Please write a final paper of 1700 words or more discussing the following questions. Be sure to begin your paper with an engaging introduction and clear thesis statement, develop each point in the body of your paper using examples and quotes from the assigned readings, and conclude your paper with a restatement of your thesis and closing remarks. As always, be sure to maintain your credibility by including in-text citations and a reference list correctly formatted in APA style.
• Short Stories: Analyze the elements of fiction, including setting, characters, point of view, plot, symbolism, themes, tone and irony. Cite specific examples from the assigned stories for each element. Which of the short stories we read was your favorite, and why? Give several reasons.
• Poetry:Break down the elements of poetry, including imagery, figurative language,symbolism, word choice, themes, tone and sound. Cite specific examples from theassigned poems for each element. Which of the poems we read was your favorite,and why? Share several reasons.
• Drama:Review the elements of drama, including setting, characters, plot, stagedirections, symbolism, themes and dialogue. Cite specific examples from Triflesfor each element. How has reading the play deepened your understanding of liveperformances, television dramas and movies?
• Values and Morals: Values and morality have been recurring considerations in many of our assigned works. Talk about personal values and moral codes as they are conveyed in each of the following: one short story (chosen from the Phase 1 or Phase 2 reading lists), one poem (chosen from the Phase 3 reading list), and the play, Trifles.
• Whichof all the works we’ve read is your favorite and why? In what ways do you thinkit will make a lasting impact on you personally and professionally?
• FinalConsiderations: Discuss how literature can provide “a reflection of life” whichcan help us understand our own struggles, triumphs, values and moral codes andincrease our empathy for others. What is one thing you learned about yourselfthis term as a result of gazing into literature’s “mirror?”
One: Develop an introduction, with a solid thesis statement at the end.
Refer to your essay completed for Phase 2 IP: You will compose a solid paragraph or two based on information from this assignment. You can use some of this material for this assignment. Add a citation, and include the Reference in the References page at the end of this essay.
• 1.Short Stories: Analyze the elements of fiction, including setting, characters,point of view, plot, symbolism, themes, tone and irony. Cite specific examplesfrom the assigned stories for each element. Which of the short stories we readwas your favorite, and why? Give several reasons.
Thisis the assignment that was done for this phase
Lifeis full of obstacles and the two stories; TheBirthmark and Battle Royal are amanifestation of this fact. Both stories present characters under real lifechallenges which may have life changing consequences. The gist of the story isthe issue of not attempting the challenges which outweighs the doubts andconcerns placing the characters in the paths of peril. The stories expose theidea of beauty and the societal perceptions about what is outside but the innerbeauty.
RalphEllison’s story, Battle Royal is set
during the racist era of America’s history at the beginning of the 19thcentury. Blacks were humiliated and had to rise up and fight for their place in society as represented by the grandfather and the narrator (Knight, 2003). The action in The Birthmark are set in the late 1700s in Britain and critics have suggested it was written with the influence of outlandish fiction read by the author and concerned with supernatural elements and fantasy. The characters are cast in the tradition of the romantic era and gothic tales which is reflected in the action in the story.
According to Andrews et al, (2006) the young man in the story is the narrator and his experience of racial discrimination has a profound effect on him especially as he thought of his grandfather’s dying words. He cannot quite understand the gravity of these words as he aspires for greatest but curtailed by a glass ceiling. The narrator looks up to his grandfather for inspiration after the revelation of his words to the father that he should keep up the fight.
“Live with your head in the lion’s mouth…overcome them with yeses…let ‘em swoller you with their vomit.” Aylmer is a mad scientist and just obsessed with perfection in the death of his wife. He is said to love his wife but there is no evidence to the contrary. He symbolizes a man of great scientific knowledge which was“ almost perfect enough” (Hawthorne, 2000).
Aminadab, Aylmer’s assistant is a symbol for nature with his physical stature and strength showing a sense of earthiness. She is weak who allow Aylmer to dominate her in a case of love incarnation which proves fatal with her death. However, she is the one who insist on its removal to which he says he wouldn’t spare her even if the birthmark “takes refuge in [her] heart” (Hawthorne, 2000).
