CLASS: SENIOR ONE
UNIT I: INTRODUCTION TO LITERARY GENRES: FICTION AND NON-FICTION
UNIT II: INTRODUCTION TO PROSE: PLOT, SETTING & CHARACTERS
UNIT III: INTRODUCTION TO POETRY
UNIT IV: THEMES AND MESSAGES IN POETRY
UNIT V: LANGUAGE USE IN POETRY
UNIT VI: INTRODUCTION TO DRAMA
UNIT VII: KEY ASPECTS OF DRAMA
UNIT I: INTRODUCTION TO LITERARY GENRES: FICTION AND NON-FICTION
The term “Literature” comes from the Latin word literatura or litteratura which means “writing formed with letters”. Literatura derived from the Latin root “littera” which means “letter or handwriting”, or knowledge of letters.
Literature is a term used to describe written or verbal material. Generally speaking, literature can express anything from creative writing to more technical or scientific work. But, the term “literature” is frequently used to refer to works of the creative imagination which includes poetry, drama, fiction and non-fiction.
In broad sense, literature can be looked at as any symbolic record encompassing everything from images, sculptures, to letters. In a narrow sense we can define literature as a text composed of letters, written on a paper or other material. In everyday life, we perceive literature to mean any written material.
I.2. DEFINITION OF LITERATURE
There are many great thinkers and writers who have given wonderful definitions of literature. Some of them are given below:
Boris Pasternak said that it is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.
Iman Ja’ far al Sadiq defined literature as “the garment which one puts on what he says or writes so that it may appear attractive”.
– any written material
-a text composed of letters, written on paper or other solid material.
-a kind of art which uses language in a creative and artistic way to comment on society.
-an art that is created out of a language.
-the use of language in a creative and artistic way.
The definitions given above consider literature as something that is distinguished by style and beautiful language. Therefore, it involves the use of language but in a more stylistic and artistic manner.
I.3. THE IMPORTANCE OF LITERATURE
Literature educates and informs us about our world: By reading literary texts we are able to understand ourselves and other people, and know other places and time periods.
Literature is very entertaining: it enables us to share our emotions with the text.
Literature satisfies and stimulates our imagination: By making us curious and critical thinkers, we are able to evaluate or judge things. It challenges our minds and enables us to grow both intellectually and socially.
It broadens our reasoning.
Literature helps us to understand our history and our identities better.
It increases our knowledge.
It enables us to use language with ease.
It sharpens one’s intellect and equips one with good communication.
Literature humanizes us: we develop sensibility and compassion towards others. We also appreciate what is good and reject what is bad. It makes us better people.
It helps us to know other disciplines (religion, psychology, science,…)
Literature helps us to better fit in other professions as we can express ourselves creatively in spoken and written forms, and these are the skills learnt by reading literary works.
I.4. FORMS OF LITERATURE
Literature exists in two forms: Oral literature and written literature.
a. Oral literature: It is literature which is disseminated/transmitted/spread by word of mouth. It is literature which is not written in textbook.
Ex: Poems, songs, riddles, tongue twisters, proverbs, fairy tales….
b.Written literature: It is literature which is written down on a paper or other solid material. It is literature which is written in textbooks.
Ex: Novels, novellas, plays, prose passages, newspapers, journals, …
Oral literature is carried in the memories of members of different communities and it is passed from one generation to another. This one existed before the invention of writing. On the other hand, written literature started or came with the invention of writing.
I.5. MAIN GENRES OF LITERATURE
The word “genre” refers to a kind or a category of literature. Written literature is divided into three broad genres or categories based on how or the way words are written and sometimes on the kind of meaning an author wants to portray. Those genres are prose, poetry and drama.
Prose refers to literature which is written in continuous sentences and paragraphs. It comprises of full grammatical sentences which consist of paragraphs.
It practices a natural flow of speech and common grammatical structure rather than a rhythmic formation. Prose also tends to focus on plot and characters.
Main varieties of prose are novels, short stories, journals, novellas, diaries, letters, and non-fiction.
Example1: I was only ten years when my sister was sold away. That was two years ago. A few days before, the suitors had come. Three ugly women and four men. One of the four men wanted to be the husband of my sister. I disliked the way he looked, but my father and the clan liked him very much. They said he came from a rich family. His father had many herds of cattle and a large flock of sheep. (From “They sold my sister” by Leteipa Ole Sunkuli)
Example2: “The woods look lovely against the setting darkness. As I gaze into the mysterious depths of the forest, I feel like lingering here no longer. However, I have pending appointments to keep and much distance to cover. So, I will not settle in or else I will be late for all of them.”
Poetry refers to literature that is written in verse form. It is a special kind of writing in which words, pictures, and sounds combine making a special emotional effect or spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions.
