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Why do writers write like they do?

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Presentation on theme: "Why do writers write like they do?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Why do writers write like they do?
Style, Setting, Mood, Atmosphere, Imagery, Diction

2 Location! Location! Location!
A new business owner needs to find the “perfect” location if s/he intends to be successful. Writers do that, too. Setting is one of the key elements of writing.

3 Style Style in literature is the literary element that describes the way the author uses words—word choice, sentence structure, figurative language, and sentence arrangement-- all work together to establish mood, images, and meaning in the text.

4 Style Style is similar to clothes. Clothes can be: Formal and dressy
Informal and casual Preppy Athletic An author’s writing style can be, too.

5 Consider these Differences
“The cask of amontillado” by poe From The Scarlet Letter by nathaniel hawthorne THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could ; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged ; this was a point definitively settled - but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved, precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong. Hester Prynne did not now occupy precisely the same position in which we beheld her during the earlier periods of her ignominy. Years had come, and gone. Pearl was now seven years old. Her mother, with the scarlet letter on her breast, glittering in its fantastic embroidery, had long been a familiar object to the townspeople. As is apt to be the case when a person stands out in any prominence before the community, and, at the same time, interferes neither with public nor individual interests and convenience, a species of general regard had ultimately grown up in reference to Hester Prynne.

6 Setting Is the historical time and place and the social circumstances that create the world in which the characters act and make choices The setting can be revealed through: Geographical location— landscape, scenery, room layout, stage set or design Cultural backdrop/social context—occupations, way of life, way of talking and behaving, gender roles, clothing, traditions, customs, value, speech patterns, laws, past, present and future Props—tools, clothing, furniture

7 Consider these Questions
How many locations are described? How effective are the visual descriptions? Are there connections between the locations and the characters? Think of Twilight or Harry Potter. Why are these locations very specific?

8 Setting Creates Mood Settings evoke emotional content from the story. Through details about the environment, the emotions are created. Authors sometimes describe: Light, colors, shapes, smells, sounds Usually described with emotional-based adjectives: gloomy, suspenseful, ominous, dreary, tragic, romantic, mysterious

9 Archetypal Settings Are setting elements that have some universal aspect that is associated by most people with a particular human experience the sea (delve into a subconscious) The garden (a place for growth or rebirth) The wasteland (thought of as useless, abandoned) The castle (defeat unbelievable enemy, take back place) The threshold (crossing over into…)

10 Passage from Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
In south Georgia everything is flat and wide. Not empty. My people live among the mobile homes, junked cars, pine plantations, clearcuts, and fields. They live among the lost forests (page 3 ). What mood are we already experiencing? Is there a connection between the location and the author?

11 Passage from Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
The creation ends in south Georgia, at the very edge of the sweet earth. Only the sky, widest of the wide, goes on, flatness against flatness. The sky appears so close that, with a long-enough extension ladder, you think you could touch it, and sometimes you do, when clouds descend in the night to set a fine pelt of dew on the grasses, leaving behind white trails of fog and mist (p3). How effective is this visual description?

12 Passage from Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
At night the stars are thick and bright as a pint jar of fireflies, the moon at full a pearly orb, sailing through them like an egret. By day the sun, close in a paper sky, laps moisture from the land, then gives it back, always an exchange. Even in drought, when each dawn a parched sun cracks against the horizon’s griddle, the air is thick with water (p3). What senses are being tapped for imagery? What examples of figurative language are there?

13 Passage from Lord of the Flies
The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way toward the lagoon. Though he had taken off his school sweater and trailed it now from one hand, his grey shirt stuck to him and his hair was plastered to his forehead. All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat. He was clambering heavily among the creepers and broken trunks when a bird, a vision of red and yellow, flashed upwards with a witch-like cry; and this cry was echoed by another.

14 From Twilight first paragraph in preface: "I'd never given much thought to how I would die-though I'd had reason enough in the last few months-but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this." first paragraph in first chapter: "My mother drove me to the airport with the windows rolled down. It was seventy-five degrees in Phoenix, the sky a perfect, cloudless blue. I was wearing my favorite shirt-sleeveless, white eyelet lace; I was wearing it as a farewell gesture. My carry-on item was a parka.”

