Discussion 5

A. Choose any term you learned in this lesson that you would like to know more about. Use the internet or other sources to learn more and post your findings in one paragraph.  Wednesday

B.  Using another student’s findings for Discussion A, re-visit a poem from lesson 5 and explain how what the other student wrote affects your understanding of the poem.  Sunday


48 thoughts on “Discussion 5

  1. Verbal irony occurs when you say the opposite of what you mean by comparing two things that are usually opposites or by pointing out the nature of something that is obviously not true. Such as saying “pleasant as a dull stick in the eye” when you know that, unless you have a serious case of masochistic tendencies, a stick in the eye would be anything but pleasant. Verbal irony with improper timing may also be seen as a compliment or as sarcasm; there is a fine line. You may tell your wife that a dress doesn’t make her look fat, but if she is 900 pounds plus she may very well take your compliment as sarcastic because she knows that it is not true, hurtful and it would be sarcastic. She could very well be emotionally scarred. It is much the same way in writing; you must make sure that the timing and tone of your writing are correct in order for something to be viewed as irony and not to be taken as a complement or as being sarcastic.

    1. I like the word you chose, partially because it is one of my favorite words. The meaning behind it is such a cool one though.

    2. Fun with Etymology: Compliment vs. Complement
      Compliment is from Latin complire = to be courteous; this is the word you are looking for in your sentence.
      Complement is from Latin complere = to fill up (related to complete). In English to complement something means to go well with it (as in, one thing completes the other): those shoes complement the dress. (Shoes cannot give a compliment; a compliment is something only a person can give.)

  2. I’ve chosen to write about paradoxes, mostly out of the fact that I think it’s a funny word. A paradox is a phrase or statement that doesn’t seem to make sense, but it does. Most paradoxes are known to be invalid arguments but still aid in critical thinking. I found a picture while looking up the word and it was of Pinocchio stating, “My nose will grow now.” I thought this was a great, mind blowing example. If his nose doesn’t grow, then he is technically lying, which is what causes it to grow, but if that happens, then technically his statement is true and his nose shouldn’t have grown. Also, paradoxes have been around since the Ancient Greeks. Using logic you can usually find a flaw in the paradox which shows why the would be impossible is either possible or the entire paradox is built on flawed thinking.

    1. Not only is paradox a cool word, but it also is a cool concept. It’s interesting that we can imagine things that are apparently impossible. My favorite visuals of paradoxes are M. C. Escher’s drawings. This one is a good example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._C._Escher#mediaviewer/File:Escher%27s_Relativity.jpg
      It is true that Ancient Greek philosophers made the word “paradox” (meaning “distinct from opinion,” an etymology that I don’t find very helpful) and studied it as a philosophical phenomenon, but it is not true that paradox was not around before them. Paradoxes exits in human thinking no matter when or in what language. I think paradox is a playful thing our minds do, like telling jokes or using puns. I wonder if you observed paradoxes in the poetry and how they seemed to work there.

  3. An Epiphany, is the manifestation of a thought or concept. I choose this partially because it is a cool word, but mainly because of its meaning. To have an epiphany is to have a sudden thought enter your mind generally because of some outside force causing a change. For instance, a person could have an epiphany about their eating habits when they start to gain or loose weight. Perhaps they step on the scale or look in the mirror and realize that they are not where they want to be at; the moment where someone realizes something is called an epiphany. Many writers use this to show the specific moment in a story where there is a change in the characters mindset. It is highly effective, and is an everyday thing for most people. Another way of thinking of an epiphany is by thinking of it as “when the light bulb goes on” or “something clicked”. These are the common everyday terminology for the concept epiphany.

    1. The epiphany in Dwight Okita’s poem “In Response to Executive Order 9066” is Denise will miss her friend “when the first tomato ripened”. Denise might be mad at her friend for the time being. The tomato seeds will remind Denise of her friend and she will miss her.

