literature - wikispaces .what is literature? we are sure you have heard ... rhyme and the rhythm

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  • IES La Puebla

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    LITERATURE UNIT 1

    Material developed by Teachers and Members belonging to the project

    Marina Martnez Aguilera & Manuel Alberto Domnguez Vega

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    1.- Literature as an expression of humankind.

    What is Literature? We are sure you have heard this word many

    times but, what is the definition for the word Literature? According

    to Webster`s New Elementary

    Dictionary, Literature is the

    production of written works having

    excellence of form or expression and

    dealing with ideas of permanent or

    universal interest. (pg. 294).

    Ideas of permanent or universal interest are, no doubt, those

    cultural values that contribute to the way we are and behave, the

    rituals that we have learnt from our ancestors and that we are willing

    to pass on to future generations. In the next section, you have the

    opportunity to see how we can do all that by reading or writing

    literary texts.

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    Activity: What are ideas of permanent or universal

    interest, in your opinion? What literary works do you know?

    Discuss your ideas with your partner in the Activity 1.1 Forum.

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    1.1.- Cultural values.

    What about the cultural values? Are there any examples of

    literary works that represent the cultural values of your community?

    Cultural values can be simple

    things in our ordinary lives,

    such as the way we eat, the

    way we dress, or our lifestyle

    in general. Read the following

    text by Juana Vzquez Gmez:

    For my grandmother, the kitchen was a sacred place. There she spent most of her time, cooking or teaching the cook how to

    prepare old and difficult Mexican dishes.

    Thanks to her willingness to share those secret recipes, my

    mother and I can keep up the traditions of delicious, refined, and

    elaborate Mexican cuisine.

    the Making of a Modern Mexican Cook The Angeles Times

    Sometimes, we can even find food references in book titles

    such as the following:

    The particular sadness of lemon cake is a tale by Aimee Bender

    (The United States)

    Black Coffee is a play by Agatha Christie (Great Britain) The House on Mango Street is a novel by Sandra Cisneros (The

    United States)

    Driving Over lemons: An Optimist in Andaluca is a novel by

    Chris Steward (Great Britain)

    The Flounder is a novel by Gnter Grass (Germany)

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    Under Milk wood is a radio drama by Dylan Thomas (Great

    Britain)

    Like water for Chocolate is a novel by Laura Esquivel (Mexico)

    As you can see, it is very easy to identify basic elements of our

    daily lives in literary samples. Through Literature, just by observation

    and a certain degree of analysis, we can learn more about our own

    culture and about other cultures. In conclusion, Literature is a

    fundamental way of expression for human beings.

    discuss them in the Activity 1.3 Forum.

    Activity: Now, you can identify other possible cultural

    aspects present in World Literature by looking at this word-

    puzzle and finding 6 words that refer to a persons cultural

    heritage.

    Discuss them in the Activity 1.2 Forum.

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    Literature is also a way to express emotions of different kinds,

    ranging from happiness to sorrow. In the next section, you will have

    the chance to discover some of them.

    1.2.- Expression of emotions

    As humans, we express our emotions in many ways and

    Literature has been one of these ways for centuries. Sometimes, we

    need to express sadness or

    despair, but sometimes we feel

    happiness and fulfillment.

    The elements present in

    poetry contribute to the

    expression of personal

    emotions, thanks to the poets emphasis on the images evoked, the

    rhyme and the rhythm expressed in just a few lines, which we call

    verses. The best way to enjoy a poem is to read it slowly and to read

    aloud, being also aware of the sounds and the images in it. There is

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    To Know More:

    For more information: http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/5668.Food_In_Book_Titles

    http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/5668.Food_In_Book_Titles

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    no need to rush or to get all the ideas the first time you read it, just

    relax and read it a few times.

    Sombre and rich, the skies;

    Great glooms, and starry plains.

    Gently the night wind sighs;

    Else a vast silence reigns.

    The splendid silence clings

    Around me: and around

    The saddest of all kings

    Crowned, and again discrowned.

    Comely and calm, he rides

    Hard by his own Whitehall:

    Only the night wind glides:

    No crowds, nor rebels, brawl.

    Gone, too, his Court: and yet,

    The stars his courtiers are:

    Stars in their stations set;

    And every wandering star.

    Alone he rides, alone,

    The fair and fatal king:

    Dark night is all his own,

    That strange and solemn thing.

    68

    Which are more full of fate:

    The stars; or those sad eyes?

    Which are more still and great:

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    Activity: Now, identify in the following stanza (group of

    verses) the emotions expressed in this poem written by Lionel

    Johnson and discuss them in the Activity 1.3 Forum.

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    Those brows; or the dark skies?

    Although his whole heart yearn

    In passionate tragedy:

    Never was face so stern

    With sweet austerity.

    Vanquished in life, his death

    By beauty made amends:

    The passing of his breath

    Won his defeated ends.

    Brief life, and hapless? *Nay:

    Through death, life grew sublime. Speak after sentence? *Yea:

    And to the end of time.

    *Nay means No

    *Yea means Yes

    Armoured he rides, his head

    Bare to the stars of doom:

    He triumphs now, the dead,

    Beholding Londons gloom.

    Our wearier spirit faints,

    Vexed in the worlds employ:

    His soul was of the saints;

    And art to him was joy.

    69

    King, tried in fires of woe!

    Men hunger for thy grace:

    And through the night I go,

    Loving thy mournful face.

    Yet, when the city sleeps;

    When all the cries are still:

    The stars and heavenly deeps

    Work out a perfect will.

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    Sometimes, words have a hidden meaning or a special impact

    in certain contexts. All this has to do with the use of figurative

    language that we will explain in the next section.

    To Should Know:

    Lionel Johnson (15 March 1867 4 October 1902) was an English

    poet, essayist and critic.

    Activity: Now, find 7 words from the poem which can

    express or describe emotions in the following word puzzle

    Discuss them in the Activity 1.4 Forum.

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    1.3.- Figurative language.

    Figurative language is the use of language to create a special

    effect and embellish the normal meaning of words. The strategies to

    obtain this effect are the figures o

    speech. Look at the following list:

    Alliteration: The repetition of

    certain sounds.

    Example: She sells seashells by the

    seashore

    Simile: The writer compares two

    things that are not similar by means of the words like or as.

    Example: As black as coal.

    Metaphor: The writer compares two things that are not similar

    without the words like or as.

    Example: The warm breeze was a blanket around us.

    Personification: The writer gives an object, or an animal,

    human characteristics.

    Example: The dog thought he was in danger.

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    Hyperbole: It is an obvious exaggeration.

    Example: he was so hungry, he ate a cow.

    Onomatopoeia: The writer uses words that imitate a sound.

    Example: The breeze whispered.

    Idioms: Phrases that say one thing but mean another

    completely different.

    Example: they bu