For this first essay exam, please write an essay of approximately 1.5 pages. The essay will be typed and double-spaced, using Times New Roman 12 point type. Please use specific examples from the texts to support your answers.
At this point in the semester, what are some of the themes that you have noticed so far in the course readings? Have you noted common themes in the course readings so far? If so, what are the common themes that you have noticed? Please use specific examples from the course readings to back up your points. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
PLEASE READ IMPORTANT INFORMATION BELOW⬇️
***Towards the beginning of the semester, I introduced the three main Genres that we would be studying: Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. We have spent several weeks looking at approaches for studying Fiction. I would now like to look at approaches and tools for studying Poetry.
******LINK to stories and poems that you need to use for references in the essay⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇
It hovers in dark corners
before the lights are turned on,
it shakes sleep from its eyes
and drops from mushroom gills,
it explodes in the starry heads
of dandelions turned sages,
it sticks to the wings of green angels
that sail from the tops of maples.
It sprouts in each occluded eye
of the many-eyed potato,
it lives in each earthworm segment
it is the motion that runs the tail of a dog,
it is the mouth that inflates the lungs
of the child that has just been born.
It is the singular gift
we cannot destroy in ourselves,
the argument that refutes death,
the genius that invents the future,
all we know of God.
It is the serum which makes us swear
not to betray one another;
it is in this poem, trying to speak.
******Great information explaining what this class is about (Literature)⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️
As we begin looking at the literature we will be reading, it helps to have a way to classify or define it. This is where our first literary term will help us.
This first term is Genre: Genre can be defined as basically a classification system. It is a way of taking various works and putting them into categories. Before I explain how this works with literature, let me give you an example to some things that may be more familiar to us.
Let’s take music. Music can be made up of different classifications or categories. Technically, these classifications and categories are Genres of music. For example, there is country music, rock and roll, jazz, rap, blues, etc. Sometimes there can even be subgenres that exist under the main genre. An example here is we have Rock and Roll as a Genre, but under that, it breaks down into Soft Rock, Classic Rock, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, etc.
We can see another example of Genre with movies. There are categories of movies that could be defined as Comedy, Romantic, Horror, Western, Mystery, etc.
With this basic understanding of Genre as a way of classifying or categorizing works, let’s see how it applies to literature.
There are three main Genres of literature: Prose, Poetry, and Drama. Let me offer a basic definition of each of these:
- Prose – This genre is what we are most used to reading. Prose is best described as writing that follows normal speech and grammatical structure. It has no purposeful rhythm structure, no purposeful rhyme, and the shape or line structure is not important. When we read the text of stories, newspapers, magazines, instruction manuals, textbooks, we are mainly reading prose. The lines read from left to right and generally go from margin to margin unless there is a break for a paragraph ending or beginning.
- Poetry – This genre can be problematic to define. If you go and search through books or online for a definition of poetry, you will see many different and varied definitions of what poetry is. A few people might define a poem as a text where there is a rhyming pattern. However, we can very easily and quickly see that there are many poems where there is no rhyming structure.
Also, shape and structure are important in making a poem. Poetry in many ways defies definition, yet, simply put, you know it when you see it. In a way, that is what makes poetry one of the most excellent art forms – its accessibility in a creative sense and simultaneous refusal to adhere to easy categorizations. Again, we will discuss definitions of what makes poetry more in depth later on.
- Drama – is a literary work that is intended to be performed on stage or for film.
As I explained earlier with music, movies, etc., these three main genres of literature will also have subgenres. For example, in the Genre of Prose, we could see subgenres of fiction, mystery, western, comedy, non-fiction essay, science fiction, etc. We will discuss these various subgenres later in the semester when we are actually in each of the three major genres.
Problems and Limitations of Genre
One thing that can be problematic or a challenge when dealing with genre is to realize it is not a set or undisputed system of classification. What this means is there will be times when there will be disagreements on how the categories break down or disagreements as to which category a work fits in.
For example, if I take the first story we are reading “The Necklace,” most would classify it as Prose as the main genre. As for the subgenre, many would say it is fictional, drama prose, while some might classify it as short story, naturalism.
The important thing is don’t worry so much about being absolute as to which subgenre a work fits in. Genre is just a way to help keep us (and scholars in general) organized as we study the literature. Just think about the genres and subgenres of literature as similar to the genres of movies, music, etc. and how we have ways of classifying those works to fit into categories.