Poetry is regarded as the oldest form of literature. Before writing was invented, oral stories were commonly put into some kind of poetic form. It made them easier to memorize and recite.
It has been generally agreed that all music is poetry. Poetry is meant to be recited because it uses words and sounds to excite us making us dance or nod. Poetry is meant to be recited but often, it is written down. Poetry is almost always written in verses (lines) and stanzas and the one who writes or recites poetry is a poet.
Example1: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep”
Example2: The crack by Sheikha El-Miskery
Crack the glass
And the crack
Will always remain
The human heart
It’s just delicate
To the strain
Example3: Epistle to the World by Leteipa Ole Sunkuli
Children will bear
On their shoulders
The murderers of theirs fathers
The murderers of their mothers
In a treacherous embrace.
Drama refers to literature which is written in dialogue form. It is a form of fictional representation through dialogue and performance. It is also an imitation of different actions. Drama should be acted before the audience in order to communicate a message. It includes conflict of characters that perform in front of the audience on stage.
ELISE: “The woods look more and more beautiful as we go deeper into the forest”.
BETTY: “Yes, but it is late and we have other places that we promised we’ll visit.
It’d be better that we keep our promises, before setting down in the woods.”
Any text that is meant to be performed rather than read can be considered as drama. Drama are also frequently called plays and the one who writes drama/play is called a dramatist or playwright.
I.6. TYPES OF LITERARY WORKS
We have seen three main genres of literature. All those genres (prose, poetry, drama) have their own sub-genres.
Sub-genres of prose
Novel: A novel is a long piece of narrative fiction.
It is a long work of narrative fiction normally in prose, and typically published as a book.
Ex: “Weep Not Child” by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
“African Child” by Camara Laye
“A Man of the People” by Chinua Achebe
Short story: It is a fictional work of prose that is shorter than a novel.
It is a brief work of fiction usually written in prose and running 1,600 to 20,000 words in length.
Ex: “They sold my sister” by Leteipa Ole Sunkuli.
Fairy tale: It is a story about magic and legendary deeds.
It is a children’s story about magical and imaginary beings and lands.
It is a story that typically features entities such as dwarfs, dragons, elves, fairies, witches, giants, talking animals,..
Ex: Cinderella and the Seven Dwarfs, The Frog Prince,..
Autobiography: It is a story of the author’s own life written by him.
Ex: “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela
“Family Life at the White House” by Bill Clinton
Biography: An account (story) of someone’s life written by someone else.
Ex: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.
Diary: Diaries are the events documented by an author without any means of publishing them.
A record (originally in handwriting) with discrete entries arranged by date reporting on what happened over the course of the day or other period.
Fable: It is a short story that features animals and conveys a specific moral lesson.
Ex: The Fox and the crow by Aesop
The Tortoise and the Hare by Aesop
Novella: It is a story that is longer than a short story but shorter than a novel.
It is a short novel or a long short story.
It is a text of written, fictional, narrative prose normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel.
Subgenres of drama
Melodrama: A kind of drama having a musical accompaniment to intensify the effects of certain scenes.
Tragedy: A kind of drama with tragic events and having an unhappy ending especially the downfall of the main character.
It is a kind of drama in which a heroic protagonist encounters a crisis and falls from grace to grass
It is a drama with a tragic and an unhappy ending.
Ex:The Iliad by Home
The Odyssey by Homer
Oedipus the King by Sophocles
Comedy: It is a humorous play with a happy ending.
Ex: Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Tragicomedy: It is a drama that combines the elements of a tragedy and a comedy. You will cry and laugh while watching a tragicomedy.
It can be a tragedy with a happy ending or a tragedy with enough comic elements.
I.6. CHARACTERISTICS OF FICTIONAL AND NON-FICTIONAL LITERARY WORKS
Prose as a genre of literature can be divided into two broad categories. Fiction and non-fiction.
Fiction refers to literature which is created out of imagination. In a fictional work; the places do not necessarily exist in the real life. They are imagined or they originate in the writer’s mind.
- Fiction is created by an author from imagination.
- The people, events, places and ideas, are imaginary and invented.
- Many times, authors use a narrator who is not a real person.
- It is a story with a series of connected events.
- Fiction is entertaining.
Non-fiction refers to literature based on fact. It is literature based on true accounts of the people, events and places. It includes all writings based on true events. It is based on the real people existing in real places.
- Non-fiction is based on true events and facts.
- It involves real people, real events, real places and real ideas.
- It is narrated by an author who is a real person
- It is not necessarily a story.
- It is informative.
UNIT II: INTRODUCTION TO PROSE: PLOT, SETTING AND CHARACTERS
II.1. DEFINITION OF PROSE
Prose is a form of writing that is natural and uses grammatical structure. Most forms of writing and speaking are done in prose. It is the most common form of writing. It is usually straightforward and may utilize figurative language. Prose examples include novels, novellas, short stories, journalism, academic writing and regular conversations.