Hawthorne’s story is told in the third-person omniscient narration technique which enables the writer to present even the character’s inner thoughts and feelings. This helps the author get more from the characters however. In Battle Royal the first person narrator, “I” is used to great effect. If the story changes the narrator’s point of view, then it would be difficult for the readers to really see, hear, and smell what sorts of prejudices and injustices the African-American went through.
The symbolism associated with the birthmark is allegorical and may be interpreted in various ways depending on the individual characters. It symbolizes to Aylmer he societal concern about perfection, “mark of earthly imperfection” and also represents Georgina’s ability of being mortal and sinless and the riding of it allows her husband to dominate. According to Meyer, (2000), the birthmark is in the shape of a small red hand standing for the flaws in human nature as well as in character as exemplified in the Biblical name given to Aminatab meaning ‘a brute’ but doesn’t represent his character for he is in touch with human nature and is against the removal of the birthmark.
To Georgina, it symbolizes beauty and uniqueness as seen with the many men pursuing her but to the women, it symbolizes ugliness and imperfection. The naked blonde stands for the otherness of women and the minorities in society. Both the young man and the woman are reduced to ‘nothings’ in the story for the secondary roles they hold in society. She also symbolizes the freedoms in America thus the tattoo on her body of the flag.
Thebattle royal symbolizes Africa-Americans struggle in order to gain arespectable place in society as opposed to the illusion of equality by in thecoins they have to collect from the rugs which makes them think with money theycan achieve what they have not been having.
To Georgina, the birthmark signify beauty and uniqueness as she was a perfect woman happy with herself until Aylmer who is unnatural team with natural assistant to correct the ‘flaw.’ To Aylmer, it signified his wife’s symbolic liability in sinning, decay, sorrow, and eventual death. He thus renders it as a frightful object which however caused him more horror and trouble than even his wife’s beauty (Putzi, 2006).
Thematic concerns addressed by the two stories include the limits of science and imperfections as evident in Aylmer’s case. He is presented as an idiot throwing away a good thing he had-the beautiful woman who is now ‘perfect’ but dead. This shows that science can only function up to a certain point in the world but will fail when we attempt godlike powers.
This is tied with an obsessive disorder as Aylmer believed that, “The higher intellect, the imagination, the spirit, and even the heart might all find their congenial ailment in pursuits…would ascend from one step of powerful intelligence to another”(Knight, 2003).
African-Americans in Battle Royal are discriminated against as they are seen as flawed, not as perfect as whites with their black skin hues. The inferiority theme runs across the two stories. In Ellison’s story, there is discrimination as the African-Americans are viewed as inferior to the whites. Similarly, women in Hawthorne’s story are negatively viewed playing second fiddle to the men folk.
Anincident at a restaurant taught me a life lesson in a spectacular way. It wasaround midday at a down town motel and two Chinese gentle men came in. Theyquietly sat at a corner but the waiter busied themselves by fussing about withthe few white customers already served as they completely pretended they werenot seeing the now lonely customers sticking out like sore thumbs. When arather disinterested waiter sauntered to where they were, he almost thrust themenu to their faces and walked away without even a word.
The motel owner hurriedly entered flustered and profusely apologizing to the gentlemen for his lateness. The owner quickly moved them over to a prime location but now the waiters were all over the table asking what they will take and even making suggestions. It is then that the owner introduced the gentlemen as the new owners and they were taking over immediately. You could see color draining from the humbled waiters!
This unfortunate incident exposed to me the hypocritical nature of humanity that they look for outer beauty and associated flaws and coming up with preconceived ideas. They were discriminated against because of their skin color and place in society but nobody bothered to see them as fellow human beings and investors to boot. Nature is shown to function in a planned way whereas science is flawed and unnatural and attempts to change the scheme of things can be catastrophic like Georgina’s death (Hawthorne, 2000).
Andrews, W. L., Foster, F. S., & Harris,T. (2001). The concise Oxford companion to African American literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ellison, R., &Meyer, M. (2013). Battle Royal. In Bedford/St. Martin’s (Eds.), Literatureto Go (Second ed., pp. 180-191).Boston, MA Retrieved from http://wow.coursesmart.com
Hawthorne, N. & Meyer, M. (2013). The Birthmark.In Bedford/St. Martin’s (Eds.), Literature to Go (Second ed., pp.304-316). Boston, MA. Retrieved from http://wow.coursesmart.com
Knight, D. D.(2003). Writers of the American Renaissance: An A-to-Z guide. Westport,Conn: Greenwood Press.
