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Microsoft word - literature study guide 2012.docx

LITERATURE STUDY GUIDE
FOR ENGLISH
HOME LANGUAGE
A Resource To Use In Preparation
For The 2012 NSC Examination
 To analyse how word choices, imagery and sound devices affect mood, meaning  To analyse how verse and stanza forms, rhyme, rhythm and punctuation shape GENEROUS
When I am generous I am using all I have to glorify God, because it al belongs to Him. “I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35 You are called, chosen and equipped by God Almighty to study on the ACE program. What a privileged position you are in! You are living in an exciting time! There is a great cal ing on your life, and by preparing for your final exam, you are getting nearer and nearer to your goal. We are all so proud of you. In this PACE you are going to learn to understand and appreciate poetry. Poetry is not difficult to analyse if you know what to look for. This PACE will guide you and equip you. Once you really understand poetry, it can be a very beautiful and enriching experience that will bring beauty and a sense of awe and satisfaction to your soul. Make a choice now that you are going to both master and enjoy it. You will have to learn some words and expressions. They will help you understand what you are dealing with and give you the language ability to express yourself in proper English when you analyse the poems. It is wel worth the effort to memorize the given terms and expressions – you will also use them when analysing your novel and drama. Remember, the effort that you put in will be directly related to your eventual achievement. Go for it! Be faithful and you will reap the rewards. Remember, God is also God of Academics – He is with you and for you. You simply need to be responsible and do your duty. May God’s blessing be on you as you work this PACE. VOCABULARY WORDS
Learn these vocabulary words. A proper understanding of these terms will help you to answer questions correctly. Use them when answering questions – you are also assessed on your command of (ability to use correctly) the language. Sample questions have been added to give you an indication of what to expect. (All these are definitions that are used by the S.A. Department of Education –you will surely encounter some of them in your exam papers.) sensitive to the beauty of language and thus sensitive to and appreciative of the lasting value of texts lead the reader’s mind to ponder on good thoughts.) double meaning created by the way in which words are used; when used unintentionally, ambiguity obscures the meaning (e.g. Short children’s stories are in demand.) two different things that have a similar relationship is compared, e.g. honey is to sweet shows the same relationship as lemon is to sour. a figure of speech in which two opposite meanings are expressed together, e.g. the more haste, the less speed if language is appropriate it is suitable in terms of the context in which it is used. (e.g. “Good morning, Mr Jones’ is appropriate for a formal work situation, whereas “Hi Jo” is appropriate between friends) Discuss the appropriacy of the poet’s choice of words. (Words are used appropriately if they add value to the text, explain or enhance something.) connotative meaning both the positive and negative associations that a word collects through usage that go beyond the literal meaning What is the connotative meaning of a word e.g. slumber? (sweet repose / sleeping, but also careless neglect) a text is always used and produced in context; you need to understand the situation, e.g. the social, cultural and political background, as well as what has happened before or will follow after the word or the text. Explain a passage in context. (“Are you up already?” can be an expression of sarcasm or surprise, depending on the context in which it is used.) contrast (compare) consider the way in which things differ accepted practices or rules. It can apply to grammar rules, or to rules of society. Keeping the conventions of the Italian sonnet in mind, discuss this poem. (Discuss the poem in whether it follows or ignores the rules that are generally used for the Italian sonnet.) the process of thinking about ideas or situations in inventive and unusual ways in order to understand them better and respond to them in a new and constructive manner. You are thinking creatively when you imagine, invent, alter or improve a concept or product. Try to be creative in your thinking when you analyze literature, e.g. try to imagine what the scene was like, what other meanings could the passage have, how does the words apply to what was said before, etc. analyse the intention of the meaning instead of manipulating the language to fit preconceived ideas. You are to demonstrate a critical awareness of the text you are studying. denotative meaning the literal meaning of a word. How does the denotative meaning differ from the connotative meaning in “It makes me sick”? a form of language adapted by a particular community – it differs from other forms of the same language. Some characters in literature sometimes speak a different dialect, e.g. in Scotland a circle in the road is called a round-about. meaning which is clearly or directly stated(as opposed to implicit) words used in a non-literal way to create a desired effect; literary texts often make use of figurative language (e.g. simile, personification, metaphor) the word comes from the flow of a river and suggests a coherence and cohesion that gives language use the quality of being natural, easy to use and easy to interpret something implied or suggested in the text but not expressed directly (as opposed to explicit) One thing is said, but the opposite meaning is intended. One has to find a meaning that differs from the literal meaning. to pick up the meaning behind what is stated and to deduce al the implications the plainest, most direct meaning that can be attributed to a word or phrase two words that are opposite in meaning are used together, e.g. sweet sorrow a statement that seems contradictory or absurd a humorous imitation of a serious writing – it changes its sense to nonsense in order to ridicule a word with a double meaning e.g. Lady Macbeth says that she will gild the groom’s faces. The pun lies in that the king is said to have golden blood, thus the faces are gilded, but she also wants to put the blame on them, thus “guilt” them A satire is a kind of humor that pokes fun at some custom or idea, but is not meant to be hurtful. a figure of speech in which a situation is deliberately pictured as less serious or important than that it really is. When studying literature one has to know the basic literary terminology. Use them when discussing literature, especially when answering essay questions. The correct usage of these terms wil greatly enhance your work. WHAT IS POETRY?
