Leading Innovation 2012 Bootcamp

leadinginnovation2012 - Day 2 - Literature and Figurative Language



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Literary Excerpt

So What? Figuratively?

Poets also make use of the journey metaphor, as in this well-known work by Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken":

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
We typically read this poem as discussing options for how to live life, and as
claiming that the subject chose to do things differently than most other people do.

To Frost, figurative language is what poetry is all about. He is notably a poet of
metaphors more than anything else. Frost said,"Poetry begins in trivial metaphors, pretty metaphors, 'grace metaphors,' and goes on to the profoundest thinking that we have. Poetry provides the one permissible way of saying one thing and meaning another. People say, 'Why don't you say what you mean?' We never do that, do we, being all of us too much poets. We like to talk in
parables and in hints and in indirections - whether from diffidence or from some other instinct"....


This understanding comes from our implicit knowledge of the structure of the LIFE IS A JOURNEY metaphor. In other words, we think metaphorically--whether we're aware of it or not.

Based on the descriptions of each path, how do the roads compare? What do you infer the possible LIFE JOURNEY would be like for the traveler based on this metaphor? Join the discussion
Poets also make use of the metaphor along with personification, as in Edgar Allen Poe's poem, "The Bells":

Hear the sledges with the bells - Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells -
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells. Hear the sledges with the bells -
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!

While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells -
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells....
complete poem
"The Bells" brings out the meaning behind the symbols of various bells.
He incorporates musical and sound devices as well as auditory and visual
imagery to describe different dispositions associated with four different types of bells.

Like life, the meaning of "The Bells" depends on where you find yourself.
"The Bells", is a great example of Personification Poetry as each bell speaks of a different theme and, like Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken", metaphorically represents LIFE's journey.

In this sample of "The Bells", how are the bells themselves, as well as other
objects in the poem, personified? What human, living characteristics have they been given? Join the discussion
Metaphor, simile, personification and hyperbole all work together for the poet as we see here in Maya Angelou's, "The Lesson":

I keep on dying again.
Veins collapse, opening like the
Small fists of sleeping
Children.
Memory of old tombs,
Rotting flesh and worms do
Not convince me against
The challenge. The years
And cold defeat live deep in
Lines along my face.
They dull my eyes, yet
I keep on dying,
Because I love to live.
Like both of the poems above, this poem reflects on LIFE.

Identify the figurative language in "The Lesson", and distinguish between metaphor, simile, personification and hyperbole.

Reflect how the author of the poem feels about their life and why they say they, "keep on dying."

Compare all three poems and discuss how LIFE is interpreted by the author through figurative language.
Join the discussion


Follow Up Discussion

Step 1

Be prepared to:
  • Share and discuss your thoughts about figurative language. Be sure to refer specifically to what you have read and viewed.

When you are ready to post your response, use the links in Discussion Box located below to enter a "post" containing your answers.

Subject Author Replies Views Last Message
"The Road Not Taken": Metaphor lhervey lhervey 0 74 Jun 8, 2012 by lhervey lhervey
"The Bells": Personification lhervey lhervey 0 53 Jun 8, 2012 by lhervey lhervey
"The Lesson": Figurative Language lhervey lhervey 0 42 Jun 8, 2012 by lhervey lhervey

Step 2

Read the responses of all your peers:
  • Respond to and build on the ideas of at least three of your classmates.


How you will be evaluated:

Successful completion of this activity will be based on the Forum Participation Rubric.
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What To Do Next

Complete this assignment, then go to: Tackle Figurative Language with Toondoo (On day 2 or when given permission)


References

Fair use (1776) excerpt from the essay entitled "Education by Poetry" by Robert Frost.Fair use (1776) excerpt from Edgar Allen Poe's poem, "The Bells."Fair use (1776) excerpt from Maya Angelou's, "The Lesson."


Image Copyright Information

Birds - finish
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