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Detecting Symbolism in Literature Learning Module 2 <<

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Presentation on theme: "Detecting Symbolism in Literature Learning Module 2 <<

1 Detecting Symbolism in Literature Learning Module 2 <<

2 Learning Objectives Discover techniques that writers use to introduce symbols in images in literature Examine literary examples that use symbols and images Explore personal reactions to symbolism in writing

3 Detective Trick #1 Look for Word Phrases

4 Symbolism in literature can be glaringly obvious to the reader. Word phrases can indicate symbols in literature. Phrases that begin with “like” or “as” can indicate symbolism.

5 Example Select a word phrase that indicates symbolism in this passage. “She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams” (¶ 7). A. Quite motionless B. As a child C. In its dream

6 Example Select a phrase that indicates symbolism in this passage. “She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams” (¶ 7). A. Quite motionless - Incorrect B. As a child C. In its dream

7 Example Select a word phrase that indicates symbolism in this passage. “She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams” (¶ 7). A. Quite motionless B. As a child C. In its dream – Almost but not quite

8 Example B. As a child - CORRECT The writer compared the mourning wife’s demeanor to that of a child when using this word phrase. Now, let’s move on to Detective Trick #2.

9 Detective Trick #2 Look for Writing Techniques

10 Symbolism in literature can be subtle to the reader and more difficult to detect. Writers may use one of many writing techniques to introduce a symbol or image.

11 Look for Writing Techniques Some examples of writing techniques that writers use to introduce symbolism include: –Personification –Metaphors –Frequency of an object or character –Descriptive detail.

12 Example Read this passage and choose the technique that BEST describes the writer’s use of symbolism. “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves” (¶ 5). A. Frequency of objects B. Descriptive detail

13 Example Read this passage and choose the technique that BEST describes the writer’s use of symbolism. “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves” (¶ 5). A. Frequency of objects - INCORRECT B. Descriptive detail

14 Example B. Descriptive detail - CORRECT When the writer described the spring scene outside the mourning wife’s house, several images indicate how the wife’s fixation on sorrow was moving toward a more life-affirming perspective.

15 Example Let’s look at one of the details in the passage again. Choose the technique that BEST describes the writer’s symbolic life images. “The delicious breath of rain was in the air.” (¶ 5). A. Personification B. Metaphor

16 Example Let’s look at one of the details in the passage again. Choose the technique that BEST describes the writer’s symbolic life images. “The delicious breath of rain was in the air.” (¶ 5). A. Personification B. Metaphor - INCORRECT

17 Example A. Personification - CORRECT By giving rain a human quality, namely the ability to have breath, then rain becomes a symbol of life through the writer’s use of personification Now, you’re ready to learn about Detective Trick #3.

18 Detective Trick #3 Get to Know the Writer

19 Symbolism in literature can also be determined by getting to know the writer: –Learn about the writer’s writing style. –Become familiar with other literary works a writer has written.

20 Example Edgar Allan Poe experienced tragedy during his lifetime. Most of his literary works include dark imagery and death that embodied his life experiences. By understanding Poe’s life and writing style, a reader will find it easy to detect his symbolic references to death and dark imagery.

21 Detective Trick #4 Follow Your Feelings

22 Symbolism in literature can be detected by examining one’s own emotions while reading. If an image evokes a strong reaction out of a reader, then the author probably intended to evoke emotion with the use of that image.

23 Example In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”, the woman’s public punishment can invoke strong opinions about: –Adulterous behavior –Double standards women face when adulterous behavior comes to light. Clearly, the use of the letter “A” is a symbol that deserves attention when reading this literary work.

24 Detective Trick #5 Get Other Opinions

25 Symbolism in literature can be determined by seeing what someone else has to say about it by: –Initiating a literary discussion with your classmates or the class facilitator. –Reading literary essays that others have written about symbolism in the literature you’re reading.

26 Detecting Symbolism Summary 1.Look for word phrases that indicate symbolism. 2.Look for writing techniques that indicate symbolism. 3.Get to know the writer. 4.Follow your feelings. 5.Get other opinions.

27 Learning Module 2 Complete Congratulations! You’re a literary detective now. Now, you’re ready to launch your own investigation to locate symbolism in your selected reading choice.

28 References Short story excerpts were taken from Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour. Located at er/world_civ_reader_2/chopin.html er/world_civ_reader_2/chopin.html


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