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Presentation on theme: "Symbolism."— Presentation transcript:

1 Symbolism

2 Reading Quiz 1. There are two literal leaps in the poem “The Leap.” What are they? 2. What is the subject of the poem “Jundee Ameriki”? 3. In “One Perfect Rose,” an unnamed man sends the speaker a rose. What does she say that no one has ever sent her? 4. Which poem did you most enjoy? 5. What is one question you had about today’s readings?

3 Symbol definitions a person, place, thing, or event that figuratively represents or stands for something else. Often the thing or idea represented is more abstract and general, and the symbol is more concrete and particular. A traditional (or convention) symbol  is one that recurs frequently in (and beyond) literature and is thus immediately recognizable to those who belong to a given culture. In Western literature and culture, for example, the rose and snake traditionally symbolize love and evil, respectively. Other symbols such as the scarlet letter in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter instead accrue their complex meanings only within a particular literary work; these are sometimes called invented (or contextual) symbols.

4 What does each of these symbols represent?

5 What are some other symbols you can think of?
What can a limousine symbolize? ??? ??? Limousine ??? ???

6 What symbolizes YOU? You have to get a tattoo that symbolizes who you are or, perhaps, your journey. With what do you ink yourself?

7 Dorothy Parker “One Perfect Rose”
What is this poem about? What is the speaker’s attitude toward the rose she received from her love? Why is the final stanza surprising when you first read it? How do the preceding stanzas imply a more conventional appreciation of the rose as a symbol of love? What does the poem imply about the weakness of “one perfect rose” (4) as a symbol of love? How might such a symbol and language of love be manipulated? Is the speaker rejecting the rose, rejecting the love that is symbolized, desirous of material goods, or simply being funny?

8 Adrienne Rich “Diving into the Wreck”
[Diving into the Wreck] is a book of explorations, of travels. The wreck she is diving into, in the very strong title poem, is the wreck of obsolete myths, particularly myths about men and women. She is journeying to something that is already in the past, in order to discover for herself the reality behind the myth What she finds is part treasure and part corpse, and she also finds that she herself is part of it, a “half- destroyed instrument.” As explorer she is detached; she carries a knife to cut her way in, cut structures apart; a camera to record; and the book of myths itself, a book which has hitherto had no place for explorers like herself The truth, it seems, is not just what you find when you open a door: it is itself a door, which the poet is always on the verge of going through. From “Review of ‘Diving into the Wreck.’ ” In Gelpi and Gelpi, eds., Adrienne Rich’s Poetry and Prose (New York: Norton, 1993), 280– 81.

9 Discussion Questions 1. The diver in this poem says that she came for “the wreck and not the story of the wreck / the thing itself and not the myth” (lines 62– 63). Why isn’t Rich’s diver interested in the story of the wreck? What, exactly, is she interested in and why? If Rich’s diver isn’t interested in stories, then why does she talk so much about language in lines 53ff.? 2. What’s the significance of the specific activities through which Rich’s diver prepares for her dive and of the equipment she takes with her? What about the descriptions of the difficulties she experiences at the beginning of the dive (third stanza)? 3. What is the diver’s relationship to the sea (39– 40)? 4. What is the significance of the diver’s description of herself as both “mermaid” and “merman,” “she” and “he,” in lines 72– 73 and 77? Has she been changed in some way by her arrival at “the place,” or is there another explanation for why this event comes here in the poem (71)?

10 Discussion Questions, cont.
5. What different things might the wreck and the dive symbolize? What evidence from the poem supports each of your interpretations? 6. What do you make of the ending of the poem, particularly the switch from “I” to “We” in line 87? Of the fact that the poem ends with the statement that “our names do not appear” in the “book of myths” (92– 94)? What poets, scholars and academics have said about this poem:

11 Brian Turner “Jundee Ameriki”
1. Is the speaker the same person as the soldier under surgery? Who is the speaker? Does the poem contain any clues into the speaker’s character? 2. Why does the speaker attribute to the suicide bomber the incorrect words “Allah al Akbar” (15) rather than the Arabic Allahu akbar? 3. How is the “kind of weeping the body does” (4) related to the “dull grief of it / the body must learn to absorb” (20)?

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