    2. While reading Edmund Waller’s, Go Lovely Rose, I believe he had an epiphany at the end when he said, “How small a part of time they share, That are so wondrous sweet and fair.” Its an odd poem but intriguing too. He is talking about a girl and her characteristics then all of a sudden at the end “the light bulb goes on” and he realized how precious his time with her was. Thanks for sharing this word. I agree that it is a cool word to study.

    3. I noticed the poet Gwendolyn Brooks likes to use Epiphany’s at the end of her poems. In the poem “We Real Cool” everything seems to be going well for the group of kids that are not going to school. At the end of the poem though Brooks says, “[w]e / [d]ie soon,” suggesting that the lack of education will prove to be a hardship on the kids in the pool hall. In her other poem “Sadie and Maud” Brooks ends with a stanza about how one sister ignores the social norms of the society and lives her life to the fullest and the other follows the social norms and ends of all alone.
      Epiphany’s are neat, I think, in writing because sometimes you don’t know the intent of the story until the end.

    4. I really like that you provided some colloquialisms (the not-so-everyday way to say “everyday language”) for the word.

      1. This thread is great! Brandon and Erin, your wonderful examples are of epiphanies happening to characters in the poem, and Biff, it sounds like your example is more of epiphanies that happen to the recipient of the poem, to the reader or the listener.

  4. Connotation is what the writer wants you to feel when you read a word or phrase. He or she wants you to be able to relate to a word or phrase without relating to its definition meaning. Poetry uses connotations to give the reader a positive or negative emotional feeling through one word or phrase. That emotional feeling is worth many words. So when you are reading a poem it is important to look for and study the connotative meaning. Connotations also help writers creatively use other parts of poetic language like metaphors, similes, personification, imagery, symbol, paradox, and oxymoron. This helps poets add their own meaning to poem.

    1. When I read “A Noiseless Patient Spider,” I found that the emphasis “…O my soul where you stand,”(515) makes the imagery he used following that seem much more significant. The “oceans of space” and how he describes the spider trying to reach places in the rafters is brought to my attention with more urgency than if he had just described it without his feeling being shown.

      1. Thank you for bringing my attention to that poem again. For me the repetition of “O my soul” at the end also made me want to re-read from the beginning again, like the poem is a circle, or a refrain.
        Brandon, I was interested in your definition of connotation because of your emphasis on connotation as a device used by the poet. Another way to view connotation is as an effect in each individual reader. You might think about what level of understanding is presumed by connotation when used as a poetic device. Who is the audience on which these connotations work? I like your suggestion to research the connotations you are not immediately familiar with.

  5. Symbol is something that stands for or represents a meaing for something else. The play with symbols and symbolism in poetry always gets me happy when I noticed them because they are emphasized in such a way that makes them very important and almost defining in their use. Symbols in the written sense and in the tangible have been around for centuries but for them to be put in a illustrative way was introduced in attempts to emphasize powerful thoughts and emotions through symbols by the French Symbolists of the 19th Century. Their efforts in trying to write from the norm of that time affected the art community, casing a movement in which symbols dominated. Instead of painting a representation of a scene accurately (naturalism), they would instead incorportate symbols into their work to make their meaning mysterious and multiple in its depiction which wasn’t as clear or as blunt in its representation.

    1. I enjoyed the symbolism in the poem Sadie and Maud, especially the part that says “Sadie had left as heritage/ Her fine tooth comb.”(638) The fine tooth comb symbolizes to me that the mother left to her daughter the ability to take every bit of enjoyment from life, unlike their aunt who, although led what some would call a better life, lives alone and afraid.

      1. This very fine example of a symbol and its significance also illustrates the interconnection of symbol and metaphor or analogy. Abby, I was especially interested in the “mysterious and multiple” that can be created by use of symbols. Can you think of a way that symbols can be used to clarify?

  6. A metaphor develops a comparison. It is known as a figure of speech which makes an implicit, implied or hidden comparison between two things or objects that are poles apart from each other but have some characteristics common between them. Metaphors are used in poems, songs, and also in our everyday life. For example, when we call a person a “night owl” or “early bird” or even “the black sheep of the family”. The person isn’t really an animal; one just uses the person and the association of the animal. Poems are meant to communicate complex images and feelings to the readers and metaphors are a good way to state comparisons with a lot of emotion. When you portray a person, place, thing, or an action as being something else, even though it is not actually that “something else,” you are speaking metaphorically.