Literature is written in different forms, referred to as genres. Genres are distinguished by subject (content), the way the subject is treated and by its form. The three main genres which we will study are drama, poetry and the novel. Poetry is the most concentrated form of literature, where the fewest possible number of words are used to convey a special message. The different patterns that are used to convey the message all attribute to the aesthetic value of poetry. All poems have both content and style. The content is expressed by the use of specific word choices, imagery and different poetic devices. These aspects of poetry affect the mood, meaning and theme of the poem. All poems are written in verse form (in lines). These lines are grouped together in stanzas. Most poems rhyme, although that is not essential. Poems may also have specific patterns of rhythm or accent, and the punctuation is used to bring clarity. The form, rhyme, rhythm and punctuation work together to shape the meaning of the poem. A poem is always written about something, in other words, the poem has meaning. Usual y a poem conveys a special message, which may often be an inner feeling that the poet wants to express. The poem does not merely talk about something, but must be logically correct and emotionally stimulating. However, since poems are limited in scale, it cannot include many characters or incidents. A poem has to concentrate on a small area and can as a result be quite complex. The purpose of poetry is to paint a mental picture through words and by using imagination. This mental picture is designed to stir the emotions and so to convey a special message. To find the meaning of the poem, one has to consider the poet’s intention – what is he / she trying to say? The reader must be careful though not to make assumptions and jump to unverifiable conclusions, but must try to find the poet’s meaning, whether the reader agrees or disagrees with the poet. One also needs to consider the speaker, which may be the poet or a character created by the poet. The speaker is different from the poet – the poet wrote the lines but the speaker conveys the message. The message is often very personal. When referring to the experience and the events in the poem, refer to them as belonging to the speaker and not to the poet. (E.g. The speaker feels that… instead of the poet feels that…) For a poem to be successful, it has to have a worthwhile theme. The theme is the topic or subject of the poem. The poem can deal with almost any subject, such as love, death, family, nature, the city, the country, age, youth, war, civilization, or pestilence. The theme is found by firstly analyzing the poem on surface level, then interpreting the deeper meaning. Remember that one does not have to go “message hunting”; the poem itself will give the theme its impact. Together with the theme one may find specific motifs (ideas or elements) that recur throughout the poem. Also look out for morals (lessons) that are being taught. The mood of a poem is the atmosphere that the poem conveys. It can be reflective, joyful, sad, serene, etc. The mood expresses the feeling of the speaker towards the topic, e.g. anger, amusement, tenderness, awe, etc. The tone (manner of speaking or writing) supports and expresses the mood of the poem. The tone can be described as the expression of the speaker’s attitude towards the reader. It can be confidential, appealing, etc. Tone is also linked with poetic voice, and sound devices can be used very effectively to convey both the tone and the mood of the poem. WORD CHOICES - DICTION
The success of a poem lies in the poet’s ability to use words effectively – through the poet’s choice and ordering of words the desired effect is created. All the words must add to the unity of the poem, to bring across the central message. Remember that a poem can have only one central theme and is limited in characters. Redundant words wil detract from the value of the poem. The vocabulary must be exact, saying exactly what the poet wants to say. Yet the poem must be complete in thought and effective in its message. Therefore every word in the poem must convey specific meaning while it contributes to the overall theme and effect of the poem. Obviously the words can be used connotatively or denotatively – the skillful reader will pick up all the different meanings that the poet wants to express. The poet’s diction must also be colourful if it is to create a mind picture. Diction does not only refer to the specific vocabulary, but also to the way the words are used. Word order, poetic devices and punctuation all work together to create the mind picture that the poet wants to convey. Sometimes a poet even uses poetic license, where word pronunciation or sentence structures are changed from the general language usage to achieve a special effect. A poem does not merely tel about or describe a happening, awareness or scene, but lets the reader/ hearer experience the emotion or message that the poet wants to convey. It must impact the reader to the extent that the reader shares the poet’s emotions and experience. The poet achieves this by using his / her imagination, by carefully and deliberately selecting the words that will be used and by applying some of the poetic devices. , the poet creates a word picture that stirs our emotions and that conveys a specific message that is to produce a desired effect. Imagery can be very powerful in its suggestions, as it expresses someone’s feelings towards something rather than to describe it. The structure and style of poetry enables it to state its message and impact our emotions more intensely than what other literary forms can do. Poets use different techniques and elements to evoke (create) mind pictures or images, sensations and emotions. All the components in a poem that evoke any sensory experience are referred to as imagery. By the use of imagery one is reminded of certain sensations of sight (visual image), hearing (auditory image), touch (tactile image), smel (olfactory image) and taste (gustatory image). Figurative language (similes, metaphors, personification, etc.) is often used to create imagery, but images can also be created by using words literally. POETIC DEVICES
Poets enhance their poems by using different poetic devices such as comparisons (similes, metaphors, personification), sound devices (al iteration, consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia), figurative language (what is suggested) and imagery (word pictures that appeal to the five senses). These poetic devices that are often encountered in poetry, but they may be used effectively in any literary genre. Their purpose is to help create mind pictures, or imagery. Sound devices also help to create imagery. These poetic devices are often referred to as figures of speech. A figure of speech is an expression that goes beyond its literal meaning or ordinary use in order to add beauty or emotional intensity. This is done to create a special effect, so that the poet’s message may be enhanced. A figure of speech must add to the overall effect and do something special for the poem to be effective. When you analyse poems, you will explain the significance of and effects created by the figures of speech. You will not find all the figures of speech in one poem – perhaps you may even find none. Still, look out for them – they are important to understand and intensify the message that the poet wants to convey.
DEVICES THAT COMPARE THINGS


A simile describes something by comparing it to something else using the words like, as or
than. Usually two things that are quite unlike each other are compared.
A very well-known simile is “O my luve’s like a red, red rose” by Robert Burns. Instead of using many words to explain an image, the poet uses the simile and immediately we sense the meaning and intensity. METAPHOR
A metaphor describes something by saying that it is something else. Usual y the items being compared are very different, but still have something important in common. It is this common feature that gives the metaphor its impact. The meaning of the first word is enriched by the connotations of the second one. A metaphor is more complex than a simile. It never contains the words “as” or “like”, but identifies two things with each other or substitutes one for the other. Robert Burns’ simile changed to a metaphor is “My love is a red, red rose.” We know that a red rose is beautiful – it shares the characteristic of being beautiful with the beloved lady. From the simile we know that she too must be beautiful. However, not all metaphors are so straightforward and easy to spot. When looking for metaphors, it may be like a treasure hunt! Sometimes the metaphor is straightforward and direct, but at other times it is indirect and implied rather that stated directly. METONYMY
A person or thing is not named directly, but by some associated thing. One part can be named to describe the whole, e.g. “The prisoner addressed the bench.” The bench represents the judge and jury. One word or phrase can also be used in the place of something else with which it has become associated. In the expression “the pen is mightier than the sword”, the word pen is used for that which is written and sword is used to represent military power. PERSONIFICATION
Personification is a type of metaphor in which a non-human thing, an inanimate object or abstract idea is given human qualities, feelings or abilities. In “Day flips a golden coin” from “the Gamblers” by Anthony Delius the day is described as a gambler that can flip a coin. Only humans can gamble and flip coins, therefore we can see that this is an example of personification. A symbol is an image that is used to stand for or represent something else. Our flag is a
symbol that represents our country. Symbols often have emotional and subconscious
meanings.
