Terms and Definitions
A narrative or description in which the characters, places and other items are symbols.
The repetition of consonant sounds at the beginnings of words or within words, particularly in accented syllables. It can be used to reinforce meaning, unify thought, or to create a musical effect.
Example: flags flying free
The repetition of similar vowel sounds followed by different consonant sounds in stressed syllables or words. It is used instead of rhyme. Fade and stayed are examples of rhyme; fade and pale, examples of assonance.
ALLITERATION AND ASSONANCE
Example: “THE SPLENDOR FALLS ON CASTLE WALLS” – TENNYSON
A brief reference to a well known person, event, or place, real or fictitious, or to a work of art.
Example: He was as brave as Alexander. (refers to Alexander the Grea)
She was his Mona Lisa. (she was his inspiration; just like Mona Lisa was the inspiration for DaVinci)
He met his Waterloo. (Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo)
– when two words can have two simultaneous meanings in the same context (sentence), it creates ambiguity.
“At today’s outside brunch, everyone seems a little cold”. (cold – reserved? Cold because it is outside?)
– a contrast of ideas achieved by putting together words that hold opposite meanings:
“I have to be cruel, only to be kind.”
“The fire in my heart freezes me.”
(type of) – type of person: gallant prince, brave warrior, cheating husband
– in a play, a character turns to the audience and gives the audience some information that the other characters on stage pretend not to hear
The mood of a literary work. An author establishes atmosphere partly through description of setting and partly by the objects chosen to be described.
Connected terms: Mood and Tone
Example: a story that takes place in a dark, deserted castle, at night, has a different atmosphere than a story which takes place on a beach in Hawaii
Tone: the author's attitude toward his or her subject matter. (although the atmosphere of a story could be happy overall, a depressed character for example might have a sad tone)
Mood: the atmosphere; the overall feeling the reader gets after reading the story
A BALLAD IS A POEM MEANT TO BE SANG; IT HAS A RATHER SIMPLE FORM
– break or pause or stop in a line of poetry signified by punctuation. In poetry, there is a stop only when you see punctuation not when you move to the next line.
– talking around (a subject) without directly referring to it;
How do we get to know a character?
Analyzing a character is a difficult task because characters, like real people, can be very complex, constantly changing and ambiguous.
• Through Direct Presentation
The author tells us directly what a character is like or he has another character in the story introduce the character. This is much like our meeting a new person at a party and listening to a bit of background information a common friend gives us on the person in order to make us feel more comfortable starting a discussion.
• Thorough Indirect Presentation
The author shows what a character is like through his/her actions. If a heroine is supposed to be vane, the author may show the lady constantly admiring herself in mirrors and glass windows as she goes through her day.
This method is most important in a story because action keeps the story moving and so, for a story to be a good one, the characters must be DRAMATIZED – seen in action.
Three principles of characterization
Characters must act in a CONSISTENT manner; characters must have reasons for acting in a certain way, so they need to be MOTIVATED by something and characters need to be believable; thus PLAUSIBLE, otherwise the readers will not “buy the act” of a character.
FLAT OR ROUND – This is the question!
- Flat Characters (some: Stock Characters) are undeveloped characters because they only have one or two traits: the possessive wife, the evil servant, etc. Still, these characters are very important because they play supportive roles for the main character(s)
- Flat characters must remain flat in order for the main character to grab the attention of the readers and shine in the story
- Round Characters are well-developed and are very human-like in their behavior. They have many and often contradictory traits and feelings; these are the hardest to analyze.
All characters are either STATIC or DYNAMIC
STATIC characters do not change at all (or very little) in the story; they remain the same throughout.
DYNAMIC characters (which are often the main characters) undergo some or a lot of change throughout the story, especially if something important happens in their lives. Change is possible when a character has sufficient time to change, has enough motivation (reason) to change and can change because his/her personality allows it.
Protagonist / Antagonist
Protagonist: the main character in a story
Antagonist: a character in a story or play who opposes the chief character, or protagonist.
Hero / Antihero
A hero is a character with great qualities; an antihero can be either a negative character or just a very common character.
