Literature is a broad area. In this essay, the first part explains the meaning of literature and personal reading preferences. In the second part, literary terms used in chapters 1 and 2 of Clugston’s “Journey into Literature” are elaborated with clear examples. This is followed by a brief conclusion.
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Meaning of Literature and Reading Preferences
The term literature can be defined as a collection of works of art and texts that in the western context are majorly prose. These include fictional and non-fictional works, drama, and poetry. Texts can also take an oral dimension, incorporating both folk tales and oral poetry. In the most general sense, literature can be regarded as a collection of poems, stories, and plays that are centered on a common subject. These literature pieces (poems, stories, and plays) may not necessarily have implications at the national level.
What makes something literary in your mind is when you begin to be part of what you are reading, and start interacting with the author’s, poet’s, or playwright’s mind. Secondly, something gets literary in our minds when we relate the literature that we are reading to what is happening around us and begin to visualize it as though it were real and part of the world we live in.
Although the term literature means different things to different individuals, it is the reader of literary work who has the discretion to define what literature is and what it is not. According to the latest literature theory, literature is perceived more in terms of the reader than the writer (Purves, 1991, p. 159).
The kind of reading that draws my attention is a story that is either fictional non-fictional but put in a narrative form. An example is James Thurber’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in chapter 1. This is because this kind of literature is systematic and one can easily follow the sequence of events. The phrases and vocabularies that connect the entire story also make me increase in learning through the acquisition of new information. The best way to read is by taking notes of important aspects as you read along. This is because it does not only reinforce understanding but also enables one to go through the summarized form of the literature text while grasping the main concepts.
Literary terms and Concepts Presented in “Journey into Literature” by Wayne Clugston
The first term is satire. This is used to draw attention to the distinction between what something is supposed to be and what it is. It can also show how someone is behaving and how the character is behaving. Such conditions are exaggerated and criticized by the writer through the use of some humor to encourage change. For example, in the comedy, I’m Going, Jeanne tells Henri that he is free to go when her behavior shows that she wants him to either stay a little longer or to go with her (Bernard, 1915, p. 80).
The second literary term is a genre. This refers to the broad classification of literature such as drama, prose, and poetry and the specific kinds of literature under these classifications. Examples include the poem- A Subaltern’s Love Song (Betjeman, 1945) and the comedy I’m Going whose broad categories are poetry and drama respectively.
Third, there is a simile. These are words that are used to show a similarity between two things that share some aspects. In a simile, words that are used include ‘like’ or ‘as’. For example, in the twenty-third section of the Blue Bow, Jane Kenyon uses the simile, ‘like primitives we buried the cat’ in drawing a comparison between primitivity and those who were burying the cat. This shows that burial duties have not changed much over the years.
The fourth term is a metaphor. Is where there is a comparison between two things by use of a word picture to show how they resemble one another. For example, in chapter 2 of this week’s reading, John Updike uses metaphor in Dog’s Death by drawing a comparison between slowing down of the heart of a dog and the moves made by a dog as it attempts to lie down.
Literature is a collection of works and texts. Its real meaning is determined by the reader. It can be categorized into drama, poetry, and prose. The key literary terms used in chapters 1 and 2 of Clugston’s “Journey into Literature” include similes, metaphor, satire, and genre, among others.
Bernard, T. (1915). I’m Going: A Comedy in One Act (Attached material).
Betjeman, J. (1945). A Subaltern’s Love Song (Attached material).
Purves, C. (1991). The Idea of Difficulty in Literature. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.