Consider the word “doom” in “but bears it out even to the edge of doom” from Sonnet 116 (Shakespeare). Doom is a symbol that represents physical death. HYPERBOLE
A hyperbole is a deliberate, bold overstatement or exaggeration that is used for emphasis or heightened effect. It is not intended to be taken literally, but is used for emphasis. It deliberately makes a statement more intense; describe something as bigger or more awesome or terrible that it is. The proverb “to pay an arm and a leg” is an example of a hyperbole. Nobody really pays for something with his body parts, but the idea is clear: the price that had to be paid seemed extremely high. EUPHEMISM
Whereas a hyperbole wants to exaggerate the truth or statement, the euphemism wants to soften it. An inoffensive term is used for what is considered to be too direct or explicit. People will say “he passed away” rather than to speak harshly and say “he died”. SOUND DEVICES
Sound devices are wonderful tools to enhance poetry, to create poetic effects by creating sounds appropriate to the context. Sound devices bring an inner music to poetry. While meter can be compared to the beat of music, the sound devices can be compared to the melody or tune. Sound devices are often so effective that a person, who does not know the language, may pick up the tone and atmosphere of a poem by simply listening to what the sound devices are doing! Some sound devices are onomatopoeia, alliteration, assonance, consonance, euphony, resonance, and others. Even though not all of them are considered to be figures of speech, they are all important and enhance poetry when used effectively. They work together with rhythm and rhyme. Remember that a sound device only has value if it is effectively enhancing the poem, strengthening the message or pointing out specific aspects of the poem. The repetition of sounds is a very effective method to round off an expression or to give it impact. ASSONANCE
Assonance is the repetition of similar vowel sounds within a line or lines. Be sure to distinguish between letters and sounds – the same letter may have different sounds. We are looking for similar sounds, not letters. In assonance the end of the words are different. It is sometimes called half-rhyme, as we can hear the vowels rhyme. This vowel rhyme link words together and often adds to the rhythm because of the rhyme. ALLITERATION
Whereas assonance dealt with the repetition of vowel sounds, alliteration is the repetition of consonants. These consonant sounds are found at the beginning of stressed syllables in a line or lines. The usage should not be strained, but can be very effective to unify words in a line, to emphasize the alliterated words and to highlight their relationship. When they are unified the theme is strengthened, but they can also be in contrast to each other to create a special effect. Alliteration is also referred to as initial rhyme or head rhyme and can add to the rhythm of the poem. CONSONANCE
Consonance is also concerned with the repetition of similar consonant sounds, but here the consonants are repeated especially at the ends of words. In “With calloused, careless hands they reach” from “The Gamblers” by Anthony Delius the repetition of the s-sounds mimics the carelessness towards their hands.
ONOMATOPOEIA
A specific word imitates the sound of the object or action that it is describing. The imitated sound is suggestive to its meaning and adds to the auditory qualities of the poem. crack, splash, squeak, creak, ding dong of the bells, pitter patter of raindrops, buzzer, the gong, murmuring, etc. CACOPHONY
Cacophony is another interesting sound device where discordant sounds (usually using harsh letters or syllables e.g. p, b and k sounds) are used for effect. In “Dulce et Decorum Est” Owen uses the harsh g, q and b sounds to imitate the explosion of the gas shells, as it is found in “Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!” CAESURA [SIZ-YUR-Ə]
A caesura is a natural pause or break in the flow of sound. It is commonly used near the middle of the line and is dictated by the sense of the content or by natural speech patterns. In “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet, we find a caesura after the question mark. HOW MEANING IS SHAPED IN A POEM
VERSE AND STANZA FORMS
Poetry has form which should be strong and consistent if the poem is to fall correctly on the ear. Whereas prose consists of sentences and paragraphs, poetry is divided into verse and stanzas. A verse is a single metrical line of poetry, or poetry in general is also referred to as verse. A stanza consists of two or more lines of poetry that together form one of the divisions of a poem. Stanzas can be of different lengths: a stanza consisting of two lines is called a couple, three lines make up a tercet, four lines a quatrain, six lines a sestet and eight lines make up an octave. Two rhymed lines in iambic pentameter is referred to as a heroic couplet. In most poems the stanzas are of the same length, follow the same pattern of meter and rhyme and form a complete thought. A certain kind of melody is achieved through rhyme. The last words (or even of identical syllables) of certain lines rhyme when they end in the same vowel sound. The rhyme binds the lines together into units and creates a satisfying sense of balance and completeness. Rhyme may be perfect (the word endings sound the same, as in gone and won) or
imperfect (the word endings sound almost the same but they do not rhyme perfectly, e.g.
stone and gone). One also speaks of masculine and feminine rhyme: masculine rhyme
occurs in a final stressed syllable such as home / poem, desire / fire, whereas feminine rhyme
occurs in a final unstressed syllable such as pleasure/leisure, meaning / screening.
