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English 112: Week 6 Notes

by: Megan Zahn

English 112: Week 6 Notes ENG 112

Marketplace > University of Portland > English > ENG 112 > English 112 Week 6 Notes
Megan Zahn

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About this Document

These notes cover Part 1 of Atonement by Ian McEwan.
Thinking Through Literature
Cara Hersh
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Megan Zahn on Wednesday October 19, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENG 112 at University of Portland taught by Cara Hersh in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Thinking Through Literature in English at University of Portland.


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Date Created: 10/19/16
English 112: Thinking Through Literature: #7 Atonement by Ian McEwan The first words are “the play” -play within a novel Control: How much control do readers have over what they are reading? -Is the author in control of the reader? → Control how his/her audience is interpreting the text -Or do we have control over the author’s writing? → Being able to interpret for themselves  Briony’s opinion (page 34-35) o With a play, people are playing the parts; author has no control o Limits of a stage o All different things that “go wrong” o Straight connection in a novel  McEwan: o “so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it” o Places blame on Briony “she had left behind”  Put blame before argument=questions her argument o “telepathy”, “magical”: these don’t exist o “castle”  Her descriptive image is not what others see  She doesn’t actually describe the castle o “bluish”, “shade”, “…”: vague Disorder—coping mechanisms Naming things o Page 112, Briony finally puts a name on it: “maniac” o Allows us to feel a sense of control o Power of language to control things o Once you name it, you can understand it more o Thinking about individual words o Euphemisms:  Lighter way of saying something with the same meaning  Ex: hit the bucket: death  Ex: bathrooms, potty, restroom, little girl’s room The dialectic: Language is inherently connected to the world and materials things and is powerful OR language is random and disconnected from the world and is not powerful Page 107 Arguments/evidence for powerful; connected: Euphemisms (all about 1 word, yet can’t say it) “disgust”: word can evoke strong and powerful emotions Looks like it is Quantity of the material Never heard the word yet she knows exactly what it is “at one with its meaning” “demon” (has connotations about power), “cross” (powerful symbol) Anagrams: o “Old English king”: cnut o “smallest pig in the litter”: runt o “hounds pursuing fox”: hunt Arguments/evidence for weak; disconnected:  “vague”, “juggling”  Euphemism/anagrams: you can speak around the words, causes confusion  Word is not actually spoken (is still in her thoughts) English 112: Thinking Through Literature: #6 Atonement by Ian McEwan  Danny Hardman and Old Hardman o Danny Hardman is Old Hardman’s son, around Cecilia’s age o Old Hardman is the butler, he works for the Tallis family  Family tree: o Hermione Sister Emily Tallis Jack Tallis Lola Jackon Pierrot Leon Cecilia Briony  Thematic issues: o Can humans ever get what’s in their mind into the world? o Control o Clash in families  Are there really bonds that connect families? o Why human are obsessed with secrets o Duty + obligations  1 50 pages of the novel: o Intertextuality: references to other texts  Ex: intertextually referencing Atonement itself  Shakespeare  Fielding, Clarissa  Long, big British novels; to Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Austen (the epigraph)  Book written in 2001: clearly writing about an earlier time  It is post-modern writing o Many texts written today are categorized like this o Think about themselves as texts o Pushes readers to think about the fact that they are reading a text/piece of fiction  Metafictional: o Others just want their readers to get lost o Constantly reminds readers that they are reading o Ex: the Princess Bride o Messenger is as important as the message Why does literature/fiction exist? Why do people write? P. 4: “…but terror, relief and instruction” o Is from Aristotle, responding to Plato o Aristotle says that we should read, Plato says that we should not read o Catharsis:  Steps of terror, relief, and instruction  In books, you read about the bad guys and you are terrified of them, then you are relieved that it is just fiction  Good to let the feelings out, all of society can get better  We purge ourselves, then we will never do the bad things


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