II.2. KEY ASPECTS OF PROSE
Key aspects of prose are the basic elements on which the story is built upon. They give answers to the following questions:
Who is the story about?
Where is the story taking place?
What is the main problem of the story?
Those key elements of prose are: – Plot, setting, characters
Plot refers to the way events or actions of a story are arranged, especially the way they relate to each other in a cause and effect manner. In short, plot is the cause and effect arrangement of the actions or events in a story.
Plot can also be: -The order of events in a story.
-The sequence of events in a story.
-The succession of events in a story.
-The arrangement of events in a story.
The plot is a planned, logical series of events having a beginning, middle, and an end.
The parts/elements of a plot
Exposition/introduction: It is the opening/beginning of a story where the characters and setting are revealed. Sometimes the main conflict is also introduced here.
Rising action: This is where the events in the story become complex. The conflict is revealed at this stage (events between introduction and climax).
Climax: It is the highest point of interest, tension and suspense. It is the turning point of the story where the reader questions what will happen next.
Falling action: At this stage the events and conflicts/complications begin to resolve. Events show the results of how the characters begin to resolve the conflict.
Resolution/ denouement: The part of the plot that concludes the falling action by revealing or suggesting the outcome of the conflict. It is the end of the story.
Setting refers to the place and time at which the events of a story take place. It answers the questions of where and when. The time and place can be real or imaginary.
Time: When the story is happening:
Ex: 9h00’ A.M, during the night, on Monday, in August, in 1994, Before Christ, pre-colonial period, colonial period, post-colonial period, post-independence era, post-genocide period, during 20th century,…
Place: Where the story is happening.
EX: In a garden, in a sea, inside the house, at Muyumbu, in Rwanda, in Nyungwe Forest, at school,….
Context: It can be set in a social and cultural setting.
Ex: In urban environment as in Kigali, in a traditional African society,…
A character refers to the fictional human being, animal or thing in a story. The character is any person, animal or figure represented in a literary work. Characters are central figures on which the action of the plot happens.
Types of characters
Main/major/central characters: They are characters that play a big role in the story. Most of the actions in the story happen around these characters. The plot and resolution of the conflict revolves around them.
Protagonist: A protagonist is a main character who is faced with problem/conflict he must resolve. He is a main character who has good behaviours. He is considered as a hero.
Antagonist: An antagonist is a main character who usually challenges the protagonist or test him/her. He/she is a main character who has bad behaviours. He/she is also considered as a villain.
Main characters are well developed which makes us to know more about them and we can relate to them.
Minor characters: They are characters that do not play a big role in the story. They are characters that support/help or serve to complement the main ones and help move the plot events forward.
Characters can also categorised as:
Positive characters: They are characters that show positive /good qualities or behaviours. They can be brave, hardworking, caring, humble, peaceful,…
Negative characters: They are characters that show negative/bad qualities/behaviours. They can be wicked cruel, wicked, brutal, lazy, revengeful,…..
Characterization refers to the author’s representation and development of characters in the story. While talking characterization, we should note that:
Dynamic character is a character who changes over time.
Static character is a character who doesn’t change over time.
Round character is a character that has a complex personality.
Flat character is a character that is neither conflicted nor contradictory. He//she doesn’t change and the story doesn’t reveal much about him.
How to identify characters
In studying a short story, novel,…we need to identify and know the characters very well. In order to identify them we look at:
-The physical description of a character in terms of size, colour, and general appearance.
-What the character says about him/herself and about other issues affecting the society.
-The character’s actions in his/her interactions with other characters in the society.
-What other characters in the story say about him/her.
-The character’s thoughts, desires, dreams and wishes.
How to identify characters and explain their behaviours
In order to describe characters, we use adjectives. A character may be described in many ways such as:
Good, bad, funny, lazy, ugly, rude, hardworking, polite, beautiful, kind, careless, honest, etc
The author creates different characters and has to show what makes a character behave the way he/she does or why he/she behaves in that way and how his/her behaviours affect others.
UNIT III. INTRODUCTION TO POETRY
III.1 DEFINITION OF POETRY.
Poetry is the expression of a writer’s feelings in rhythmic form. It is also a kind of literature that is written in verses and which uses condensed language to express strong feelings.
Poetry is different from prose as it (poetry) uses its own unique structure.
Ex: Dreamsby Langston Hughes
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
Just like music, poetry uses carefully arranged sounds and words, and it also expresses strong emotions. It is also condensed since it uses few words by comparing to other genres.