Putzi, J. (2006). Identifying marks: Race, gender, and the marked body in nineteenth-century America. Athens: University of Georgia Press.
Refer toyour essay completed for Phase 3 IP: You will compose a solid paragraph or two based on informationfrom this assignment. You can use some of this material for this assignment.Add a citation, and include the Reference in the References page at the end ofthis essay.
• 2.Poetry:Break down the elements of poetry, including imagery, figurative language, symbolism, word choice, themes, tone and sound. Cite specific examples from the assigned poems for each element. Which of the poems we read was your favorite, and why? Share several reasons.
This is the assignment for this phase
Poetry is different from prose in the way it uses language to convey its meaning in a more condensed and figurative ways as opposed to the more expansive, narrative and often logical structures of prose. However, this is not an implication that poetry is illogical but that it is created mostly from the need of escaping the logical and also expressing strong feelings in a tight and condensed way. It is this that made the Romantic English poet, John Keats termed as an escape from logical Negative Capability.
Poetry also combines the characteristics that are innate to it with those superficial appearances of prose. This is the reason why in most cases a general consensus on what can be regarded as “great” is debatable. Such poetry should follow the characters above and also set itself apart for its sophistication and complexity. It will therefore capture vividly images in a refreshing and original way and at the same time weaving together such intricate elements in a combination like complex emotions, theme tension, with reflective profound thoughts.
Langston’s poem, Harlem answers the basic question posed in it by use of a series of similes which are themselves inform of rhetorical questions. Through a simile, he asks whether a dream deferred dries up “like a raisin in the sun.” (Meyer, 2013 p.579) This image of a dried and wrinkled raisin helps to create contrasts with the big, juicy grapes this dream was once.
Other images are created in the following instances such as; Does a dream deferred “fester like a sore-/ and then run” or does it “stink like rotten meat” or “crust and sugar over_ / “like a syrupy sweet”? (Meyer,2013 p.579) These images suggest that if a dream is postponed, it is bound to rot, spoil, or infect the dreamer.
The last line of this poem metaphorically emphasizes what happens to a dream deferred, -“Or does it explode?” or it becomes something bad like a burden.(Meyer, 2013 p.579) There is also a heavy use of sensory language and it is purposely meant to create an unpleasant effect. This is done through use of images of the ‘raisin,’ and ‘syrupy sweet.’
This creates a sense of taste, though creating the impression something that is distasteful, disgusting and with no nourishment. The of ‘heavy load,’ and‘ festering and running sore’ are images contributing to the senses of touch and sight, as well as smell which helps in creating reality. The image of the‘ heavy load’ suggests an explosion of the load which emphasizes the devastating effect of the dream when it becomes an illusion.
Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, employs elements of personification. In the following line, the poet says, “Because it was grassy and wanted wear.” (Meyer, 2013 p.575) To personify the road ‘wants wear.’ This uses the concept of the diverging road in relation to the choices or decisions made in life.
The road is also used figuratively in reference to the literal road sand the ‘roads’ we have to take in our life’s journeys. Langston figuratively uses the term, “Sugar over like a syrupy sweet,” (Meyer, 2013 p.575) to compare the dream deferred to stale candy. The same dream can be crusted over and be unreachable according to the poet.
According to Meyer, (2013) The ‘roads’ are acts of symbolism and imagery though the poet does not refer to the literal roads we know of but the means the choices we are forced to make in life. (p.98) It is also used as a metaphor as well as an extended metaphor where the two roads are said to diverge. This forking of the road is extensively used in the poem.
In Harlem, the word ‘deferred’ has got connotations of the dreamer who does not always accept the postponement of the dream. He seems to be hurt from this which is further highlighted by the final metaphor of the bomb exploding and hurting many.
Poets often use words to denote deeper meaning. Frost uses the words‘diverged,’ ‘undergrowth,’ ‘yellow,’ and ‘trodden’ to underline the poemsdeeper meaning. The use of ‘diverged’ for example suggests that if the tworoads were travelling in the same direction, then there would be no need ofmaking choices but as they were forking out differently, then their end pointswould be different.