The decisive point in a story or play when the problem must be resolved in one way or another. Sometimes a character may simply resolve a problem in his or her mind. At times there is no resolution of the plot; the climax then comes when a character realizes that a resolution is impossible.
***Climax is also seen as the point of utter suspense – the most exciting / terrifying / happy moment in a story
The struggle between two opposing forces. The four basic kinds of conflict are:
(1) a person against another person:
Lord of the Flies: Jack vs. Ralph or Piggy vs. Roger
(2) a person against nature;
(the boys on the island vs. the fire in Lord of the Flies)
(3) a person against society
(Harry Potter cannot fit into the human society)
(4) two elements within a person struggling for mastery.
(Ralph struggling to remain civilized on the island, which is an uncivilized world; conflict: should I eat a chocolate or watch my diet?)
More than one kind of conflict can be, and often is, present in a work.
DENOTATION & CONNOTATION
Denotation – the main, dictionary meaning of a word
Dove – a flying bird
Connotation - the emotional associations surrounding a word or phrase, as opposed to its literal meaning or denotation.
Dove – peace, purity; whiteness
The resolution of the plot. The word is derived from a French word meaning literally "the untying."
The climax and the denouement may come very close together, or, in a novel, several chapters may intervene.
The moment when things are solved somehow: Example: In Lord of the Flies, when Ralph sees the officer on the beach, the readers know Ralph will live and the savage life of the children is over, at least for the moment.
IMPERSONAL WORD PAINTING THAT DESCRIBES SOMETHING; CREATES AN IMAGE WITH WORDS
A POEM IN THE SHAPE OF A DIAMOND
Dramatic monologue is (simply put) talking to yourself (or to a being that does not answer). In plays, character often talk out loud (to themselves or to inanimate things) but for the benefit of the audience in particular.
A POEM CAN BE IN THE FORM OF A DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE - THE SPEAKER IN THE POEM SPEAKS TO HIMSELF (OUT-LOUD) OR TO SOMEONE WHO REMAINS UNKNOWN/HIDDEN
AN ELEGY IS A POEM THAT MOURNS THE DEATH OF SOMEONE
AN EPIC IS A VERY LONG STORY (IN POEM FORM) OF A HERO AND HIS DEEDS
• A brief, often humorous narrative, told to illustrate a moral lesson.
• The “characters” in a fable are most often animals, imaginary beings, supernatural forces or forces of nature.
Here's a well known fable:
The Appointment in Samarra (by W. Somerset Maugham)
"Death speaks: There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, “Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw that it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture; now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.” The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, “Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?” That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for a I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra."
What is the moral?
Fables don’t drag out the story; they get right to the point as everything written in the fable leads to the conclusion or the moral.
What is the moral of this fable?
You can't avoid your fate no matter how hard you run.
(Other) Examples of morals:
Be happy with what you have
Don’t desire what you cannot get
Slow and steady wins the race
Who wakes up early gets far by noon
Persuasion is more effective than force
You can catch more bees with honey
Interruption of the narrative to show an episode that happened before that particular point in the story.
Example: in the middle of a story told chronologically, one character takes the time to remember something that happened in the past
A hint given to the reader of what is to come
Example: If a character says something like: I don’t have a good feeling about this; something bad will happen and then, something bad really happens, we say the words of the character were a foreshadowing
A form or type of literary work. For example, the novel, the short story, and the poem are all genres. The term is a very loose one, however, so that subheadings under these would themselves also be called genres, for instance, horror and humor.
A figure of speech involving great exaggeration. The effect may be satiric, sentimental, or comic. American folklore abounds with hyperbole, such as the story about the man who was so stingy that he stood on one foot at a time to avoid wearing out his shoes.
Example: I am so hungry, I could eat a horse.
(otherwise redundant) a figure of speech in which two nouns or adjectives (synonyms) are joined by “and” to strengthen an idea: “My soul is filled with remorse and regret” / “I am handsome and good-looking”
The sensory details that provide vividness in a literary work and tend to arouse emotions or feelings in a reader which abstract language does not.
In poetry (and in novel sometimes) a vivid description that paints a “word picture.” The imagery can visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, kinetic (suggesting movement).
