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LiteraryTerms - Ms Crystal Kurzen Fall 2007 E 314L...

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Ms. Crystal Kurzen Fall 2007 E 314L: Approaches to Ethnic and Minority American Literature Literary Terms: Aesthetic distance: degree of emotional involvement in a work of art. The most obvious example of aesthetic distance (also referred to simply as distance ) occurs with paintings. Some paintings require us to stand back to see the design of the whole painting; standing close, we see the technique of the painting, say the brush strokes, but not the whole. Other paintings require us to stand close to see the whole; their design and any figures become less clear as we move back from the painting. Similarly, fiction, drama, and poetry involve the reader emotionally to different degrees. Emotional distance, or the lack of it, can be seen with children watching a TV program or a movie; it becomes real for them. Writers like Faulkner, the Bronte sisters, or Faulkner pull the reader into their work; the reader identifies closely with the characters and is fully involved with the happenings. Hemingway, on the other hand, maintains a greater distance from the reader. Allegory : A story that represents an idea or belief. An allegory can be religious or political. Alliteration: the repetition of the same sound at the beginning of a word, such as the repetition of b sounds in Keats's " b eaded b ubbles winking at the b rim" ("Ode to a Nightingale") or Coleridge's "Five m iles m eandering in a m azy m otion ("Kubla Khan"). A common use for alliteration is emphasis. It occurs in everyday speech in such phrases as "tittle-tattle," "bag and baggage," "bed and board," "primrose path," and "through thick and thin" and in sayings like "look before you leap." Some literary critics call the repetition of any sounds alliteration . However, there are specialized terms for other sound-repetitions. Consonance repeats consonants, but not the vowels, as in h orro r - h ea r e r . Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds, pl ea se- n ie ce-sk i -tr ee . See rhyme . An allusion: a brief reference to a person, event, place, or phrase. The writer assumes will recognize the reference. For instance, most of us would know the difference between a mechanic being as reliable as George Washington or as reliable as Benedict Arnold. Allusions that are commonplace for readers in one era may require footnotes for readers in a later time. Ambiguity: (1) a statement that has two or more possible meanings; (2) a statement whose meaning is unclear. Depending on the circumstances, ambiguity can be negative, leading to confusion or even disaster (the ambiguous wording of a general's note led to the deadly charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War). On the other hand, writers often use it to achieve special effects, for instance, to reflect the complexity of an issue or
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to indicate the difficulty, perhaps the impossibility, of determining truth.
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