How to Read Literature Like a Professor
Thomas c. foster, everything you need for every book you read..
Mrs. Lacey - AP English 11 (Summer Reading)
Thursday, may 7, 2009, chapter 11 - ... more than it's gonna hurt you: concerning violence, 17 comments:.
There are two major kinds of violence in literature. The first is specific injury that characters bring upon themselves or upon other characters. The second is general harm brought on by the author, rather than the characters, to advance the plot or theme. A good example of the second is when Grandpa Joad became ill and died of a stroke in The Grapes of Wrath . Nobody in the story felt guilty about it. It was an act of the author towards the grandfather to advance the theme of the story. This experience gives the reader a feel for the temporary nature of life. An example of the first type of violence is around the end of Fight Club where Tyler Durden has a fight with the anonymous protagonist. This fight is an external conflict mirroring the internal conflict within the protagonist, because of his split personality. This violence does not advance the story thematically as the previous example had. Instead, this example results in the final developments in the character of our unnamed protagonist.
The two types of violence are the specific injuries that authors cause characters to inflict on one another or themselves (shooting, stabbings, drowning, etc.) and the narrative violence that causes characters harm in general. In other words, this is the death and suffering authors introduce to the readers for interest of plot advancement or thematic development and for which they (the authors) are responsible. An example of the narrative violence can be found in a book called the Bean Tree. Right when you start the book, a war is taking place. The family is in terrible conditions and each day a member of their family seems to die due to bullets and bombings which probably falls in the specific injuries. I think this makes it a narrative violence also though because the author added the war, not the characters, the characters are just experiencing specific injuries as a result of the war. Another example of specific injury is in The Secret Life of Bees. The main character, Lily, kills her mother by shooting her before the book even begins. This happened because of the character in the book. The author did not play a roll in this violence.
The two kinds of violence that are used in literature are: 1) the violence that a character inflicts upon himself or another character, and 2) when the auhor uses violence on a character only to make an advancement in their story. An example of the first type of violence is in the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird , when Tom Robinson gets shot. This is very important to the story because it shows that even though the trial was over and resolved, someone still felt the need to shoot Tom, which made everyone in the town of Maycomb feel like they weren't really safe anymore. An example of the second type of violence is in the novel, New Moon, where Harry Clearwater dies from a heart attack. His death shows no significance to the story, it’s just a way for Stephanie Meyer to advance the plot.
Literature involves two types of violence. The first type is specific injury characters inflict upon themselves or others. The second type of violence is where the author causes harm to characters to progress the plot. In the book The Outsiders there are two gangs, the socs and the greasers. They commit the first type of violence. They punch, stab and kill each other out of revenge and anger. It takes a few deaths of dear friends for the characters realize the insanity of fighting. The end result is that they grow to be better people. In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, the old lady neighbor Ms. Dubose dies from old age. This is and example of the second type of violence. The author has her die to develop Jem is a character and to move the plot along. The second act of violence has more meaning and depth to it.
The two kinds of violence in literature are injuries brought upon characters to themselves or other characters, and harm caused by the author in order to advance or complete the plot. An example of the first one is in the Harry Potter books. There are several examples of violence throughout these entire books, but all of which are between one or more characters. Harry Potter is a good innocent wizard who has one very powerful enemy named Voldemort. Voldemort has other various wizards on his side helping him in his plan to kill Harry. Harry too has a numerous amount of wizards trying to help him overcome the evil Voldemort. While the battle between Harry and Voldmort takes place they themselves, along with other wizards experience both internal and external injuries. An example of the second act of violence is in The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. Close to the beginning of the book Macy’s father is out for his typical morning run when he has an unexpected heart attack, he dies right then and there. The author and no one else bring on this act of violence. She does this to give reads an idea of the mood and theme of the story you are about to read. If Macy’s dad had not died in the beginning, the story would not have been the same. The whole book is about how Macy and her mother overcome the death of a loved one, it would not have mad sense if the author didn’t have an act of violence in the beginning.