The booming roar of the guns…. (loud noise; auditory image)
The blood ran in rivers redder than the sun. (visual)
The term used to describe a contrast between what appears to be and what really is.
Example: if a character thinks he is marrying a really nice girl but the audience knows that this girl is just pretending to be nice to get married and then she will unleash her mean self; that is ironic.
IN MEDIA RES
– in the middle of things; speeches that begun before the audience joins in – gives the audience the feeling that they just dropped in the middle of a conversation
A SHORT, HUMOROUS POEM
A LYRIC POEM IS A SUBJECTIVE, REFLECTIVE POEM.
AS THE NAME SUGGESTS, A NARRATIVE POEM TELLS A STORY
AS YOU READ A NARRATIVE POEM, THINK: HOW DOES THIS TELL A STORY?
METAPHOR AND SIMILE
METAPHORS ARE COMPARISONS, USUALLY BETWEEN TWO UNLIKELY THINGS, WITHOUT THE USE OF WORDS SUCH AS “LIKE” OR “AS.” METAPHORS ARE VERY COMMONLY USED, ESPECIALLY IN POETRY TO ADD MEANING AND DEPTH TO PHRASES AND IDEAS. METAPHORS CAN RANGE FROM SIMPLE ONES THAT ARE HARDLY CONSIDERED METAPHORS – “THE ARM’S CHAIR” – TO THE MOST COMPLEX ONES, SUCH AS THE ONE SEEN IN “HOPE IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS” BY EMILY DICKINSON. HERE, DICKINSON TALKS ABOUT A FLUTTERY FEELING THAT INHABITS THE SOUL OF EVERY HUMAN, A LITTLE BIRD SHE CALLS IT, THAT HELPS PEOPLE GO THROUGH THE MOST DIFFICULT PERIODS IN LIFE AND THIS THING IS HOPE.
HERE ARE SOME METAPHORS:
1. MY LOVE IS A RED, RED ROSE – MY LOVE IS INTENSE AND PASSIONATE AND CAN ONLY BE DESCRIBED AS A RED ROSE
2. THE LONG ARM OF THE LAW – MEANING THAT LAW IS VERY POWERFUL AND ITS “ARM” WILL EVENTUALLY CATCH ALL THE EVIL DOERS.
3. THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE – THE IDEA THAT TELLING THE TRUTH MIGHT HELP EASE ONE’S CONSCIENCE
4. ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR – EVERY ACTION IS JUSTIFIABLE IN ISSUES SUCH AS LOVE AFFAIRS AND CONFLICTS
5. BEAUTY IS SEASONAL – THE IDEA THAT BEAUTY IS OFTEN COMPARED WITH SEASONAL CHANGES BECAUSE IT IS VERY EPHEMERAL
6. ONE’S WINTER / ONE’S SPRING – THE IDEA THAT OLD AGE IS COMPARED WITH WINTER, WHILE YOUNG AGE IS COMPARED WITH SPRING
CONTEMPORARY POETRY IS DIFFERENT FROM CLASSICAL POETRY. IT DOESN’T HAVE RULES AND CATEGORIES SO IT MAY BORROW SOME IDEAS FROM CLASSICS. THERE IS MUCH MORE FOCUS ON SOUND AND VISUAL ASPECTS.
AN ODE IS A POEM THAT PRAISES SOMEONE OR SOMETHING
• Similar to the fable, also a brief narrative that teaches a moral, but, unlike the fable, it has a plausible plot (more developed plot) and the main characters are human rather than animal or innate.