According to Wilcox and Barron (2010), the use of‘ under growth’ suggests vegetation and bushes growing under trees but its significance can be deduced from this line in the first stanza, “to where it bent in the undergrowth.” This helps create the impression that the other side of the road is unclear and there fore the indecision as he doesn’t know what lies there. This refers to real life choices we have to make which unless we have the capability of foretelling the future, we can never be sure of where and what will happen in future.
Theuse of language and choice of words in a work of fiction is deliberate. Interms of language and choice of words use, Langston Hughes short story, Harlem, contains both denotative andconnotative words. The words ‘raisin,’ ‘stink, and ‘sags’ for example, havesuch meaning in reference to the postponed dream.
The Road Not Taken tone is gloomy as the traveler laments on the possibilities left by the need of making choices which are unfulfilled. The words, “sigh,” and “sorry” help to bring out this mood. The tone in Langston’s poem is one of desperation and despair.
This is through the use of highly negative and pregnant words like ‘fester,’ ‘sore,’ and ‘stink’ which graphically capture the dilemmas in human nature when nothing seems to be moving as desired in way of actualizing the dreams and they have to be‘ deferred.’ It is also reflective when pondering on the fate of the unrealized dreams by the inhabitants of Harlem.
The importance of the choices we have to make in the road to life is captured by the figurative theme of Frost’s poem. The same is captured in Langston’s poem on not letting our dreams be deferred as well as not blocking others in the course of following their dreams.
The poem, Harlem looks at the wider picture of the frustration that characterized the African Americans towards their struggle for equality in a racially segregate America. The continued prejudices against them by the system were the driving force for the poem emanating from the Harlem Renaissance era which was about reawakening the dreams of the oppressed.
The use of sound patterns in poetry is significant as evident in the two poems variously. In Harlem, there is use of musical sound in the beginning of his Montage(the Dream Boogie section). The poet says in reference to sound, “Ain’t you heard / The Boogie-woogie rumble? Of a dream deferred.” (Meyer, 2013 p.575) This is further amplified with other musical references such as the use of short bursts of rhythm and rhyme with words like “meat/sweet,’ ‘load/explode,’ and ‘sun/run.’ These helps in repeating and building the need of ideas like the series of repeated musical notes.
This together with repetition of words like ‘Does it,’ and ‘Or’ at the start of several lines creates a series of intense questions. The poet also uses alliteration as in the words “like a syrupy sweet.” There is there petition of the “s” sound. The use of alliteration is also evident, according to Meyer’s book (2013) in the following lines, “What happens to a dream deferred? / Does it dry up? (p.579). The “d” sound is alliterating in the examples.
Frost’s poem clearly shows there is “no road less taken” (Meyer, 2013 p.575) as both are really worn the same. The superficial meaning concerning human nature is about the idea of conformity but this is further from the truth but the issue of indecision in human nature is evident as suggested by the title. Human nature is about being confronted with tough choices which must be made to move forward. The fear of regret seems to be the overriding fact in making life lessons as the narrator hesitates in making the final choice fearing the consequences.
The subjects dealt with in Harlem are touching to say the least. I can only empathize with the plight of those whose dreams are just that, dreams because they have no chance to realize them as they are left to rot and fester like sores. The two poems have really opened up new vistas in my appreciation of poetry. What with the emotive subjects explored in such entertaining and figurative language!
Gilb, D. (2008). The flowers.
Gates, H. L., &Appiah, A. (2008).LangstonHughes: critical perspectives past and present. Amistad Pr.
Meyer, M. (2013).Harlem. In Bedford/St. Martin’s (Eds.), Literature to Go (Second ed., p.575). Boston, MA. Retrieved from http://wow.coursesmart.com
Meyer, M. (2013).The Road Not Taken In Bedford/St. Martin’s (Eds.), Literature to Go(Second ed., p.575). Boston, MA Retrieved from http://wow.coursesmart.com
Wilcox, E. J., & Barron, J. N. (2010).Roadsnot taken: Rereading Robert Frost. Columbia: University of Missouri Press.
