Eponym: An eponym is a word that is derived from the name of a real or mythical place or person. Eponyms are prominent in our culture and are usually drawn from literary works such as The Grinch by Dr. Seuss for example. We commonly know a person as a ‘grinch’ if they are greedy and gain gratification in ruining other peoples’ fun. Therefore, in addition to being the titles of great literary works, many characters and places have become prominent in our everyday language in order to enhance our description of various people and circumstances.
Asyndeton: this is the stylistic practise of intentionally excluding conjunctions in a series of words and phrases whilst maintaining grammatical accuracy. It shortens the sentence, encouraging focus on its meaning as it emphasises the significance of the connection between the clauses. Julius Caesar famously said, ‘veni, vidi, vici’ which translates to ‘I came, I saw, I conquered.’ The asyndeton is both rapid and powerful, asserting the strength of his victory. The punchiness of this sentence therefore makes it memorable as it creates rhythm and intensifies the importance of the message, i.e. reduce, reuse, recycle.
Periphrasis: this refers to the excessive use of language or longer phrasing to convey a meaning that could have been conveyed more directly in fewer words. The unnecessary use of words or circumlocution, is often used to avoid taboo subjects and to draw the attention away from the message being conveyed. Rather than simply saying ‘I have lost my ring’ you could say, ‘the ring in question is temporarily unavailable as the knowledge of its whereabouts evades my memory.’ The indirectness of the sentence attempts to divert the attention away from the fact that the ring is lost.
Zeugma: this is a figure of speech in which a single word applies to more than one noun, allowing two or more thoughts, with a different sense in relation to each other to be syntactically linked. Sometimes the word is figurative in one part of the sentence and literal in the other. For example, ‘On the fishing trip, Charlotte caught both a lobster and a terrible cold.’ The verb ‘caught’ governs both a ‘lobster’ and ‘cold’ but each in a different way. It creates a sense of drama and adds a value of shock and comedy to the sentence.
Films Vs Books
After reading Room by Emma Donoghue, I decided to watch the film adaptation in order to compare the film’s interpretation of Donoghue’s story with the book. It made me consider whether watching films detract from our ability to utilise our imagination when painting the images of particular characters and scenes. I found that it was easier for me to engross myself in the book as I was no longer a reader but a part of what I was reading. I could connect and empathise with characters on a far deeper level and my imagination was limitless. I realised that even though films can bring stories and characters to life, they can equally do the opposite. Whilst comparing the two types of media, I became aware of my own authorial voice when I read a book, as I shape ideas and characters to make them my own. As much as I liked the film adaptation of Room, I felt that it didn’t live up to the book’s gripping nature. It made me appreciate reading a lot more because I don’t often consider the enjoyment I get from being able to interpret and envisage a story independently.
In todays English seminar we were discussing canonisation and what it is that gives the canon value and significance. Although the canon is considered to be important due to its sociopolitical, historical context and influence, I believe that its main problem is its exclusivity. The discussion made me consider why the canon is prized above equally great works of literature and who decides the value of these works. In my opinion, value is completely subjective and there are plenty of novels I have read which I would consider to be equal to or greater than the works in the canon. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho for example, follows the spiritual journey of a young shepherd and is based on themes of enlightenment, destiny and the unity of nature. For me, The Alchemist was both self-empowering and canon-worthy. As much as I enjoyed reading Little Women, Dracula and The Great Gatsby, I can’t help but think of the numerous other thought-provoking and inspiring novels that I would place amongst some of the greatest novels in literature. It was interesting to consider the qualities I’d ascribe to a great novel in comparison to the opinions of others.
Ballad of A Thin Man
On my way to university this morning, I was listening to Bob Dylan and brainstorming about what I was going to write in my tutorial essay on Shakespeare’s Sonnet 20. The sonnet brings to light both the romantic and controversial nature of homosexuality in the 16th century and it served as a reminder of how far social norms have changed since then. The narrator of the sonnet is in love with a man and consequently the tone of the sonnet changes from that of adoration to misery as the narrator comes to the realisation that his love was never meant to be. Shakespeare’s words challenge the traditional concept of love between a man and a woman. It reminded me of the way Bob Dylan challenged society’s way of thinking through his lyrics. The song, ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’ resembles similar themes to Shakespeare’s sonnet as Bob Dylan highlights the controversy of homosexuality and also the necessity of self acceptance. To me, the song offered a modern-day response to the message conveyed in Shakespeare’s sonnet – that regardless of what society thinks, we must follow our hearts. It was a nice thought to start the day.