Rhyme may be very prevalent or so unobtrusive that one is hardly aware of it. Defective rhyme in an otherwise methodically rhyming poem may suggest a sense of falseness, irony of an anti-climax. Not only does rhyme enhance the disciplined structure of the poem; but the powerful repetition of sound may link ideas and add impact to the meaning. It also helps the poem to proceed, e.g. a rhyming couplet can indicate that the thought pattern advances two lines at a time. RHYME SCHEME
The pattern established by the arrangement of rhymes in a stanza or poem is referred to as the rhyme scheme. Letters of the alphabet are used to indicate the lines that rhyme. The letters a, b, c, d, etc. are used for lines that rhyme, whereas the letters x and y indicate unrhymed lines. Two popular forms of rhyme are cross rhyme (ABAB) or envelope rhyme (ABBA). Many modern poems do not rhyme, but still has rhythm. As a matter of fact, in modern poetry the focus is more on rhythm than on rhyme. Such poems are called blank verse. Rhythm in poetry can be compared to the beat in music. It is made up of accented (stressed) and unaccented (unstressed) beats. Stressed syl ables can usually be recognised because they have long, rather than short, vowels. They may also have a different pitch or may be louder than other syl ables. Stressed syl ables are pronounced more forcefully than unstressed syllables. The rhythmic pattern can be repeated once or more than once in a line. The number of times the pattern is repeated in a line tells how many “feet” are in that line. When the lines are marked off into feet, we get the meter or metric pattern of the poem.
SCANSION PATTERN
When rhythm in poetry is described, both the beat pattern and the number of times the same pattern occurs in a line are used. The rhythm pattern plus the meter equals the scansion pattern. The following line from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 is an example of iambic pentameter: ͜ ⁄ ͜ ⁄ ͜ ⁄ ͜ ⁄ ͜ ⁄
“O no! It is an ev-er fix-ed mark”

Although meter is important in the organizing of a poem, it is only effective within the context
of sense and feeling. It must help to produce the desired effect in the poem. Since rhythm is
often associated with powerful or intense states of emotion, it gives pleasure and a more
emotional response to the listener or reader. It does justice to poetry by creating and fulfilling a pattern of emotional expectations. These expectations are met in the subtle emphasis and de-emphasis created by the rhythm. Even breaking or changing the metrical pattern can emphasize a word. In free verse the particular lengths and line breaks to call attention to particular words or details and distinguishes it from prose. Rhythm can also be created by repeating words and phrases or even by repeating whole lines and sentences. REPETITION
Repetition is a very important aspect of all poetry.  The repetition of sounds forms the basis for rhyme and alliteration.  The repetition of patterns of accents is the basis for rhythm or meter.  The repetition of key words, phrases, and sentence patterns is a basic unifying device that strengthens the meaning and creates a special effect. A refrain repeats the exact words in the same metrical pattern at regular intervals. It is often used in narrative poetry such as ballads, and reinforces the theme. Repetition is also found extensively in free verse. Free verse does not have a traditional, recognizable metrical pattern, but the repetition of grammar patterns (parallelism) and of important words and phrases distinguishes it from prose. The effectiveness of repetition lies in its ability to emphasize ides, to create tension and suspense and to create mood or atmosphere. PUNCTUATION
Punctuation marks are used to make the meaning clear and to emphasize specific words. The use or absence of punctuation marks also conveys specific meaning. ENJAMBMENT
Poets also make use of enjambments to create special effects. An enjambment is when a line simply continues into the next, without a pause or the use of punctuation marks. One often finds that the last word in the line with enjambment has special significance, while the word or phrase opening the next line becomes accented because of the anticipation that is created. KINDS OF POETRY
Poems are usually divided into narrative and lyrical poetry. NARRATIVE POETRY
Narrative poems tell a story and also have characters. Through the narration and characters the poet provokes certain emotional reactions and ideas in readers. The dramatic and intensified way in which the events can be related in a poem, give them emotional and intellectual impact. The following are some examples of narrative poetry: The epic is a long serious poem that tells the story of a heroic figure. It is written in a dignified, majestic style and often expresses the ideals of a nation or a race. THE IDYLL (IDYL)
The idyll is a narrative poem describing a historic, romantic or heroic event. THE BALLAD
The ballad tells a story similar to a folk tale or legend and often has a repeated refrain, e.g. “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. THE BALLADE
The ballade is a variation of the ballad and usually consists of three stanzas of seven, eight, or ten lines and a shorter final stanza (or envoy) of four or five lines. All stanzas end with the same one-line refrain. LYRICAL POETRY
Lyrical poetry mainly appeals to the emotions and includes songs, carols, hymns and rounds. Imagery plays a very significant role in lyrical poetry, so as to convey specific impressions to our senses or imagination. Instead of narrating events, lyrical poems express the thoughts and feelings of the poet. The fol owing are some examples of lyrical poems: THE IDYLL (IDYL)
An idyll is a short poem depicting a peaceful, charming country scene or event. (The term idyll is also used to descried a narrative poem treating a historic, romantic or heroic theme – don’t become confused.) THE ELEGY
An elegy is a mournful or sad and thoughtful poem that usually laments the death of one or more persons. The ode is serious and thoughtful, with a very precise, formal structure. It is usually addressed to a specific person or thing and describes a noble feeling expressed with dignity. THE CANZONE
The canzone is a medieval Italian lyric poem, with five or six stanzas and a shorter concluding stanza (called the envoy). THE SONNET
The sonnet is a lyrical poem that has a specific form consisting of 14 lines with a fixed measure and a formal arrangement of lines. THE PETRARCHAN / ITALIAN SONNET
The Italian or Petrarchan sonnet is divided into two quatrains and a six-line sestet, with the rhyme scheme ABBA ABBA CDECDE (or CDCDCD). The problem is stated in the two quatrains (or octave) and a conclusion is reached in the sestet. THE SHAKESPEAREAN / ENGLISH SONNET
The Shakespearean or English sonnet also consists of 14 lines, but is composed of three quatrains and a final couplet, with a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The application or conclusion is reached in the final couplet. English sonnets are written generally in iambic pentameter. BLANK VERSE
Poetry that does not rhyme but does have rhythm is called blank verse. It is usual y written in iambic pentameter. Shakespeare wrote most of his plays in blank verse. NOTE TO THE SUPERVISOR
The student is to thoroughly study and become acquainted with all the aspects of poetry as they were explained in the PACE up to this point. Students have to know the terminology and significance of all the devices that had been explained. The student wil need to apply the knowledge gained to analyse poems; the prescribed poems as wel as unseen poetry. The students need to learn to develop critical awareness and think creatively. Encourage them to look up all unknown words and to read the poems critically, trying to figure out what is being said and how the message is enhanced by literary devices, structure, etc. ANSWERING QUESTIONS ON POETRY