Referto your essay completed for Phase 4 IP: You will compose a solid paragraph ortwo based on information from this assignment. You can use some of thismaterial for this assignment. Add a citation, and include the Reference in theReferences page at the end of this essay.
• 3.Drama:Review the elements of drama, including setting, characters, plot, stage directions, symbolism, themes and dialogue. Cite specific examples from Trifles for each element. How has reading the play deepened your understanding of live performances, television dramas and movies?
This is the assignment for this phase
The play, Trifles, by Susan Glaspell was written in 1916 and reflected the playwright’s preoccupation with the culture-bound gender and sex-roles notions of the period. It suggests to women’s concerns which often considered unimportant, trifles issues bearing little or no weight to the true society work which is largely carried by the men folk. With the play, Glaspell questions both the very relative value of men and women in their work and perspective in a high-tension drama. This is done through her development of two crucial narratives, that of men and women.
According to Holsten (2003) “argues that the two parallels in the play are built on “the differences in [men’s and women’s perceptions and behaviors as they are] grounded in the home space” (p.282).That is why the male characters approach Wright’s house as a murder scene while the female characters accompanying them does so as a home.
The play was first published in 1916 though set in the last half of the 19th century when women in American had no right to vote or sit in juries. Males dominated the society except in caring for the children and homes. Women were merely decorative and useful at home. The events in the play also take place during winter as the sheriff comments,“ it dropped below zero last night” (Glaspell, p.456).
This setting is therefore skillfully used by the author in characterizing the attitudes of the characters with Mr. Wright being described as “a raw wind that gets to the bone” and“ cold.” Mrs. Wright previous state of mind is characterized by the broken bottles and her loneliness and mental anguish results to her “cracking up,” as symbolized by the cracked jars.
The opening scene introduces the setting of the play which remains almost constant throughout-a simple kitchen. It also present the central characters as the readers take in the setting with their entering and exiting looking for clues as well as discussing possible motives. It is in this disheveled kitchen in Mr. and Mrs. Wright’s house where the main characters are gathered after Mr. Wright’s murder has been discovered. The scene is to change to the upstairs where the male characters proceed leaving the female characters in the kitchen talking and taking notice of Mrs. Wright’s“ little things” in the kitchen (Glaspell, p. 461) .
Before marrying Mr. Wright, Mrs. Wright was called Minnie Foster and cheerful in her youthful days as portrayed by the colorful clothes she used to wear. However, her marriage saw an end to this personality as aptly summarized by Mrs. Hale. Though Mrs. Wright is the central character in this play, she does not appear on stage at all. There are only references of her by other on-stage characters. It is through Mr. Hale’s exposition that we learn of the murder as apart from Mrs. Wright, he is the first to discover it.
Unlike the male characters that are busy looking for forensic clues in solving the murder mystery, the female characters in Trifles observe evidence revealing Mrs. Wright’s emotional life bleakness. They conclude that Mr. Wright’s oppressive and cold nature had to be very dreary living with. Their conversation though being made as a way of passing time is very important to the audience-it helps unveil a desperate housewife’s psychological profile
John Wright, a farmer has been murdered. A rope had been strung around his neck as he slept in the middle of the night. The suspicion somehow leads to his wife, Minnie Wright, a quiet and forlorn woman. The sheriff, the county attorney, his wife, and neighbors enter the house. His neighbors, Mr. Hale describes how he had paid them a visit the previous day and the way Mrs. Wright had behaved strangely and stated that her husband lay dead upstairs.
Mrs. Wright claims to have been fast asleep as her husband was murdered though it looks obvious she killed him and that is why she is arrested as a prime-suspect. The attorney as well the sheriff decides that the room has nothing important as way of evidence: “Nothing here but kitchen things.” As the men exit the kitchen for the upstairs rooms to further investigate the murder crime scene, the women are left in the kitchen as they chat to pass time.
Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale however discover important murder clues that the men did not care about. The play ends with the women getting out of the kitchen and announcing their determination of Mrs. Wright’s style of making quilt. In a clever punning of words, they say she “knots it” and not “quilts it,” which suggests the way she killed her husband.
Stage directions should be considered in the theatre event totality and not just as an inscription on a page. This is because it affects the production in terms of looks, atmosphere and texture. Susan Glaspell uses two different formats to tell her story. There is a one-act script and a short story.