In literature, there are two types of violence. The first type of violence is the injuries and fatalities characters cause to themselves or other characters. The second type of violence is the general violence that an author causes to happen to a character in order to develop the plot. An example of the first kind of violence can be found in The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. Henry Fleming the main character joins the army and participates in battles. During the battles, people are shot and stabbed by members of the opposing army. Injuries and fatalities are caused by characters. It takes a couple of these battles for Henry to realize his part in the war. An example of the second kind of violence can be found in The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Rose of Sharon gives birth to a stillborn child during the Joad family’s stay in a boxcar in California. The only reason Bradbury has this baby die is to develop the plot. This death leads to better understanding of the final scene he describes. Rose of Sharon has no baby to feed, so she decides to help feed a helpless elderly man with what the baby would have been feeding on. Without the baby dying, this act would have had no significance.
The two main categories of violence in literature include: a specific injury that the characters cause to one another or to themselves and the narrative violence that in general causes harm to the characters. The first type of violence is shown in the novel White Fang. White Fang is forced to brutally battle and kill other dogs. He succeeds the tasks by biting the dogs around their neck. The second type of violence is presented in Nicholas sparks novel The Guardian. In Sparks' story, the woman's husband died. The results or effects of the violence were completely different between these two stories. In White Fang, the violence molded White Fang into a wild, vicious wolf. Julie's character was not shaped by the death of her husband. Sparks reason to include Jim's death was to add to the plot. If Jim did not die that would lose the significance to end of the story and to Julie and Jim's best friend's relationship. At the end, Julie believes her dog was her husband guarding her after he died. The first type of violence I described is used to mold the nature of characters; whereas the second type of violence is applied to add further details to the plot and theme.
The two examples of violence are the violence characters bring upon themselves or other characters, and the violence brought on by the author to advance the plot. In the novel The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, the main character, Susie Salmon, is brutally raped and murdered. The story is told in her point of view during the attack, and after death, in heaven watching everyone she cared for on earth. For the longest time no one could find her body, so she watched helplessly as her family fell apart at the seams, her brother fell into depression, and her sister became the latest potential victim of her own attacker. Susie’s death became an essential event in the story because it caused the whole central focus of the plot and theme. Relating to the same novel, the author caused the Salmon family’s dog, Holiday, to die of old age. Normally the deaths of pets aren’t entirely significant but in this novel it was. Buckley, Susie’s younger brother, fell into depression after her death. The only one he seemed to spend any time with was their dog, Holiday. Holiday’s death was also a symbol of Buckley’s loss of hope that Susie would ever be found, and that his family would ever be complete again. The significance of the family’s pet’s death was to move along the plot and to further strip hope away from the family as well as the readers of ever finding Susie or of the family coming together again.
There are two types of violence they are: (a) injuries and fatalities to a character caused by another character or themselves and (b) injuries and fatalities for which characters aren't responsible. The first type can be found in virtually any book or movie. The particular example I've chosen is from the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen when Optimus Prime defeats The Fallen in an intense battle. This battle more firmly cements Optimus' position in the Autobots. This movie is full of specific injury and I just so happened to select this scene. This type of violence tends to create an intense mood in the work. The second type is also found in most works but creates a different feeling. An example of narrative violence would be when Brian Piccolo dies from leukemia in the movie Brian's Song. This creates a very sad mood which is typical to that of the second type of violence as opposed to the intense mood the first type of violence creates. The second type of violence is usually used to advance the story in some way while the first type is usually used to develop the character more.
The two groups violence in literature is grouped into are: 1) violence from [a] character(s) and 2) violence from the author. To demonstrate these two different types of violence, I’ve chosen to take a look at War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells. In this story, there are aliens that come to Earth and cause all sorts of mayhem. They break things apart, blow things up, etc, etc. All in all, they are very violent characters. This is violence type one. Violence type two is exhibited later in the story where Wells, as if to get revenge for the murder of his characters, inflicts the whole populous of attacking aliens with deadly diseases. Seeing as this was brought on completely by the aliens’ lack of immune systems fit for Earth, the only person responsible for the death of the aliens (and rescue of the world) was Mr. Wells himself. One can easily see that as big and bad things within a story can be, the maker of the story can still do more.