In poetry, it is where we find songs and poems. A poem is a work of literature in which words are arranged to sound pleasant to the ear and to express ideas, emotions and thoughts. The writer of a poem is called a poet.
Poetry relies on careful choice of words to relay the best possible meaning. Poetry is the best and most precise way of saying something and a good poet select, arranges and rearranges words until they are able to say what he wants them to say as effectively as possible.
Characteristics of poetry
Listen, Papa by Gachanja Kiai
Listen to me Papa
I tried as hard as I could
I wanted to be top in class
I tried to be top in class
Others were better than me
They calculated faster than I could
They spelt better than I could
Listen Papa, I tried.
Poetry uses language in an economical way (few words)
Poetry expresses strong feelings and emotional expressions.
Poetry is arranged in stanzas rather than in paragraphs.
Poetry is musical.
Because part of a poem’s meaning is contained in its sound, it is advisable to read it aloud in order to enjoy its full meaning. Poems should be read several times in order to get their real meaning.
III.2. TRADITIONAL POETRY IN RWANDA.
Our African societies have their own poetry which is not written in textbooks. Traditional poetry (poems, songs) is the one that is passed down from one generation to the other. Wedding songs and lullabies are also a part of traditional poetry.
Folk songs are songs of the inhabitants of a land about their culture, tradition or history.
Ex: Among them there is Ruti that aligns corpses
There is Rugurira in Minwi of Mugemanyi
The rooster of Mugenzi of Ngongo
Which was called while being anger-prone
And suddenly there was a commotion everywhere.
They are songs that are sung for the bride and bridegroom. They are usually sung loudly in weddings with many people joining and singing together.
Ex: Go our dear
Love is good
The beautiful woman is taken away
The well-brought up young woman
You’ve done your parents credit
The beautiful woman is taken away
Oh she is taken away
The beautiful woman is taken away
She goes to her lover’s home
The beautiful woman is taken away
May you have children
May be loved by the one you have loved
The beautiful woman is taken away
A home is the one that is visited
We will all visit you
The beautiful woman is taken away
Oh she is taken away
The beautiful woman is taken away
She goes to her lover’s home
The beautiful woman is taken away.
Lullabies are soft gentle songs sung to make a child go to sleep.
Ex1: Stop crying my child -Stop crying
Stop crying for I love you- Stop crying
Don’t cry yourself hoarse- Stop crying
Stop crying you immaculate- Stop crying
Stop crying, my cowry- Stop crying
Stop crying, listen to this lullaby- Stop crying.
Ex2: Stop crying
For your father is keeping you company
For your brother is keeping you company
For your sister is keeping you company
For your cousins are keeping you company
Stop crying -Stop.
III.3 MAIN FEATURES OF POEMS
Rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds in two or more words. Rhyme occurs when two or more words sound similarly at their ends. A rhyme is a tool that uses repeating patterns to create rhythm or musicality in poems. A rhyme is used for a specific purpose of giving a pleasing effect to a poem, which makes its recital an enjoyable experience.
Usually, rhyme occurs at the end of lines in a poem, but it can also occur in the middle. If it occurs in the middle, it is called internal rhyme.
Ex1: Mama; don’t worry
Your son’s in no hurry
We will not rush to marry
And there make you sorry.
Ex2: The gaze of the beauty
When I look at Rwanda
I can’t help it wonder
How like a phoenix, from ashes this nation is rising
When I look at Rwanda, I can’t help it but start praising.
Ex3: The choice to believe in power of togetherness
The choice to walk hand in hand even through the darkness
The choice to trust the good in others
And the choice to work heart to heart with others
Because we are a summation, one nation
And never shall we betray the foundation.
Rhythm refers to a strong regular repeated pattern of sound in poetry. It is also the variation of the length and accentuation of a series of sounds or other events. It is what we dance to in a song. It is the regular beat that defines the song. Rhythm that can be measured is called meter.
In writing poetry, rhythm acts as a beat in music. Rhythm is used to captivate the readers by giving musical effect to a literary piece.
Rhythm is created by: -repetition
-sound patterns (repetition of certain sounds in a poem).
-length of lines- if of the same length.
A line is a division of a poem. Specifically, a group of words arranged into a row that end for a reason. The lines (verses) are arranged to have a certain number of syllables, stresses, or metrical feet. The line length is determined by the rhythm which the poet wants to achieve. This means that lines can be short or long.
III.4. NURSERY RHYMES
A nursery rhyme is a simple song for children to sing. They are usually short, simple and repetitive. They are enjoyable to sing as they are full of funny and rhyming words. Nursery rhymes also heavily rely on word play which creates a playful effect, hence giving an opportunity to young children to learn something new in a playful and enjoyable manner.
Ex1: Baa, baa black sheep
Baa, baa black sheep
Have you any wool,
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full.
One for my master.
One for my dame.
