Allusions_Book_5.docx - AP Literature Allusions Book 5 1 Sour grapes In \u201cThe Fox and the Grapes,\u201d a fable by Aesop a fox tries over and over again

Allusions_Book_5.docx - AP Literature Allusions Book 5 1...

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AP Literature / Allusions Book 5 1. Sour grapes: In “The Fox and the Grapes,” a fable by Aesop, a fox tries over and over again to reach some grapes dangling from a vine above him. He finally gives up and mutters that the grapes were probably sour anyway, so they would not be worth having. “Sour grapes” refers to the attitude of a person who has been disappointed or thwarted. The person bitterly rationalizes that what he or she had wanted was probably not so great after all. Example: After losing the race for class president, Robert said he was glad he didn’t win because the job would have taken up too much of his time, but I think that was just sour grapes. 2. Sold Down the River : In nineteenth-century America, during the days of slavery, sometimes wealthy homeowners would sell their house servants to plantation owners in the South. Thus, the servants were “sold down the Mississippi river.” The life of a house servant was far more pleasant than the life of a slave on a plantation, so the sold servants would naturally feel betrayed. In the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , the reason Jim runs away from Miss Watson is that he overhears her discussing selling him down the river. To be “sold down the river” is to be betrayed or misled, especially by someone trusted. Example: I felt my friend sold me down the river when she decided to audition for the part she knew I was dying to have. 3. Nemesis: a Greek goddess of vengeance and retribution. She punished people for wrongdoing, especially for excessive pride. A person’s “nemesis” is that which causes his or her downfall, or the term can refer to the downfall itself. Example: The cyclist considered that particular stretch of mountain to be his nemesis, costing him a racing victory year after year. 4. Pyrrhic Victory: Pyrrhus was a general in ancient Greece. After defeating the Romans in a battle in which he suffered great losses, Pyrrhus told those who wanted to congratulate him on his victory, “Such another victory and we are ruined.”

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