Chapter 6: Symbol, Allegory & Irony Notes Poetry 1C September 16, 2008
Symbol DEFINITION: something that represents something else • EXAMPLE: A $90,000 Mercedes Benz can be seen as a status symbol in that it also represents an entire lifestyle of opulence and power.
Conventional Symbol • DEFINITION: something that is recognized by many people to represent certain ideas • EXAMPLE: night conventionally represents darkness, death and grief
Contextual Symbol • DEFINITION: goes beyond traditional meanings, meaning depends on the context of the poem • EXAMPLE: In “Acquainted with the Night,” the night contextually represents insomnia, coldness, loneliness and isolation to the point of alienation from humanity and time
Allegory • DEFINITION: the entire plot symbolizes something greater, often with characters and events representing specific ideas • EXAMPLES: Orwell’s Animal Farm can be seen as an allegory for the Russian Revolution - the latest movie version of Superman can be seen as a Christian allegory.
Didactic Poetry DEFINITION: designed to teach an ethical or moral lesson - often the purpose of allegorical poems and stories • EXAMPLE: Orwell’s Animal Farm is didactic in that it can be seen as a warning - intending for the reader to learn a lesson about the dangers of totalitarianism.
Irony • DEFINITION: a technique that reveals a discrepancy between what appears to be and what is actually true • EXAMPLE:
Situational Irony DEFINITION: when what happens is what is entirely different from what is expected • EXAMPLE: "Irony deals with opposites; it has nothing to do with coincidence. ... If a diabetic, on his way to buy insulin, is killed by a runaway truck, he is the victim of an accident. If the truck was delivering sugar, he is the victim of an oddly poetic coincidence. But if the truck was delivering insulin, ah! Then he is the victim of an irony." - George Carlin, in his book Brain Droppings
Verbal Irony • DEFINITION: saying something different from what is meant • EXAMPLES: sarcasm - “Thanks so much for RUINING EVERYTHING!”
Satire • DEFINITION: the art of ridiculing a folly or vice in an effort to expose or correct it • EXAMPLE: “AD” by Kenneth Fearing
Dramatic Irony • DEFINITION: when a reader knows more about a situation than a character does (creating a discrepancy between what a character thinks and what the reader knows to be true) EXAMPLE: in Romeo and Juliet, the audience knows that Juliet is merely sleeping when Romeo thinks she’s dead