• Parables are more mysterious and suggestive; the moral is implicit rather than explicit
“PERSONA” IS THE VOICE THAT SPEAKS TO THE READER FROM A POEM. ALTHOUGH MANY TIMES POEMS ARE WRITTEN IN FIRST PERSON POINT OF VIEW, IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO CONFUSE PERSONA WITH THE AUTHOR OF THE POEM, SINCE MANY AUTHORS MAY NOT WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE PERSONAS THEY HAVE CREATED. ALSO, MANY AUTHORS WRITE POEMS FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF ANOTHER HUMAN BEING OR EVEN FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF AN INNATE BEING OR AN ANIMAL. A VERY GOOD EXAMPLE OF THIS IS THE POEM “MIRROR,” IN WHICH THE PERSONA OF THE POEM IS AN ACTUAL MIRROR, HANGING ON THE WALL OF A WOMAN’S HOUSE. STILL, AUTHORS DO PROBABLY HAVE A CONNECTION WITH THE PERSONA IN THEIR POEMS, IN THE CASE OF “MIRROR,” THE AUTHOR IS PROBABLY VERY SIMILAR IN VIEWS NOT ONLY WITH THE MIRROR ITSELF BUT ALSO WITH THE WOMAN IN WHOSE HOUSE THE MIRROR IS FOUND.
Simply put, the storyline: the events in the story.
***But, you must remember that the author always arranges the events in a plot “artistically;” which means that the author intends the plot to be organized in such a way as to say the story in the best way possible.
The Elements of Plot
Usually, a story begins with an opening portion that sets the scene, introduces the main characters, tells us (or gives us clues as to) what happened before the story opened; provides any background information the readers may need to understand the events of the story. This is the exposition.
Refers to any clash of wills, desires or powers present in a story. There are four types of conflict
Character vs. Character (one character fights against another character – protagonist vs. antagonist)
Example: Ralph vs. Jack in “Lord of the Flies”
Character against Society (one character is in conflict with the society he or she lives in; the character feels isolated or mistreated by the society as a whole)
Example: Holden Caulfield in “The Catcher in the Rye”
Character against some Natural Forces (or a Supernatural Entity like God) (a character often has to fight against natural forces such as fire, storms, extreme cold, etc.)
Example: In “Lord of the Flies,” the boys left on the island must constantly fight against natural forces such as the forest fire
Character vs. Itself (Inner Conflict) – Inner conflict occurs when a character can’t decide on which position to take or when a character is torn between conflicting wishes
Example: “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” is the greatest example of a “split personality” story
Example: If you can’t decide whether to eat the chocolate or stick to your diet, you are experiencing inner conflict
PROTAGONIST vs. ANTAGONIST
Protagonist – a better term than “hero” because sometimes the central character in a story is not a hero but a villain / antihero
Antagonist – the character who opposes the protagonist
The representation of abstractions, ideas, animals, or inanimate objects as human beings by endowing them with human qualities. (See figurative language.)
Example: The forest trembled with fear of the incoming storm.
POINT OF VIEW
The relationship assumed between the teller of a story and the characters in it. The teller, or narrator, may be a character, in which case the story is told from the first-person point of view.
Example: I went to school yesterday and guess what happened to me…
A writer who describes, in the third person, both the thoughts and actions of one or all of the characters is said to use the omniscient point of view.
Example: He went to school yesterday and all he could think of was his math homework. His teacher was not thinking about the homework at all …
A writer who confines himself, in the third person, to describing thoughts and actions of a single character is sometimes said to use the limited point of view. (3rd person again)
Example: The boy did not know what people around him were thinking about his actions.
An author who describes only what can be seen, like a newspaper reporter, is said to use the dramatic (or objective) point of view. In this case, the narrator may be a minor character in the story, who plays the roles of eyewitness and confidant.
Example: The boy walked to school looking troubled.
Examining Rhyme: Sample Poems (see)
“THE HIPPOPOTAMUS” – HILAIRE BELLOC
“LEDA AND THE SWAN” – WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
“GOD’S GRANDEUR” – GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS
“DESERT PLACES” – ROBERT FROST
Examining Rhythm: Sample Poems (see)
“BREAK, BREAK, BREAK” – TENNYSON
“RESUME” – D. PARKER
The technique that employs wit to ridicule a subject, usually some social institution or human foible, with the intention of inspiring reform.
Example: It is well known that all children who graduate high school are educated so highly that they can easily get a job at McDonald’s.
The time (both time of day or season, and period in history) and place in which the action of a narrative occurs.
Example: It was a rainy winter and the London eastside was muddier than ever.