Poetry is one of the most beautiful literary genres. It is meant to enrich you, not to confuse you. Its beauty also lies in discovering and appreciating all the hidden treasures that may be found in it. Don’t simply go “message hunting” or think that poetry is only concerned with emotions. A poem is not simply an elevated statement written in beautiful language. To understand poetry, one has to have a thorough understanding of all the elements that may be found in a poem, such as its structure, rhyme, rhythm, figures of speech, etc. The impact of a poem lies in the combination and effective use of all these elements to form a close-knit unity. Don’t confuse the poet with the speaker and refer to the speaker when you explain the message of the poem. The speaker who shares the message is often not the poet, but an imaginary character. It is important to have some background knowledge of the origin and cultural context of the poem. The prevailing world-view of the time in which the poem was written or certain events that took place may have influenced or inspired the poet. Read the poem a couple of times. Don’t read line by line, but read according to the punctuation marks. Lines are often broken in certain places to create impact or irony. Look up the meanings of words that you don’t know. Sometimes poets refer to mythological figures or famous people or places. You will find more information about them in an encyclopedia. Now try to find the content of the poem. Be aware of figurative language, which differs from the literal meaning. Analyse the form of the poem. Everything in the poem should add to its value and beauty. Try to understand the significance of any structures, imagery, the diction, tone, meter, etc. You have to read the poem a couple of times to really experience it. Poets use metaphors, personification, symbols, hyperboles, apostrophes, and many other forms of figurative language to enhance their poems and give them literary value – you need to find and understand these. See if there is any impact created by the rhythm or the rhyme. Final y you need to determine how the form and content work together to convey the theme. In doing this you are explicating the poem (analyse content and form to find meaning). When writing an essay on a poem, first determine your thesis. Keep it unified and limited. Plan a brief outline. Make sure that all your facts are clearly organized and are relevant, offering strong support for your thesis. Use appropriate diction and correct grammar. Use the correct terminology, e.g. refer to a “couplet” instead of “two lines.” Quote correctly. End with a strong statement that concludes what you have written. THE NOVEL AND THE DRAMA
VOCABULARY WORDS
Learn these vocabulary words. A proper understanding of these terms wil help you to answer questions correctly. Use them when answering questions – you are also assessed on your command of (ability to use correctly) the language. Sample questions have been added to give you an indication of what to expect. (All these are definitions that are used by the S.A. Department of Education –you will surely encounter some of them in your exam papers.) sensitive to the beauty of language and thus sensitive to and appreciative of the lasting value of texts lead the reader’s mind to ponder on good thoughts.) double meaning created by the way in which words are used; when used unintentionally, ambiguity obscures the meaning (e.g. Short children’s stories are in demand. In this example it is unclear whether the children or the stories are short.) two different things that have a similar relationship is compared, e.g. honey is to sweet in the same relationship as lemon is to sour. a figure of speech in which two opposite meanings are expressed together, e.g. the more haste, the less speed if language is appropriate it is suitable in terms of the context in which it is used. (e.g. “Good morning, Mr Jones’ is appropriate for a formal work situation, whereas “Hi Jo” is appropriate between friends) Discuss the appropriacy of the poet’s choice of words. (Words are used appropriately if they add value to the text, explain or enhance something.) both the positive and negative associations that a word collects through usage that go beyond the literal meaning What is the connotative meaning of a word e.g. slumber? (sweet repose / sleeping, but also careless neglect) a text is always used and produced in context; you need to understand the situation, e.g. the social, cultural and political background, as well as what has happened before or will follow after the word or the text Explain a passage in context. (“Are you up already?” can be an expression of sarcasm or surprise, depending on the context in which it is used.) contrast (compare) consider the way in which things differ accepted practices or rules. It can apply to grammar rules, or to rules of society. Keeping the conventions of the Italian sonnet in mind, discuss this poem. (Discuss the poem in whether it follows or ignores the rules that are generally used for the Italian sonnet.) the process of thinking about ideas or situations in inventive and unusual ways in order to understand them better and respond to them in a new and constructive manner. You are thinking creatively when you imagine, invent, alter or improve a concept or product. Try to be creative in your thinking when you analyse literature, e.g. try to imagine what the scene was like, what other meanings could the passage have, how does the words apply to what was said before, etc. analyse the intention of the meaning instead of manipulating the language to fit preconceived ideas. You are to demonstrate a critical awareness of the text you are studying. denotative meaning the literal meaning of a word. How does the denotative meaning differ from the connotative meaning in “It makes me sick”? a form of language adapted by a particular community – it differs from other forms of the same language. Some characters in literature sometimes speak a different dialect, e.g. in Scotland a circle in the road is called a round-about. Comment on the evocative meaning of a character’s words. meaning which is clearly or directly stated words used in a non-literal way to create a desired effect; literary texts often make use of figurative language (e.g. simile, personification, metaphor) suggests a coherence and cohesion that gives language use the quality of being natural, easy to use and easy to interpret something implied or suggested in the text but not One thing is said, but the opposite meaning is intended. One has to find a meaning that differs from the literal meaning. to pick up the meaning behind what is stated and to deduce al the implications the plainest, most direct meaning that can be attributed to a word or phrase two words that are opposite in meaning are used together, e.g. sweet sorrow a statement that seems contradictory or absurd a word with a double meaning e.g. Lady Macbeth says that she will gild the groom’s faces. The pun lies in that the king is said to have golden blood, thus the faces are gilded, but she also wants to put the blame on them, thus “guilt” them a kind of humor that pokes fun at some custom or idea, but is not meant to be hurtful. a figure of speech in which a situation is deliberately pictured as less serious or important than that it really is. When studying literature one has to know the basic literary terminology. Use them when discussing literature, especially when answering essay questions. The correct usage of these terms wil greatly enhance your work. You wil not be asked to give a definition of any of these terms, but they may be used in questions which you will have to answer. Be very sure that you know them and understand what is meant by each of them. THE NOVEL
