy Sonnets" 10 & 14
Sprung Rhythm: A type of meter which mimics the rhythm of speech, in which the stressed syllable in a line is constant but the unstressed syllables vary
Hopkins: "God's Grandeur"
The interconnectedness of texts, and the amalgamation of existing texts into new ones
Quoting other literature
Mimicry of style or theme
Borrowing from journals or newspapers
Writing or subverting the conventions of the time
A transitional period in which artists sought to liberate themselves from the conventions of Victorianism
Stream of consciousness
The continuous flow of past and present experience through the conscious mind; a narrative mode rendering an ongoing, subjective, often jumbled mental observation and commentary
Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
a man who sits around waiting for someone else to take action.
the modern city as a dirty place where people waste their time.
References to Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress"
Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress"
Protagonist / Antagonist
Protagonist: The main character in a work; sometimes the hero
A Streetcar Named Desire
Antagonist: Character pitted against the protagonist of a work; sometimes the villain
A Streetcar Named Desire
A Streetcar Named Desire
Drama: A serious literary work, usually intended for a performance before an audience
Naturalism: Detailed, detached, objective; depicting life as a struggle to survive and people as being at the mercy of biological and socioeconomic forces
Primitive man, violent
Tragedy: A serious and often somber drama that typically ends in disaster and focuses on a character who undergoes unexpected personal reversals
Theme: Hidden desires ultimately control the behavior of the characters in the play, often to tragic results
Desire for sexual dominance over the women in his life, rapes Blanche
The desire for a normal existence and family reversed by Stanley's rape of Blanche, which she must lie to herself about
Sanity shattered after being raped by Stanley
Losing grip on reality / self deception
Insanity, "jungle noises"
Style: The way in which a literary work is written, but can also apply to film
A Streetcar Named Desire (Film)
Changes in message via medium; what does the viewer focus on next?
Rape scene's depiction in film vs. play: alternative interpretations via director
The elements focused on via camera are different than seeing a stage in a theater
Narrator: A speaker whom through an author presents a narrative, often but not always a character in the work
Unreliable narrators: A narrator who cannot be trusted to tell the whole story objectively; they have some investment in the way the story is told
Point of View: The vantage point from which the narrative is told
Switching Point of View between Nelly and Lockwood changes the way in which the events of the story are relayed to the reader
Second Person (Rare)
Gothic; Victorian period: A genre characterized by a general mood of decay, suspense, and terror
Plot and Setting typically emphasized over character and characterization
Not the case in Bronte's work; she writes complex characters, and plenty of them
Embodied in Bronté's depiction of Heathcliff
Susan Meyer article: "Reverse Imperialism in Wuthering Heights"
Feminist perspective: Oppression of women in British society
Represented by the behavior of the two generations of Catherines
Lyn Pykett article: "Changing the Names: The Two Catherines"
Primitivism: A doctrine postulating that, though humans are essentially good, they have been corrupted by "civilization."
Billy Budd as "the Upright Barbarian"
Inherent evil in civilization
Claggart as pure evil
Nature vs. nature: The Nature of the earth versus the nature of man
Captain Vere as the law on the ship, the King's law
The chaos of the natural world battling the order and strict conduct of the military
Claggart's obsession with Billy Budd
The lack of female characters
The "Handsome Sailor" nickname
Herman Melville's own sexuality