But none for the little boy,
Who lives down the lane.
Ex2: Old MacDonald had a farm
Old MACDONALD had a farm
And on his farm he had a cow
With a moo moo here
And a moo moo there
Here a moo, there a moo
Everywhere a moo moo
Old MacDonald had a farm
UNIT IV. THEMES AND MESSAGES IN POETRY
IV.1. DEFINITION OF A THEME
A theme can be explained as follow:
A theme is an opinion expressed on the subject.
It is what a poet is saying about a certain subject.
It is the central/ main idea of the poem.
It is the poet’s opinion or perspective about a certain issue in society.
It the controlling idea which is continuously developed throughout the poem.
Themes can be about friendship, love, good vs bad, loneliness, grief,…..
IV.2. DEFINITION OF A MESSAGE
A message can be explained as follow.
A message is what a poet what a poet wishes the society to learn from his/her poem.
It is the kind of a lesson that the reader learns after reading the poem.
It is the moral in the poem.
It is something the poem aims to teacher the reader.
It is the lesson the poet wishes the society to learn from his/her poem.
Messages can be about respecting elders, not fighting, caring for your loved ones,…
IV.3. TYPES OF THEMES AND MESSAGES
The two types of themes and messages are: – Hidden, Fully stated
Hidden themes or messages are the ones which are hidden. They are implied or communicated indirectly or suggested. To get them, the reader has to use his/her intelligence and analysis. They are also called implicit messages/ themes.
Fully stated themes/messages
These are the themes or messages which are stated or communicated directly or clearly. The reader does not have to analyze the poem to find them. They are fully and clearly expressed leaving nothing implied. They are also called explicit messages/themes.
The following steps can help you to discover the theme and messages:
Take the name of the poem (title) into account.
Try to understand the subject matter of the poem
Summarize the poem in few words.
Find the topic or big idea of the poem.
What the poet is telling you by wring that poem
Which things does the topic tell you that are important to learn about life.
UNIT V. LANGUAGE USE IN POETRY
V.1. POETIC DEVICES
Poetic devices are literary techniques that are used in poetry to create sounds and mental pictures within a poem. They are also tools that a poet uses to create rhythm, enhance a poem’s meaning, or deepen a mood or a feeling. Poetic devices make poems pleasant to listen to.
It is the repeating of a word, a phrase, line, stanza or idea in a poem. Repetition not only creates rhythm in a poem but also establishes unity in the poem as well as helping the poet to emphasize certain ideas.
Ex: Smile by Mark Chetambe
They say she smiled at me
I will not slaughter my only cock
I will not throw a party
I will not bring down my flute
I will not compose a song
I will not change my walking style
I will not go to the barber for a box haircut…
Ex: Freedom song by Marjorie Macgoye
Atieno washes dishes,
Atieno plucks the chicken,
Atieno gets up early,
Beds her sacks down in kitchen,
Atieno eight years old,
Ex: ‘To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells
Bells, bells, bells-
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!’
V.2. FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE
We usually use two different kinds of expressions while speaking: the literal and the figurative.
Literal statements mean exactly what they say while the figurative one means other beyond the accepted definitions.
Figurative language includes simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, paradox, onomatopoeia, symbolism, …
It is a comparison between two unlike things by using the words ‘like’, ‘as’ or ‘than’. It is a figure of speech which uses the words ‘like’, ‘as’ or ‘than’ to show the resemblance between two things which are different. Sometimes the verbs ‘appear’ or ‘seem’ are also used to compare.
Ex1: The day was as hot as the sun
He could swim like a fish
Her sneeze was as loud as a train whistle
I felt like a fish out of water
Ex2: Friends are like chocolate cake
You can never have too many.
Chocolate cake is like heaven-
Ex3: Love is like a painting
Filled with all colours and shades
Love is like a bleeding heart
Cut with many sharp blades.
Metaphor is a figure of speech which compares two unlike thinks without using ‘as’, ‘like’ or ‘than’. It says that one thing is another. A metaphor can be implicitor explicit.
Explicit metaphor: It is a metaphor which is clear about the two things being compared.
Ex: The stars were diamonds in the sky.
Her smile was a ray of sunshine.
He couldn’t stand because his legs were rubber.
She is a peacock.
The classroom was a zoo.
My teacher is a dragon
He is a night owl
Jamal was a pig at dinner
The snow is a white blanket
You are my sunshine
The sun is a golden ball
Books are the keys to your imagination
Implicit/implied metaphor: It is a metaphor which compares two unlike things without mentioning one of them.
Ex: Philip’s anger grew until it erupted. (compares anger to a volcano)
John barked at the girl. (compare John to a dog)
She flies at him. (compares her to a bird)
The ants orbited the snail before attacking it. (they are being compared to planets)
It is a figure of speech which gives human traits or qualities to animals or thing. It is when the non-humans are given human characteristics.