15 From The Hunger Games When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping. I prop myself up on one elbow. There’s enough light in the bedroom to see them. My little sister, Prim, curled up on her side, cocooned in my mother’s body, their cheeks pressed together. In sleep, my mother looks younger, still worn but not so beaten-down. Prim’s face is as fresh as a raindrop, as lovely as the primrose for which she was named. My mother was very beautiful once, too. Or so they tell me.

16 Why does diction matter?
Diction (word choice) ties everything together. It is the essence of the writing. It consists of denotation and connotation. It also sometimes contains: slang, dialect, colloquialisms, and allusions. It can be rich in meaning and identify with its reader through figurative language.

17 Diction—word choice Diction depends on:
Topic Purpose Convince Entertain Amuse Inform plead Occasion Levels of formality Societal norms Denotation—is a word’s literal dictionary definition Connotation—is the meaning suggested by the word; the “shades”

18 Connotation in Practice
When studying diction, readers must understand both connotation and denotation. When a writer calls a character slender, the word evokes a different feeling from calling the character gaunt. Connotative meaning produces a strong reaction in the reader.

19 Denotation and Connotation Bubbles

20 Formal Diction vs. Informal Diction
Formal diction is largely reserved for: scholarly writing serious prose or poetry. Informal diction is the norm: in expository essays newspaper editorials works of fiction Colloquial diction and slang borrow from informal speech to create a particular mood.

21 Different Types of Diction
Slang—a group of recently coined words often used in informal speech; come and go Colloquialisms—often regional ways of using language (ex: y’all) Dialect--a regional variety of language, possibly with differences in pronunciation

22 Who is the Slang ‘Kang’ or ‘Quane’?
Blast Bling-bling Bo bo Bones Boo Bookoo Bootsie Boo-yah Bougie Brah Cop Cup cakin’ Dead presidents Peeps Phat Pimpin’ Poodle Po-po

23 Southern Colloquialisms
She needs a fix of chocolate. I just about swallered my tongue. Haven't seen you in a coon's age! He hasn't got the sense God gave a goose. She's slow as molasses at Christmas. That's like the pot callin' the kettle black. She was runnin' around like a chicken with its head cut off. She gets my goose. If you don't watch out, I'm gonna cream yo' corn.“ He's about as useful as a steering wheel on a mule. Don't go gittin yer gussie up.

24 Dialect -- language of a particular district, class, or group of persons. --encompasses the sounds, spelling, grammar, and diction employed by a specific people as distinguished from other persons either geographically or socially. --is a major technique of characterization that reveals the social or geographic status of a character. From Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn: Jim: "We's safe, Huck, we's safe! Jump up and crack yo' heels. Dat's de good ole Cairo at las', I jis knows it.“ Huck: "I'll take the canoe and go see, Jim. It mightn't be, you know."

25 From Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
"What she doin coming back here in dem overhalls? Can't she find no dress to put on? -- Where's dat blue satin dress she left here in? -- Where all dat money her husband took and died and left her? -- What dat ole forty year ole 'oman doin' wid her hair swingin' down her back lak some young gal? Where she left dat young lad of a boy she went off here wid? -- Thought she was going to marry? -- Where he left her? -- What he done wid all her money? -- Betcha he off wid some gal so young she ain't even got no hairs -- why she don't stay in her class?"

26 Allusions Definition—references to other cultures, texts, historical figures, etc. Recognizing allusions comes with time and experience/reading. Example: His fate was that of Cassandra. Often times, allusions are marked with footnotes. They can also reveal important setting or plot points. Consider these allusions from To Kill a Mockingbird: Dracula was popular that year. I guess you could consider Atticus like Merlin in my eyes. The crash had only happened a couple years back. He kept secrets like a bootlegger.

27 Allusions Practice War between the states.
Nine old men decided his fate. That’s his Achilles’ heel That’s a Pandora's box. She’s another Cinderella. He’s a real Don Juan. He reminds me of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. She’s a Pollyanna, and he’s a Scrooge. During the trial, the jury was beginning to see the defendant as another Cain. She has seen the handwriting on the wall.

28 Allusion Clips Family Guy allusions:
Allusions in Song (Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”): Other allusions (in images):

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