 To analyse the development of the plot and subplot  To study conflict  To analyse and discuss characters and character development  To discuss the role of narrator where relevant  To interpret and evaluate messages and themes  To evaluate how background and setting relate to character and theme To interpret mood, time-line, ironic twists and conclusions The novel differs from drama or poetry in that it contains a story that is told by a narrator. The story has a setting, characters and a plot. The real interest of a novel usually centers on people, scenes and events that may be found in a real life situation, even though a novel is fictional literature, Much of the aesthetic value of the novel comes from the author’s use of language. Language should be used effectively and sparingly so that the language itself is almost unobtrusive, but the themes and ideas are presented clearly. A novel is also sometimes called a narrative. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PLOT AND SUBPLOT
To properly understand the novel, the reader must be alert to the unfolding sequence of events. All the events are related to one another; therefore one should understand how and why things are happening. The arrangement of all the events is referred to as the plot. The plot then is the main story line and is usually quite complex in nature. As the plot unfolds, some subplots are interwoven into it. This makes the story interesting and keeps the reader in suspense. Every good story has a beginning called the exposition, a middle called the complication and an ending called the resolution. In the beginning or exposition, the characters are introduced, the setting is revealed and one becomes aware of a specific prevailing mood. It is important to pay attention to all the information that is given in the exposition, as one may often find hidden clues that will explain some of the events that will follow or motivations for the actions of the characters. Once the scene is set and the characters introduced, the reader becomes aware of some conflicts. The events become more complicated, build up more conflict and the action rises. These many small conflicts il ustrate and develop the major conflict of the plot. More details and descriptive passages make the characters and the setting more realistic. This part is known as the complication. As the action rises and rises, a point is reached where the tension and suspense are at their highest. This marks a turning point, where the main character’s actions, final decision or fate will determine the outcome of the main conflict. This pivotal point is the climax of the story. It may happen that the climax settles all the questions that the suspense has built up, and that the story is resolved in the climax. However, usual y there are still some less important problems that need to be solved. The reader wants to know what had happened to the other characters or how minor conflicts had been solved. This part is referred to as the resolution or denouement. In the resolution all outstanding questions are answered, tensions are diminished and all major and minor conflicts are resolved. The final outcome or untangling of events in the story brings the story to its conclusion. When answering questions remember to use the correct terminology when referring to the different parts of the plot. The following diagram will help you understand the sequence: CONFLICT
Conflict is essential to the plot, as it connects the different incidents to one another and causes the plot to move. We are mostly interested in the conflict or opposition that is experienced by the main character. The conflict may have an external nature, where the main character struggles with forces outside of him- or herself, or it may be internal where the main character experiences an inner struggle within his or her own character. Four different kinds of conflict may be experienced. Usually the main character experiences conflict on more than one or even on all four levels. When the main character struggles with his physical strength against other characters, forces of nature or animals, the conflict is physical. This is obviously an external conflict. It may also be that the conflict is depicting the main character’s struggle against circumstances of life or fate. This type of conflict is often called classical conflict. When the main character struggles with ideas, practices or customs, the conflict becomes social or against society. The struggles against circumstances or society may be external or internal or both. The main character may also be involved in a psychological struggle against him- or herself, a struggle of inner choices, good or evil, ideas etc. This is an internal kind of conflict. CHARACTERS AND CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
Characters lend interest to the novel. The events and setting are important because they shape and give momentum to the development of the story, but the reader’s main interest concerns the characters and their actions and reactions. The main character is called the protagonist. The story is all about the life, actions, experiences, decisions, etc. of the protagonist. If there is a definite character that is opposing the protagonist, that character is called the antagonist. The antagonist may include more than one character or even a collection of forces that stand directly opposed to the protagonist and gives rise to the conflict of the story. Throughout the story these two struggle against each other. To ful y grasp the theme, one has to be thoroughly acquainted with the characters of the story. The author gives information about the different characters in several ways:  the character’s appearance may be described,  his / her words, thoughts, feelings and even dreams may be told,  the reader can see what he / does or does not do and what will motivate him / her  other characters say things about the character and react to him / her in specific ways that may reveal some of his / her characteristics. One has to distinguish between the character (the person) in the story and his / her characteristics. Characteristics will include aspects like whether they are kind, foolish, gullible, humble, etc. Usually a character often has a single outstanding characteristic that is consistently developed throughout the story. One needs to careful y consider al the qualities that are revealed and see whether the descriptions and how the character is experienced by others are true. The main characters need to be realistic and lifelike. They must behave in a logical and
convincing manner. When a character changes as the plot of the story develops, we speak
of character development. If a character does not change throughout the work, the
character is said to be static (not lifelike). One may find a character that embodies one or
two qualities, ideas or traits, but is not psychologically complex character. Such a character
is a flat character. Mostly we find round characters. They are more complex and display the
inconsistencies and internal conflicts that are so often found in most real people. Because of
their complexity and the fact that they are more fully developed, they are more challenging
to analyses. When a character undergoes some kind of change because of the action in the
plot, one says that the character or the characterization is dynamic.