In literature, there are two main types of violence. The first is inflicted on the character himself or other characters. The second is violence created solely by the author to move the plot along. In Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, Edward’s family is forced to kill James in order to protect Bella. This is an example of character-created violence. James’s death doesn’t necessarily move the plot forward. Instead, it gives us a greater understanding of just how much Bella means to Edward. An example of author-created violence can be found in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. In the first book of the series, the Baudelaire children receive the horrible news that their parents died in a fire. The death, in the novel, was an accident but outside of the novel, it was carefully planned by the author. The rest of the series is about the three Baudelaire children’s self-discovery. The author got rid of the children’s parents early on to set himself up for a 13 book series.
The two major kinds of literature include specific injury that characters bring upon themselves or upon others. The second kind is just violence from the author in order to move along the plot in a story. In the movie Role Models the two main characters get into a fight. Danny and Wheeler both fight over how they've screwed up and they now have to go to jail. They end up in an actually violent fight which shows the lowest point in the story, and the situation seems hopeless. I feel the writer did this to make the situation seem desperate only to have the men come back from it and make the situation seem all more impressive. In the movie Stepbrothers both of the soon to be stepbrothers happen to have a single parent, while there other parent had died a while back. The author did this so both of the single parents could hook up and start the story.
In this chapter, Foster presents to us the two kinds of violence found in literature: 1.) acts by characters that harm themselves or others and 2.) the death or suffering the author brings into their work to advance the plot or to suggest something thematically that is an act of the author and not a character within the work. Perhaps the most tragic example of the first kind of violence in all of musical theatre is the death of Tony in West Side Story. Inspired from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Tony runs through the streets after hearing that his love Maria is dead screaming for Chino (a boy that Maria was supposed to like who is hunting Tony because Tony killed Maria’s brother, Bernardo, in the rumble earlier that night) to kill him. Just as he sees that Maria is alive, he is shot and then dies in Maria’s arms. His death is significant in many ways. First of all, it is a tragic end to a promising life and is an unnecessary death. Tony had only tried to stop the rumble and fight between the leaders of his gang, the Jets, and the rival gang, the Sharks, when the Sharks’ leader, Bernardo, stabbed and killed the Jets’ leader and Tony’s friend, Riff. As a result, Tony couldn’t help but kill Bernardo. I really don’t want to focus on the deaths of Riff and Bernardo but these two deaths ultimately make the opposing gangs realize that they never wanted to kill anybody (which is important to Tony’s death) and progress the plot so that Tony and Maria have no choice but to try and run away. The fact that Tony killed Maria’s brother and Maria forgave him within moments cements the depth and feelings they have for one another. When Tony dies, that is it for Maria and she gives a speech that perfectly ends and sums up the thoughts of herself and those who have gone through the horrible night. She grabs Chino’s gun and exclaim that it was hatred that killed Tony and everyone else at that she can kill now because she hates, but as she points the gun at the various gang members she realizes she couldn’t possibly shoot them and collapses to the ground in agony. All the members of the opposing gangs, though they don’t say anything, admit that their attitudes towards one another as well as their actions went too far. They also come to the realization that they are just as scared and naïve about what happened. Tragically, Maria has lost the most: her brother and her one true love. The next example demonstrates the second kind of violence to its full and most deadly power. In Ray Bradbury’s short story “There Will Come Soft Rains” Bradbury begins the story with robots going around doing the morning work for their human masters in a futuristic household. The catch: they no longer have human masters. In fact, there is no human throughout the entire story because Bradbury had a nuclear bomb wipe them all out. This household of robots and the house itself, which we later find out was the home of the McClellan family, is simply a home that went undestroyed. If Bradbury hadn’t had the story start after such a violent annihilation then the readers would have read about a family that goes about their futuristic home, which is too boring for a story written by a science fiction author and too much like The Jetsons for my taste. With the human family out of the picture, the story is eerie and perplexing while showing that machines do not recognize human absence. Thematically, this presents the point that human life is just as insignificant as any other creature’s life and, when the house burns down, suggests that what the human race leaves behind will eventually be destroyed and go unnoticed. It is even more interesting and heartbreaking to the reader when traces of the humans who once lived in the home go seemingly unnoticed such as when names are mentioned or the silhouettes of their last moments are imprinted onto the exterior of the house. By introducing this violence in the beginning, Bradbury gives us warning of the future as well as what is to be expected after we leave.
