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Tuesday, September 6

September 6, 2016

Spongebob: Today we talked about our second archetype: The Fool. This archetype represents our need to laugh at/feel superior to other people. There are two subarchetypes:

  1. Mr. (or Ms.) Know-It-All. Example: Squidward. A character whose hubris (arrogance; excessive pride) always leads them to believe they know more than they do.
  2. The Village Idiot. Example: Patrick. A character whose ignorance is not really their own fault. They’re just really dumb.

An example of the Divine Child/Know-It-All pairing (besides, of course, SpongeBob and Squidward) is the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote:

This short clip from a documentary about legendary animator Chuck Jones shows us the dynamic:

As we pointed out:

  1. The coyote puts foolish trust not just in himself, but in the products he uses (all made by the Acme Corp.), which always let him down.
  2. He fails in part because the Road Runner, like SpongeBob, is a Divine Child. That is, somebody up there (wherever you believe “there” is) likes him. A Know-It-All is probably not going to get the better of a Divine Child. The universe won’t permit it. And you can tell that the Road Runner is a Divine Child because he never consciously tries to hurt Wile E. It just happens. (The universe is on the side of the innocent — or at least, we like to believe this is so.)

We watched the SpongeBob episode “Club SpongeBob,” which demonstrated a similar Divine Child/Know-It-All dynamic. Squidward fails, in part, because he mocks the gods — in this case, the Magic Conch. And the gods have their revenge. This is the SpongeBob episode most like a Greek tragedy, right down to the part where Squidward cries out:

Image result for squidward why must 11 minutes
He suffers just like Tantalus, Sisyphus, Prometheus, and all the rest!

For Thursday: I gave you an index card. Give me three examples of The Fool (from movies, books, TV, etc.) and please identify the subarchetype in each case.

Be careful: it’s easy to get a Village Idiot mixed up with a Divine/Eternal Child — especially when the line is so blurry, as it is in “Club SpongeBob.” Think hard!

Critical Reading: Today you broke into small groups and discussed the reading assignments for today (the NYT restaurant review and menu for Guy’s American Bar and Grill), and in the big group, we got most of the way through discussing the review. On Thursday, we’ll discuss the menu.

Please keep in mind that the Saussure reading is due on Tuesday, and annotations are required. There will be a quiz as well. Ask those who have already started reading – it is NOT easy. Give yourself enough time to get through it. You’ve been warned.

Siren: Old folks: worked on copy for the October issue (deadline Sept. 20).

New folks: talked about the parts of a front page/story. Expect a quiz sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Style: Today we heard a few people read their Dickinson-inspired poems, and your pieces were collected. The style for this week is Hemingway – please have notes ready to go at the beginning of class on Thursday. Remember that your notes need to be written out in complete sentences, and you must a minimum of 5 solid, thoughtful talking points.

Reading: Finished watching Jurassic Park. Here is the prompt: reading-for-writers-9-6-16-prompt-2-jurassic-park. This is due (at the beginning of class) on Thursday.

Survey: Poetry: Today we went over your abstractions and images. Pretty good stuff: just remember:

  1. Just because YOU can see the picture in your head doesn’t mean WE can. If you say, for example, “A person who’s excited because they just found out they got into Lincoln Park” as an example of joy, that’s not enough of a picture. What does it LOOK like? Throwing your acceptance letter in the air? Punching the air? Leaning back and screaming?
  2. To that end, specifics can help nail down an image. You’re going to talk more about generalization and judgment tomorrow, but remember that there’s a difference between a “snake” and a “cobra,”to cite one of billions of examples.

We began reviewing Chapter 4, Imagery. I walked you through the chart on page 67:

  1. Start with the thing itself. In this case, let’s say a salmon. It is what we say it is; there is no representation.Image result for salmon
  2. The next step is to compare two similar objects. In this case, let’s say a salmon Image result for salmonand a sturgeon. Image result for sturgeonThey’re different fishes, but similar enough that a comparison usually won’t help us much.
  3. Where figurative language really starts to happen is when we compare unlike things — because that’s generally less expected, and thus more interesting. When we make that comparison using “like” or “as,” we call it a simile: “He was like a salmon swimming upstream,” we might say, if we wanted to compare his determination to that of a salmon.Image result for salmon
  4. If we make the same comparison, but drop the “like” or “as,” we have a metaphor. What we also have is a demonstrably untrue statement (at least we assume):Image result for half man half fish

but also  a potentially more vivid image. “He was a salmon, swimming upstream.”

5. The salmon we might use in similes and metaphors, however, don’t actually exist in those poems. We know that the fish-man above is not real; it’s just something we’re supposed to imagine.

But what if the object we’re talking about actually does exist in the poem? For example, what happens if we wrote a poem where the narrator is describing watching salmon swim upstream, and he uses that image to rrepresent his own determination? Then we have a symbol.

Unlike similes and metaphors, symbols exist in the poem; they can be public symbols (like a dove = peace, or a heart = love), which everyone recognizes, or private symbols (like, say, a red Chuck Taylor shoe to represent peace).

A writer who uses a private symbol has to make sure that readers can recognize it, too: a piece of writing filled with private symbols that no one else can identify is called a journal entry.

For Thursday: Read Chapter 4, paying particular attention to these terms:

tenor/vehicle/hyperbole/synecdoche/mixed metaphor/pun

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