Keep in mind that many “good” novels were written because the authors wanted to address some injustices in society. The main character will then portray what the author wants to expose – we may see how the main character suffers because of all the social injustices. In a proper character analyses the reader has to take note of all the clues that are given to show how each character is developed. THE ROLE OF NARRATOR
Every story is told from a specific point of view, in other words one has to know who tel s the story. When the narrator is in the first person, the story is told by one of the characters. The reader only knows what the character knows and what he / she tells us. The thoughts and feelings of this character may be revealed to us. The character may also comment on other characters or events from his / her point of view. When the story is written from the third person point of view, the narrator is said to be omniscient. The omniscient narrator takes the position of an outsider that is watching all the events happening. As he has free access to the thoughts, feelings and motivations of any of the characters, the reader can be given any information that the author wants to share. MESSAGES AND THEMES
When the author writes a story, he / she wants to share some central insights with the reader. This central idea or controlling insight gives us the theme of the story. With the theme the author wants to bring a specific message or idea across. The theme encompasses the plot, setting and characters: one can think of them as the tools that the author uses to bring across and illustrate his / her message. The story unfolds in the specific setting with the characters acting in a specific way because of the theme. One may also find the main theme supported by minor themes that run through the novel. They will never contradict but always support or illustrate the main idea. BACKGROUND AND SETTING IN RELATION TO THE CHARACTERS AND THEME
The background and setting of a novel refer to the time, location and circumstances in which a story takes place. The reader must be fully alert to all the details of setting which may be given in a few clear paragraphs, but may also be presented in small details as the story unfolds. The setting is important, as the characters always move in a setting. They act and react in a material social environment which usually influences their decisions and mindsets. Be alert to the following aspects of the setting: The place refers to the geographical location. It may be general (e.g. somewhere in the bush) or specific (e.g. a specific street, town, house). The place may also be an imaginary or a real place. The time includes information on the historical period, time of day, year, season, etc. It is important to understand the social conditions of the time in which the story takes place, as it will shed light on the characters’ behavior, attitude to life, thought patterns and struggles. The social conditions refer to the daily life patterns. It is influenced by both the place and the time. The social conditions add local colour by focusing on aspects like the dress, mannerisms and customs of a particular region. The setting may also include weather conditions which may be significant for the development of the plot or mood of the novel. All the elements of the setting depend on good description. Description must appeal to our senses by painting pictures with words. It gives vivid sensory detail which has to do with sight, touch, sound, taste and/or smell. It also helps to create mood. The mood or atmosphere has to do with the tone that is brought across by the novel. The reader will pick up the “feeling”; it can be sad, bright, somber, frightening, cheerful, etc. Frequently the author creates the mood of the story by using descriptive words and by what he chooses to describe in the setting. The mood may also reflect the author’s attitude toward what he is writing (humorous, sarcastic, serious, etc.). The changing moods help to build up character and suspense. TIME-LINE
The time-line has to do with the sequence in which the story is revealed. It may be chronological, so that events are told in the order of appearance. However, many modern authors change this structure by using back-flashes or by revealing what will still happen. When the narrator uses back-flashes, the reaper is given information or insight into things that had happened in the past because they are still influencing what is happening now. Some narrators may also choose to reveal information of what is still about to happen. Another interesting method that is often used is that of foreshadowing. Foreshadowing does not tell us directly what will happen, but gives us hints and builds up tension. The reader may already draw some conclusions which may be verified later. In his comments the narrator may also make predictions or lead the reader to make predictions. This happens when one thinks one knows what will happen in the future. IRONIC TWISTS
Ironic twists occur when something happens that differs completely from what is literally understood or expected. CONCLUSIONS
In the conclusions all the outstanding questions are answered and the conflicts settled. There is a relief of tension as the final outcomes become known. THE DRAMA
 To analyse dialogue and action  To analyse the relation between character and theme  To evaluate plot, subplot, character portrayal, conflict, dramatic purpose and  To interpret dramatic structure and stage directions The structure of the drama differs from that of the novel in that it is written in dialogue form with some stage directions. Like the novel it also has a setting, characters and a plot. Keep in mind that a drama is written to be performed. Basic information as to the setting is given, but room is left for different interpretations. The action and dialogue carry the plot so that the viewer may follow the sequences. DIALOGUE AND ACTION
The dialogue and action are all important in drama as there are no descriptive passages to explain what is happening. All the information must be gathered from either what the characters say, or what they do. Sometimes a character speaks his thoughts aloud in either a soliloquy (monologue) or an aside. A soliloquy is when the character is speaking to him- or herself, so that the audience may know what he / she is thinking. In an aside there are other characters on stage, but the character says his / her words in such a way that the audience knows that the other characters did not hear the words – they are also thoughts that are spoken aloud for the sake of the audience. The action is seen by the way the actors act out the scene. In Shakespeare’s time the scenes were more limited to what could be presented on the stage. In modern times more scenes can be acted out as scenes can be presented more easily. Many plays are now also filmed. Sometimes action is not seen but implied by what the characters say. The language used and style of language must be consistent with the character. People from different backgrounds will speak differently and also act differently. A king will not walk or talk in the same way that a beggar does. Similarly an actor may reveal much about the character he is portraying by the way he walks, sits, eats, etc. Posture may reveal whether a character is tired, excited, careless, tensed, etc. Diction is chosen carefully so that the character still has the opportunity to reveal whatever needs to be revealed, but the audience is not bored with mediocre small talk. Shakespeare often lets his main characters speak in blank verse form written in iambic pentameter. To distinguish them from the lower ranking characters such as the porter, Shakespeare lets his ordinary characters speak in prose form. THE RELATION BETWEEN CHARACTER AND THEME
As in the novel, character and theme are related to each other. The characters have to bring across the theme by what they say and do. There are no descriptive passages or written comments by the author that may further bring across themes – everything needs to be done by the characters on stage. There may be a main theme as well as other supporting themes. The main theme of Macbeth is that you will reap what you sow. Other supporting themes are the theme of equivocation (where words have double meanings and people are deceived because of that) and that dabbling in the occult will necessarily lead to a downfall. These themes come across as we see the plot unfold and as we listen to what the characters say and see what they do. The one can never be brought across without the other. As the story unfolds through the dialogue and action (which is basically character portrayal), the themes are revealed, and as the themes are revealed, we understand the characters better. PLOT AND SUBPLOT