Ex1: Lightning danced across the sky.
The wind howled in the night.
The car complained as the key was roughly turned in its ignition.
My alarm clock yells at me to get out of bed every morning.
The door protested as it opened slowly.
The moon played hide and seek with the clouds.
The approaching car’s headlights winked at me.
The camera loves her since she is so pretty.
The stairs groaned as we walked on them.
My flowers were begging for water.
The thunder was grumbling in the distance.
The wildfire ran through the forest at an amazing speed.
The moon smiled at the stars in the sky.
The leaves waved in the wind.
Ex2: Pregnant clouds
Ride stately on its back,
Ex3: The wind whistles by
And trees bend to let it pass.
Ex4: The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
It is a deliberate exaggeration which is not intended to deceive but rather to create a special effect. It involves the exaggeration of ideas. Hyperbole is used to create a strong impression and add emphasis.
Ex1: “As I walked One Evening” by W.H Auden
I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,
I’ll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
Ex2: She’s as thin as a toothpick.
He was skinny enough to jump through a keyhole.
That mall is large enough to have its own zip code.
I ate so much on Thanksgiving; I weigh more than a whale.
His stomach is a bottomless pit.
If I can’t get a smartphone, I will die.
My mom is going to kill me.
These dress shoes are killing me.
This is so boring, just kill me now!
It was so cold I saw polar bears wearing jackets
It feels like my birthday will never come.
I had a ton of chores to do.
I’m so hungry I could eat a horse
You could have knocked me over with a feather.
The church was decorated with a million flowers.
He’s got tons of video games.
Grandpa is older than dirt.
My dad is always working.
I’ve told you a million times not to do that.
We waited for centuries for the latest game to be released.
It will only take me two seconds to get there.
You’re walking slower than a snail.
Carrie never stops talking.
Paradox is a phrase/statement that appears to be self-contradictory but which is actually expressing some truth when it is closely examined. Paradox is used to attract attention or secure emphasis. Paradox is a statement which seems untrue at first sight but proves valid on closer inspection.
Ex: You can save money by spending it.
I know one thing; that I know nothing.
This is the beginning of the end.
“I can resist anything but temptation.”
Here are the rules: Ignore all rules.
I only message those who do not message.
He was glad to finally be punished for his crimes.
War is peace
Freedom is slavery
Love puts in when friendship is gone
It was the best mistake he ever made
Good fences make good neighbours
It is a combination of two contradictory/opposite words. Most of them are made by adjectives preceding nouns with contrasting meanings.
The ugly beauty
Parting is such a sweet sorrow (in Romeo and Juliet),
There was a love-haterelationship between those neighbours.
Paid volunteers were working for the company.
All the politicians agreed to disagree.
There was a deafening silence.
It is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is referred to by the name of something which is closely associated with that thing or concept. It is a figure of language where instead of using the actual name of something, we use the name of something else which is closely related to it or which resembles it. A metonymy is a substitution where a word or phrase is used in place of another word or phrase.
Ex: “The crown” can be used to mean king, queen or government.
The chair has called of the meeting. Chair=person
The bench usually refers to the judges
Suits to mean business people
Heart to refer to love or emotion
Dish to refer to an entire plate of food
Washington to refer to the US government
Hollywood to refer to film industry
Hand to mean help
Tongue to mean language
Ears to refer to giving attention, listening
“The pen is mightier than the sword.” The word “pen” substitutes for written work.
The word “sword” substitutes for violence or warfare
Synecdoche occurs when a part of something is used to refer to the whole or the whole for the part.
A synecdoche may use part of something to represent the entire whole.
Ex: Bread can be used to represent food in general or money (
Sails is often used to refer to a whole ship.
Hired hands can be used to refer to workmen.
Wheels refers to a vehicle
It may use an entire whole thing to represent a part of it.
Ex: The “world” is not treating you well.
The word “society” is often referred to a specific sector of society.
“Police” can be used to represent one or several officers.
“Rwanda” attended the UN conference in New York. Rwanda: president
Synecdoche and metonymy resemble one another because they both use a word or phrase to represent something else. They are both considered metaphors because the word or words used are not taken literally.
It is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. A literary symbol is something that stands for something else other than itself. This symbol does not exist for itself but rather points to something different from itself.
Ex: The dove is a symbol of peace
The cross symbolizes Christianity
A ring on a finger can mean marriage
A red rose stands for love/romance
White represents life and purity
Black is a symbol of evil or death
Red can symbolize blood, danger,…
A chain may mean union or imprisonment
A broken mirror may symbolize separation
Smile symbolizes friendship
Smiling at you symbolizes the feeling of affection to you
Snow refers to winter symbol
Dust symbolizes death in the Bible.