    1. These figures of speeches is how I realized that in Emily Dickinson’s “Wild Nights– Wild Nights!” she is talking about sex. Our metaphor about how it’s the motion of the ocean is shown in her poem when she says, “Rowing in Eden–Ah, the Sea!”

      1. In “My Son My Executioner” By Donald Hall is an extended metaphor; while the son being wrote about in this poem is not actually an executioner, the author explains it as such. He is thus using a metaphor, or an example of something that is spoken of one way but means another. The meaning he is explaining is that of how a child can slowly wear their parent out, till death. In a sense a child is the slow cause of death, yet they also bring such life.

    2. The metaphors presented in “The Silken Tent” are how the poet compares a lady to a tent. The struggle it is to stand tall and sturdy and yet still stay delicate like the thin but strong silk of the tent. And also how the “silken ties”are “loosely bound”yet still they are constricting and strong for the woman and how she lives her life.
      I like how you included that metaphors can happen with anything and are not just a tool used in literature.

      1. These are good examples of larger metaphors of a whole poem, with attention to how the details of a poem are then interpreted in smaller metaphorical ways. It’s kind of like an “if this is true, then that is true” approach to explicating a poem.
        Sophia, I am interested in the idea of a “hidden comparison” primarily because I wonder how that works and what speculations you might have on why meaning would be hidden by the writer.

  7. I found that I did not know the word explication so that is what I chose to learn more about. It comes from the latin word explicare which means to unfold. Explicating is analyzing a literary work line by line and is generally used on short works because of this. When explicating a poem or other literary work almost every line of the work should be addressed and attentions should be paid to all the different aspects of the work. Things such as tone and theme should be examined closely. To me this would be the most thorough way to break down and understand a piece of work.

  8. Form is the word I looked up. Form, in poetry, can be like the physical structure of the poem which include the length of the lines, their rhythms, their system of rhymes and repetition. Mostly form is for the type of poem where these features have been shaped into a pattern, most times it is a familiar pattern.
    The other poetic definition of form that I found was to refer to these familiar patterns: it can be simple and open-ended forms (such as blank verse) or can be a complex system of rhymes, rhythms and repeated lines within a fixed number of lines like a sonnet or villanelle is.

    I know when I read poems I always try to figure out the form and rhythm of it so it is easier to read and understand.

    1. In the poem “Eight O’Clock,” by A.E Housman I noticed that he wrote his poem in the form of a closed stanza because every other line rhymed and his lines were all equal lengths. I prefer poems written this way because poems look more organized.

    2. “We Real Cool.” By Gwendolyn Brooks uses several different types of form in the poem. She uses Rhythm and repitition with her use of “We”. Brooks’ also uses her use of lines in a pattern that “We” is always the start of the sentence but the last word of the line. I can picture this poem being preformed out loud in a crowd almost like a rap song. “We Real Cool.” Also uses rhyming throughout the poem which is known as an (A, B) type of poem. After reading your summary of Forms it made it easier for me to detect the uses that Brooks used in her poem. I did not realize how many different types of form she used until reading your definition.

    3. In the poem “The Silken Tent” Robert Frost uses rhymes at the end of each other sentence but it is difficult for me to figure out the rhythm. I feel that Frost is trying to imply the message in this poem and not openly stating it.

      1. This thread gives a lot to think about! I am interested in your comment that paying attention to the form helps in understanding and want to hear more about how that works. It’s great that knowing a little about form has helped you to notice and put labels on forms, and I wonder what effect this heightened awareness has on your understanding. I was interested in the idea that a poem could look organized and why that is a good thing and what a disorganized poem would look like, very intriguing. I did not quite understand the connection between an implied statement and the form in Frost’s poem; I’d be interested to hear more.