All that has been explained about the plot and subplots of the novel also apply to the drama. The plot is usually explained in the following five terms: the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and dénouement / revelation / catastrophe. During the exposition the background information needed to properly understand the story is provided. The protagonist, the antagonist, the basic conflict and the setting are introduced. Then we find an inciting moment, which sets the remainder of the story in motion. From now Now that the point of conflict is reached, it is developed further by the introduction of related secondary conflicts and various obstacles that frustrate the protagonist's attempt to reach his goal. The antagonist opposes the protagonist, complicating the conflict. There may be other adversaries of lesser importance too. They may work with the antagonist or separately, to further their own goals or those of the antagonist. Their actions oppose and frustrate the protagonist. This part contains the rising action of the play. Eventually the climax or turning point is reached. The tension has built up to the highest level and now the life and affairs of the protagonist will change. In a comedy we see the circumstances of the protagonist improve, but in the tragedy the protagonist wil experience During the falling action there is a reversal after the conflict. The protagonist wil now either win or lose against the antagonist. There might be another a moment of final suspense, during which the final outcome of the conflict is in doubt, but this is resolved and the drama is heading to its conclusion. The dénouement (resolution / catastrophe / conclusion) is reached at the end of the story. All conflicts are resolved and things return to normal. Usually there is a sense of relief from tension and anxiety. With the restoration to normality the protagonist may experience a catharsis. A catharsis is an experience of having been cleansed, having been purified by A comedy ends with a dénouement (a conclusion) in which the circumstances of the protagonist have improved and people are happy and satisfied with the outcome. A tragedy, however, ends with a catastrophe. We see the final and inevitable downfal of the protagonist, which may often end in his death CHARACTER PORTRAYAL
Characters are portrayed and analysed in the same ways in which we encounter them in the novel. The words and actions of a character reveal who the character is. Other characters may describe the character too. In the novel the author may also describe the character to the reader. The equivalent for character description in drama comes in the way the character is presented by the actor playing his part. There may or may not be directions from the playwright, but the audience will see a visual representation of who the character really is. Characters should also be developed and rounded to maintain the audience’s interest. Some of the minor characters may be flat, as we are not primarily concerned with them. Make sure that you understand and can analyse the protagonist’s character. CONFLICT
As in the novel, the drama deals with conflict. The same kinds of conflict can be encountered. Conflict is just as necessary in the drama as in the novel to develop the plot. The drama has the added advantage that conflict can be acted out on stage. Good actors / actresses study and analyse the characters they will be portraying, then act out their emotions in a true to life manner. It is especially the conflict that is portrayed that evokes positive responses from the audience and makes a drama and its performance successful. Since much of the conflict experienced by the characters is internal, the characters have to voice their feelings, as they cannot be described in a descriptive paragraph. The playwright often uses emotive language to let the characters speak. In a good drama the language used by the characters are of the utmost importance. If they are not sincere and true to life, the characters are merely acting out a melodrama. Obviously not all dramas are intended to be serious – there are tragedies, comedies, melodramas, farce, etc. The important issue is that the diction should be consistent with the character and what needs to be portrayed. DRAMATIC PURPOSE
The purpose of any drama is to portray human life with its conflicts and challenges. Without conflicts and challenges there is not much of a story to be told. The good dramatist (playwright) knows this and makes full use of the whole scope of human emotions and actions to enhance his play. Since all drama is written to be performed, it follows naturally that drama is to arouse the emotions of the audience. In watching the different scenes portrayed, the audience experience the emotions of the characters in the play. The audience may sympathise with or feel repulsion when watching the different characters, but whatever happens on stage is supposed to touch and influence the audience. Atmosphere also plays an important part to influence the audience. Suspense is built up by the characters’ words and by the images and sounds used. Some dramatists insert humouristic scenes to bring comic relief to an otherwise suspenseful play. In an analysis of the dramatic purpose of a specific scene, one will look at the impact it has on the audience. Every element in a story -- words, images, characters, events, ideas, environment -- must have a purpose that connects it with a story's overall dramatic purpose. Dramas, like novels, may be written to address social or political injustices, to poke fun at people or events, to portray a certain few, etc. One has to keep this in mind when analyzing any drama. DRAMATIC IRONY
Dramatic irony occurs when the audience has certain knowledge which the characters do not have. As a result of this knowledge, the words and actions of the characters take on a different meaning for the audience than that they do for the characters. DRAMATIC STRUCTURE AND STAGE DIRECTIONS
There are no specific structures that should be applied to all dramas. However, Shakespeare based his tragedies to some extent on the model that was provided by the ancient Greek tragedies. There is a central protagonist whose life and eventual downfall is portrayed. We see him struggle against forces which may be external or internal, but that are too big for him to overcome because of some inherent flaw that the protagonist possesses. In the end there is a catharsis, as justice has prevailed. Like many Greek tragedies most of Shakespeare’s tragedies were written in five acts. Each act is subdivided into scenes that follow a chronological sequence. Shakespeare gives a few stage directions, especially to state where the action is taking place and to bring the characters on or take them off stage. Basic stage directions are included in all plays. What makes drama exciting is that the producer has much freedom in interpreting how the play should be acted out. The producer guides the actors through the different scenes, decide on the scenery, costumes, props, lighting and sound effects that will be used. The producer also has to decide on the style and the time and setting during which the drama should be performed, e.g. a Shakespearean drama can be performed historically correct or in a modern setting. Much is left to the imagination to be explored and the creativity of the producer and actors will make a performance successful or mediocre. FINAL NOTE
Your success in answering literature questions depends on the following: 1. You should have a very sound and complete knowledge of the content of the poem / novel / drama. There are no short-cuts. Study the literature work and make sure that you know what it is all about. (Watching a dvd based on a literature work is not enough.) 2. You must understand the terminology that is used for analyzing literature, therefore you need to memorize the vocabulary words. If you do not understand the question, you will not be able to answer it. 3. You must develop the ability to think critically. Circle the keywords to determine what needs to be answered. Now think and apply the knowledge that you have gained. Use examples for every statement that you make. 4. Use the language correctly and work neatly and according to a plan. Unstructured, untidy and grammatically poor work will not score well. 5. Know that if you had prepared faithful y, God is on your side. Do your part, then you will have boldness to ask God for assistance.

Source: http://aceyoureducation.co.za/ckfinder/userfiles/files/Literature%20Study%20Guide%202012.pdf

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