A literary symbol is a thing/event/person/quality/relationship which functions in two ways:
– as a sign of something else
Ex: “blood” may mean just that, but it may also mean war.
This includes words that sound like their meaning or imitations of sounds. It is referred to a word which duplicates the natural sounds of objects. They help the readers to hear the sounds of the words they reflect.
The watch-dogs bark!
Hark, hark! I hear
The strain of strutting chanticleer
Cry, ‘Cock-a-diddle-dow!’” From “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare.
Ex2: “I’m getting married in the morning!
Ding dong! The bells are gonna chime.”
The bees were buzzing
Ex3: bang, ping, buzz, boom, slurp, hiss, squish, voom,….
Use/importance of figures of speech in poetry
– They create images that make abstract statements appear real.
-They communicate more concretely and vividly.
-They convey judgements.
-They communicate feelings so as to influence our attitude towards the subject.
V.3. RHYME PATTERNS OF RHYTHM
Rhyme is a repetition of similar sounding words (or the same sounds) in two or more words, most often in the final syllables or lines in poems and songs.
Types of rhymes
The poet who wishes to write a rhyming poem has several different sorts of rhyme from which to choose. Some are strong, some more subtle, and all can be employed as the poet sees fit.
The following are some of the main types:
End Rhymes: Rhyming of the final words of lines in a poem.
Ex1: Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground
From Seamus Heaney’s “Digging”
Ex2: Tyger Tyger, burning bright
In the forest of the night
From William Blake’s “The Tiger”
Internal Rhymes: Rhyming of two words within the same line of poetry.
Ex1: Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble
From William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’
Ex2: Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
From Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”
Slant Rhymes: Rhymes in which two words share just a vowel sound (assonance) or in which)they share just a consonant sound (consonance.
Ex1: Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun
From Seamus Heaney’s “Digging”
Rich Rhymes: Rhymes using two different words that happen to sound the same (homonyms) –like “raise” and “raze”.
Ex1: And breathe the true poetic vein,
This page should not be fill’d in vain!
From Thomas Hood’s “A First Attempt in Rhyme”
Eye Rhymes: Rhyme on words that look the same but which are actually pronounced differently– as “bough” and “rough”.
Ex1: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
From Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnet 18’
Here, “temperate” and “date”look as though they rhyme, but they are pronounced differently.
Identical Rhymes: It is simply using the same word twice.
An example is in (some versions of) Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could not Stop for Death”
Ex: We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground—
The Roof was scarcely visible—
The Cornice—in the Ground—
In the above lines, the word “ground” is repeated twice for rhyming effect; and this make it an identical rhyme.
UNIT VI. INTRODUCTION TO DRAMA
VI.1 DEFINITION OF DRAMA
Drama comes from a Greek word “dran” which means “to do” or “to act”/perform. It is understandable because in a play, on stage, we are always presented with dialogue and actions. A play is a story that is written for actors to perform on stage. A play usually has a dialogue that is spoken by characters.
Drama is a genre of literature which uses dialogue and actions to tell a story. It is the visual representation of literary works. It is performed for audience in theatres, on radio or television.
Therefore, drama is a performance in which actors represent characters and act out a story.
In order to understand and appreciate drama you must know the following terms and their meanings:
Theatre: – It is a building or outdoor area in which plays and other dramatic performances take place.
-It is a building/room/area where dramas are performed. It has a raised platform (stage) for performance and a seating arranged for the audience to sit.
Audience: It refers to the people who watch a play when it is being acted or performed.
Audience refers to assembled spectators or listeners who watch the performance.
Playwright/dramatist is a person who writes or composes plays.
Actors: –They are the ones who perform the written play. He/she is a person who portrays a character in performance.
– An actor is also a person who represents one of the characters in a play and performs the actions of that character on stage.
Script: It is the written text of a play. The script is used by actors to prepare for performance.
VI.2. KEY ELEMENTS OF DRAMA
A drama has the following key elements:
Act: It is a major division of a play. Most plays usually have between three and five acts. While performing on stage, the change from one act to another may be indicated by the drawing of the curtains or by the switching off of the lights.
Moving from one act to another in a play may mean that the location of the action has changed or the time has shifted.
Scene: It is a sub-division of an act. The place and time stay fixed in a scene. A play can move from one scene to another without any change of place or time.
A scene refers to the activities of a group of actors at a particular time. If one actor joins or leaves the group; a new scene is introduced.
Stage directions: They are descriptions written by a playwright to indicate the actions of the characters or to describe the setting. Stage directions are usually written in brackets. They help us to realize the right mood for each scene and enables the actor to use non-verbal expressions (gestures, smile, frown…) and movement on the stage.
