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THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: LITERARY TERMS

Simile:
(bildhafter Vergleich)

is a comparison of two things which are connected with 'like' or 'as...as'.

Ex.: He fought like a tiger.
or: He is as strong as an elephant.

Metaphor:

is an implied comparison, in which one literal word or phrase is substituted by a figurative one.

Ex: a wave of immigration ('wave' is substituted by 'great number')
or: the evening of life ('evening' is substituted for 'the final part')

Personification:

a stylistic device in which an animal, a plant or an object is given human qualities.

Ex: the wind cries softly outside the window

Mode of presentation:
(Darstellungsart)

There are two modes of presentation to be found in pieces of literature: the panoramic and the scenic modes.
The panoramic mode is employed when the author summarizes several events, whereas scenic mode is used when the author describes scenes in great detail.

Means of presentation:
(Darstellungsmittel)

An author can use different ways of how to present a story:
1. by simply objectively describing scenes or events in a story without being involved
2. by using direct or reported speech
3. by using the so called 'stream-of-consciousness' - technique (Bewußtseinsstrom). This again can
be distinguished:
a. by interior monologue (usually present tense, first person, incomplete sentences) and
b. by reported thought (erlebte Rede; usually past tense, conditional tense, third person)

The stream-of-consciousness-technique is characterized by the fact that ideas and thoughts come directly from the character's mind without the interference of introductory clauses like 'I think..' or 'He claimed..'.

Examples:

Direct speech:

Aunt Beryl, 'No harm can come to it; for it is summer. And the smell of paint will perhaps ahve gone off by the time it (=a doll's house) has to be taken in'.

Interior monologue:

No harm can come to it. I will smell the paintof it as long as it will be taken in.

Reported speech:

Aunt Beryl thought that no harm could come to it, for it was summer. And she said that the smell of paint might have gone off by the time it had to be taken in.

Reported thought:

No harm could come to it; it was summer.And perhaps the smell of paint would have gone off by the time it had to be taken in.

Narrator / point of view:
(Erzähler / Erzählperspektive)

The point of view desribes the relation in which the narrator stands to the story.That is why these two terms are to be considered commonly.

In every narrative text there is a narrator who is not identical with the author of the text. The author creates a narrator from whose point of view the story is told.

One usually distinguishes between a first-person and a third-person narrator:

The first-person narrator

can be the protagonist (=main character), who narrates a story in which he himself is directly involved. His point of view is usually limited to what he sees and has experienced.

But he can also be a character who is a witness (Zeuge) of some event or incident which he then describes from his perspective. He is then not directly involveed in the action of the story, he is rather an observer, a witness.
The functions of a first-person narrator:

He lends the story:
- credibility (he can be relied on what he says)
- authenticity (describes his own experiences)
- immediacy (he is close to the action)

The third-person narrator

is not at all involved in the action of a story. He can be a disguised narrator, who presents things as they are seen through the eyes of a character. He usually has a limited point of view, which prevents him from seeing everything (e.g. other people's thoughts). He can also be an omniscient narrator who has total knowledge and can therefore describe and comment on all the characters and events in the story. This is why one can call his point of view unlimited.
The functions of a third-person narrator:
- he provides comprehensive, overall information
- he provides background information and gives comments



Possible answer to the following assignment:

Comment on the narrator, point of view and means of presentation in Bernard MacLaverty's CAL:
B. MacLaverty employs a third-person narrator for his novel CAL. As the narrator seems to know everything about the protagonist and also about other minor characters involved in the story, one can call him omniscient. He can shift back and forth in time, enter the minds of the characters, escpecially that of Cal. Therefore his point of view is unlimited. Most of the time the narrator is close to the main character and tells the story from his point of view. He even enters Cal's mind, reads and renders his thoughts and feelings in the stream-of-consciousness technique, which means either through reported thought or through interior monologue. Particularly at the beginning of the novel, the author makes the narrator enter Cal's mind, e.g. when Cal lies in bed and cannot sleep. He visualizes an attack on their home and asks himself what they would be doing in this case. Cal's thoughts are presented in reported thought. At times Cal's feelings are described in the form of the interior monologue, e.g. when Cal associates the referee, the red and white flags with the colours of murder and work respectively. These associations are typically described in incomplete sentences.
The advantage for the author of having the narrator use the stream-of-consiousness technique lies in the fact that there is no mediator between the character and the reader. The direct presentation of thoughts (dramatic presentation) allows the reader to get involved and he will identify himself with the character more quickly. This particularly applies to Cal who the reader sympathizes with throughout the story, although the latter had taken part in a murder.

Short story:

A short story is a narrative (Erzählung) which usually treats only one main event or deals with a conflict of one character. Short stories are therefore often called 'slice-of-life'-stories. They are likely to produce a 'certain unique effect' in the reader, as E.A. Poe claims.

Its common structure:
- exposition (=introduction)
- rising action (increasing suspense)
- climax (turning point)
- falling action (decreasing suspense)
- denouement (ending, can be open-ended, surprise ending etc.)
Exposition:

The exposition generally fulfills the following requirements:
- it sets the action going
- it suggests the theme
- it introduces the main character(s) and their problems
- it sketches the setting (time and place) and
- it arouses suspense

Characterization:

There are generally two types of characterisation, explicit (direct) and implicit (indirect) characterisation.

Explicit characterization:

a character is portrayed by direct description of his outward appearance and by directly naming his human and mental qualities or abilities.

Implicit characterization:

a character is portrayed by what he does or by describing his environment. From what he does or from his surroundings one draws conclusions as to what kind of character it is.

Irony:
Generally two types of irony have to be distinguished: verbal and dramatic
Verbal irony:

also called rhetorical irony; is a form of speech in which the opposite is meant from what is literally(wörtlich) expressed. This type of irony uses praise(Lob) to imply blame(Tadel) or words of blame to imply praise.

Dramatic irony:

is to be seen when a character in a play expects the opposite of what his fate or destiny holds in store, but the reader or audience knows better, e.g. Willy Loman in 'Death of a Salesman' believes in his being popular and becoming rich, but the reader / audience knows that he is a failure and will never be rich.


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