  9. The word that leapt off the paper to me was Personification. I like this word because people, including myself, use it all the time! Personification is defined as giving qualities of a person to animals or non-living things. Reading personification in writing can help to understand the tone of writing, for example if you say “the wind sang through the meadow”, the tone seems happy or mellow. If you say “the wind tore through the meadow” the tone seems a little more urgent and hard. I enjoy picking out the personifications in writing.

    1. Personification has always intrigued me. After reading some of Emily Dickenson’s poems again, it really helped me visualize what she was trying to express without outright saying it. In her poem “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” I could literally picture the carriage driving slowly past the school where the children were outside playing and the fields of grain.

      1. Personification provides a tone is an interesting idea. Jo, your post links personification to metaphor. What is the effect of visualizing the expression instead of hearing it outright?

  10. Verbal irony is an important tone to recognize. An irony is when a person writes one thing and means another. It is the opposite of what the poet writes. Some examples of verbal irony are- soft like concrete, clear like mud, pleasant like a root canal, and so on. We all know concrete isnt soft and root canals are very painful. Ironies can come out in some poetry as sarcasm, but not all. That is why timing is very important. Verbal irony makes poetry more intriguing and forces the reader to use their imagination, which makes it harder for readers to understand the content.

    1. The verbal irony in Theodore Roethke’s “I Knew a Woman” where he says “she cast a shadow white as stone” was a hard thing for me to imagine considering shadows are not white. I don’t understand the “as stone” part though. Is that supposed to be extra irony or is he talking of a literal white stone?

      1. Tasha, I was interested in your emphasis on timing and want to hear more about that. Tanya, I think many of your answers about this line in Roethke might be found in considering “connotation,” a term on which there is a post above.

  11. Epiphany, I chose to write about the word epiphany but I just like to pronounce it. Its one of those funny words that kind of roll off your tongue. An epiphany is an experience of sudden and striking realization. Epiphanies are relatively rare occurrences and generally follow a process of significant thought about a problem. When you have a problem that you have been working on for quite sometime and then suddenly the answer hits you. That is a epiphany, kind of frustrating when its actually a simple solution and you just couldn’t think of it right away.

  12. I choose the word explication as my word to learn more about because I have never heard of the word before. Explication comes from the verb to explicate, which is the process of “unfolding” and “making clear” the meaning of things. An explication cannot be true or false, just more or less suitable for it’s purpose. When working with explications you have to be clear with whether you are dealing with the process or the outcomes of the process. In poetry explications, it takes readers through the poem, explianing what the poem is about, it’s meaning , and the way in which the structure shapes what the poem is about and it’s meaning.

    1. This distinction between focus on the process or the outcome of the process is intriguing when applied to a poem. What would be the process? The outcome? I’d be interested in more on that.

  13. As you listen to a poem, whether you are reading it to yourself or someone else is reading it to you, ask yourself, “Who am I listening to?” or “Who is this speaking to me?” When we question a poem like this, we are attempting to identify the speaker in the poem, also known as the persona. The persona in the poem could be the author themselves, a character they have created, multiple characters, and so on. Miram-Webster defines persona as, “a character assumed by an author in written work” however, it goes on to further define this word as, “the image or personality that a person presents to other people.” I enjoy the combination of the two definitions because a poem is not meant to be only consumed. We truly need to take it in to dissect it. By presenting a personality for the speaker of the poem, we are more able to explicate the written work.

    1. Personas are interesting because they are quite literally the voice that speaks to you through the poem. Dickenson’s “Wild Nights” I always felt as if the inner desire of a sailor’s paradise was at sea, and how he wants to become one with the water once more by sailing it.

      1. Your example shows exactly why it is so important to consider persona and not be bound by the idea that a speaker and its poet are the same. Dickinson has a lot of poems about the sea. Erin, you can think about persona in prose as well, and I wonder whether persona can be a way to probe third-person narration, for example. It will be interesting to think about persona when we study Drama too!

  14. His example shows exactly why it is so important to consider the character and not be limited by the idea that a speaker and a poet are the same. Dickinson has many poems about the sea. Erin, you can also think of the person in prose, and I wonder if the person could be a way of examining the narrative in the third person, for example. It will be interesting to think about the person when we also read drama!

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