Ex: BOSS: Boss will support you. Keep in touch
NASIRUMBI: (Puts the money into her handbag) Our treasurer will send you a receipt for this donation.
Dialogue: It is a conversation between two or more characters in a play. Dialogue brings characters to life by revealing their personalities and showing their thoughts and feelings.
Ex: GATARE: When will you be back?
KABATESI: I will not come back ever.
GATARE: But why?
KABATESI: Because you have hurt me deeply.
UNIT VII. KEY ASPECTS OF DRAMA
As we have seen it, drama is presented through dialogue and actions. Like a short story or a novel, drama has also plot, setting and characters as key aspects but the way they are presented is different because the short story or the novel are intended to be read unlike the play which meant to be performed in front of the audience.
VII.2. KEY ASPECTS
It is the arrangement of events and actions of a play in terms of cause and effect. Plot is how the events are connected leading to conflict. The conflict is either internal (in the mind of the character) or external (between individuals). The plot is a carefully designed, logical series of events having a beginning, a middle and an end.
The following are the parts/elements of a plot:
Exposition/introduction: It is the opening/beginning of a drama where the characters and setting are introduced to the audience. The main conflict is also introduced here.
It may involve some foreshadowing, which is a hint of what is likely to happen.
Rising action/conflict/complication/development: This is where the events in the play become complex and the conflict rises. A lot of tension and suspense are built in this part.
Climax/crisis: It is the turning point and highest point of interest, tension and suspense. It is when the main character has to make a decision that must resolve the main conflict of the play.
Falling action: At this stage the events and conflicts/complications begin to lead to the conclusion/end. The main character either loses or wins against the problem.
Resolution/denouement/conclusion: It is where the conflict is resolved. There is a sense of finality and conclusion. It is the end of the story. The character(s) might live happily ever after.
Setting refers to the social circumstances in which the events of a play occur, the historical time and the geographical location of the events. It is the point in time and location in which a play takes place.
The drama’s setting may include:
Time: It not only includes the historical period (past, present, or future) but also the specific year, month, time of day…
Ex: In Antiquity, during the 19thcentury, in 2019, by the end of December, on 2nd May 1992, at 7:00 P.M, …
Place: Place may involve not only the geographical place (a region, country, state, or town) but also the social economical or cultural environment.
Ex: In Africa, in Rwanda, at South-East Coast of California, in Kigali/Tokyo/Moscow, in a traditional African society, in urban environment…
Weather conditions: In the scene, the weather can be rainy, sunny or stormy.
In a play, setting is established in several ways:
–Notes from the playwright: The playwright might state clearly the setting.
Ex: The action takes place in a coastal town in southern Norway.
-Through the characters’ dialogues, costumes and behaviours.
-The stage sets: This is what the set designer arranges on stage.
Ex: The set may suggest that the characters are poor, or that is a palace or that it is a sea shore.
During the performance, the set may also include props and stage lighting.
-Through the stage directions: The playwright may use stage directions to let the readers or audience know where the action is taking place.
Characters are the people, animals or things that play a part or that are portrayed in a play. When characters are animals or things; they are personified (given human traits). In a drama, some characters might be referred to, but never seen on stage.
Characterization is the playwright’s presentation and development of the characters in a text. It is made better by use of suggestive/symbolic/revealing costume, suggestive names, manners of walking, dialect…and sometimes masks are used to enhance characterization.
The most important tool for the development of characters in a drama is dialogue (what they say and what is said about them).
Characters in a drama are of these types:
Major characters: Those are the characters that get the maximum stage time and dialogues. The plot’s conflict and resolution revolve around them.
Protagonist: A character that fights for something and that portrays good qualities
Antagonist: A character that opposes/challenges the protagonist.
Minor characters: They are characters that get less stage time and dialogues. They usually serve a smaller purpose than the major characters and serve to complement them.
Positive characters: These ones portray positive/good qualities like kindness, care, generosity, courage, honesty, compassion, empathy…in a drama
Negative characters: They portray negative/bad qualities like cruelty, hate, selfishness, shyness, greed…in a drama.
Usually the playwright provides a list of characters in a play. He/she says who they are and therefore actors are assigned roles using that list. That list is called “cast of characters”.
PROPRIETOR: The proprietor of Masomo Academy
PRINCIPAL: The principal of Masomo Academy.
CHRIS: The senior examination master.
MR BRAMUEL: The assistant examination master
CLEOPHAS: A pupil
AMANI: A pupil
INSPECTOR: A school inspector.
Achievers Literature in English for Rwandan Schools -Senior 1
An Introduction to Literature in English for Rwandan Schools -Senior 1
Achievers Literature in English for Rwandan Schools -Senior 2
Literature in English for Rwandan Schools -Senior 3
INTERNET: (Various websites)
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