The female characters are in a situation in which they cannot speak freely and therefore are inhibited in a dialogue-based script. As a result of lacking an avenue of voicing their sentiments, the playwright cleverly has to convey the same to the audience and thus the use of the physical choices by her actresses as there is no dialogue. This calls for an interpretation of the stage directions as no dialogue is presents even at the most critical points of the play.
The lone unbroken bottle in the kitchen symbolizes Mrs. Wright and her chance once more to live her life with the death of the husband. Just as they escape from the broken jars, Mrs. Wright breaks out of the “shell” of isolation caused by her husband who is now dead. A fancy little box is found when gathering the quilt material and inside it is a dead canary whose neck had been twisted.
The symbolic significance of this is that Minnie’s husband was averse to its beautiful song, a song symbolizing her desire for happiness and freedom. It is also illuminating that the two women conceal this fact to the men with Mrs. Hale putting the box with the dead canary in her coat pocket, there was no need of bothering the men with the little “trifle,” so they resolved. The cage therefore is Mr. Wright’s oppression on his wife and her spirit for freedom
The play’s title refers to items than one in Wright’s family which the male characters regard as irrelevant but Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale considers significant. There is also the possibility that thetitle refers to the Mr. Wright’s perception of the dead canary, an annoying trifle in his life. According to Glaspell, (2003), “The fact that men don’t appreciate women is alive in the play. This is evident from the way men carry themselves with an inflated sense of self-arrogance and importance,”(p.122). They want to be seen as strong, serious-minded, and tough detectives though they do not come any closer to female characters in having a knack for details.
It is therefore out of their pompous attitudes that women are forced to be defensive and form ranks. Examples abound to show this as in the way Mrs Peters and Mrs. Hale bond quickly even choosing to hide the evidence they got as a way of showing compassion to Mrs. Wright. The very act of stealing and hiding the box is a loyalty act to protect one of their own genders and also a show of defiance against the patriarchal society’s callousness towards womenfolk.
The play also deals with the feminism thing as deduced with the subtle hint given by the sheriff and the attorney when they found nothing of importance in the kitchen as they searched for clues: “Nothing here but kitchen things.” This happens to be the first among many other similar disparaging remarks against women which minimizes their importance in society. The men present for example are critical of Mrs. Wright’s skills in housekeeping, something that irks the sheriff’s wife, Mrs. Peters, and Mrs. Hale.
Of the three forms of literature, the play genre is the oldest. Plays are meant to be performed to a live audience on a stage by actors who have memorized their lines. On the other hand reading a written play is not as fulfilling as it would be watching it live. The short story as a genre came with the advent of the novel. It is supposed to be read leisurely for one’s individual enjoyment or to a group of listeners. They are however restricted by time and space.
The genres however differ in terms of space available limiting the action as well as their scope. The use of literary devices they employ is also different. The structure of the short story is like that f the novel but different from the lay’s. in terms of style, they both employ metaphor and symbolism but the short story will use flashbacking and flash-forwarding as stylistic devices.
I believe the traditional feminist understanding of the play is limiting as the socially constructed gender categories are. The playwright apart from questioning the gender roles ascribed by society seems to invite readers to question the very construct which is even more complex as it is the way man understand, and how he believes he understand one another and their life stories.
According to Holstein (2003),” it is not really true of the women’s approach and decision of protecting Mrs. Wright “simply derive from sharing…gender” (p. 288). The most compelling reason for this argument is Mrs. Peter’s argument that ‘the law is the law’ (Glaspell, 1902). This show the fact that she is not necessarily sympathetic to Mrs. Wright, the way Mrs. Hale does just because of their shared social position and gender. It is because the two women go to the house with out a motive of discovering anything but ends up discovering valuable evidence from which they construct their narrative.
Holstein, C. S. (2003), “Silent Justice in aDifferent Key: Glaspell’s Trifles.” The MidwestQuarterly 44
Glaspell, S. (2003) Trifles. TheNorton Anthology of American Literature. Shorter 6th ed. Ed. NinaBaym. New York: W.W. Norton &Company.
Glaspell,S. (2003) Trifles. Responding to Literature (4thEd.). Stanford, New York: McGraw Hill.