A couple types of violence in literature are direct violence between characters and narrative violence from the author. In The Road a man shoots another person in the head from a short distance. That is direct violence causing physical pain to another character. The author may use narrative violence to develop theme or move the story along. When the father died in The Road , the son is left next to his father's body, with emotional pain tearing at him as he must move on.
In works of literature there are two major forms of violence. The first is injury in which the character hurts themselves or other characters in the piece of writing. The second is harm the author imposes on a character for plot advancement. A good example of the first form would be from the book A Child Called It. The mother of Dave Pelzer was an alcoholic. The worst thing about her was that she was very abusive and she found it fun to torment this poor child. David went through years of abuse and at one point was put on a stove to be burned alive by his mother. The nurse asked him about the bruises, but Dave remained silent. A few teachers began to keep records on him and teach pictures of the bruises and burns. Then one day an officer came to the school to talk to him, David became very afraid because he thought the officer would tell him he had been a bad boy. That's not what the officer said, instead he let Dave know, “You’re free now". An example of the second form of violence would be when Finny falls out of the tree in A Separate Peace and shatters his leg. This sets the whole plot into motion by making Finny crippled for the res t of his life. Gene goes to Finny in the school’s infirmary to apologize and take the blame for the accident. Finny accepts the apology and the two have reconciled. When Finny goes in to have surgery on his leg a piece of bone marrow chips off, enters his blood stream, goes directly to his heart, and kills him. John Knowles does a great job in using violence to excel the plot. The book comes to a wonderful end with Finny dying from something Gene thought would never affect Finny, which was his heart.
An example of the first type of violence, or specific injury is in the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. When Tom Robinson was shot. This is very important to the story because it shows that even though the trial was over and resolved, someone still felt the need to shoot Tom. This act of violence made everyone in the town of Maycomb feel like they weren't really safe anymore. This act of violence is more important in this story because the death of Tom Robinson affected the entire town in some way. An example of narrative violence is also In the book To Kill a Mockingbird. The old lady, neighbor, Mrs. Dubose dies from old age. Harper Lee includes the death of Mrs. Dubose in the story to move the plot along.
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How to Read Literature Like a Professor
How to use this blog, blog archive.
- Introduction: How'd He Do That?
- Chapter 1 - Every Trip is a Quest (Except When It'...
- Chapter 2 - Nice to Eat with You: Acts of Communion
- Chapter 3 - Nice to Eat You: Acts of Vampires
- Chapter 4 - If It's Square, It's a Sonnet
- Chapter 5 - Now, Where Have I Seen Her Before?
- Chapter 6 - When in Doubt, It's from Shakespeare ...
- Chapter 7 - ... Or the Bible
- Chapter 8 - Hanseldee and Greteldum
- Chapter 9 - It's Greek to Me
- Chapter 10 - It's More Than Just Rain or Snow
- Interlude - Does He Mean That
- Chapter 11 - ... More Than It's Gonna Hurt You: C...
- Chapter 12 - Is That a Symbol?
- Chapter 13 - It's All Political
- Chapter 14 - Yes, She's a Christ Figure, Too
- Chapter 15 - Flights of Fancy
- Chapter 16 - It's All About Sex; Chapter 17 - ......
- Chapter 18 - If She Comes Up, It's Baptism
- Chapter 19 - Geography Matters...
- Chapter 20 - ... So Does Season
- Interlude - One Story
- Chapter 21 - Marked for Greatness
- Chapter 22 - He's Blind for a Reason, You Know; C...
- Chapter 25 - Don't Read with Your Eyes
- Chapter 26 - Is He Serious? And Other Ironies
- Chapter 27 - A Test Case
How to Read Literature Like a Professor
What are the two categories of violence in literature?
From the text:
Let’s think about two categories of violence in literature: the specific injury that authors cause characters to visit on one another or on themselves, and the narrative violence that causes characters harm in general. The first would include the usual range of behavior – shootings, stabbings, garrotings, drownings, poisonings, bludgeonings, bombings, hit-and-run accidents, starvations, you name it. By the second, authorial violence, I mean the death and suffering authors introduce into their work in the interest of plot advancement or thematic development and for which they, not their characters, are responsible.
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