SYMBOLS AND SYMBOLISM
IN ORDER TO FULLY UNDERSTAND A POEM, WE MUST UNDERSTAND ITS FIGURATIVE MEANING. SYMBOLS IN A POEM REPRESENT SOMETHING MUCH BIGGER THAN THE WORDS THEMSELVES; THEY ARE IMAGES THAT HELP THE READER GET AN IDEA IN THEIR MINDS.
BY USING SYMBOLISM AND IMAGERY, A POEM SHOWS (NOT TELLS) A LOT MORE THAN WHAT IT DENOTES UPON THE FIRST READING.
SYMBOLS ARE POWERFUL COMPONENTS OF POEMS. IN THIS SECTION WE WILL BE EXAMINING THE WAY THAT POETS USE SYMBOLS IN THEIR POEMS TO HELP CONVEY MESSAGES AND FEELINGS TOWARDS THE READER.
SYMBOLS ARE DEFINED AS "THE USE OF A CONCRETE OBJECT TO REPRESENT AN ABSTRACT IDEA OR CONCEPT. MANY SYMBOLS HAVE BECOME SO MUCH A PART OF OUT CULTURAL TRADITIONS THAT THEY ARE IMMEDIATELY IDENTIFIABLE." (POETRY ALIVE, P. 226) EXAMPLES OF THESE INCLUDE:
RED ROSE LOVE
A DOVE PEACE
BLACK CAT BAD LUCK
RABBIT'S FOOT GOOD LUCK
A HIGHLY STRUCTURED (14 LINES) POEM WRITTEN IN IAMBIC PENTAMETER, WHICH EXPRESSES A SINGLE THOUGHT, IDEA OR DESIRE
THE ENGLISH (SHAKESPEAREAN) SONNET IS FORMED OF 3 QUATRAINS (3 STANZAS OF 4 LINES EACH) AND A CONCLUDING COUPLET (A 2-LINE STANZA). THE FIRST THREE QUATRAINS USUALLY PRESENT OR EXAMINE A PROBLEM FROM DIFFERENT ASPECTS AND THE FINAL TWO LINES PROVIDE A SORT OF CONCLUSION (OR A THOUGHT-TWIST).
TYPICAL RHYME SCHEME OF A SONNET:
ABAB / CDCD / EFEF / GG
• A story, usually short, that sets forth strange and wonderful events. A tale focuses on the events themselves; not on character development, setting or descriptions (although there may be some of these in the tale). Tales have been passed down (orally) from generation to generation so the details are kept minimal in order for the tale to be easily memorable.
• Types of Tales
– Tall Tale
• Variety of folk story that recounts the deeds of a superhero or of the storyteller himself/herself.
– Fairy Tale
• Is a story set in a world of magic and enchantment. Sometimes it is the work of a modern author but many of them originate in the Middle Ages and were collected and adapted by writers such as the Brothers Grimm. (“Fairy” doesn’t necessarily imply the presence of “fairies”)
Examples of Tales:
• Hansel and Gretel
• Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
• Tom Thumb
• Little Red Riding Hood
The main idea or underlying meaning of a literary work. A theme may be directly stated but more often is implied. All works have a theme. This is different than the subject of a particular work e.g.,
The subject of a work could be "racism."
The theme could be "despite all the efforts to educate people about different cultures, racism is still a growing problem."
Example: Lord of the Flies: people are naturally evil and, without rules and order, they would turn savage just like the children did
– play in which there is a terrible ending; a fatal conclusion – at least one person needs to be dead or hurt. In a tragedy, the main character usually dies or suffers a terrible fate usually because he/she has a terrible flaw of character.
TYPES OF WRITING
DESCRIPTIVE WRITING (Simply put, descriptive writing paints a picture with words. See some examples below)
Write a pen portrait of some well-known historical figure, movie actor or actress, or comic figure from the cartoons, but do not give the name of that person.
She is by far my favorite actress. I don’t know what I find most attractive about her because she has such magnificent features that I cannot pick a favorite. She has large, almond-shaped, green-blue eyes that are very penetrating; it seems they look directly into your soul. Every time she is on the big screen, those eyes seem to be piercing through and keep you completely hooked. She has full, amazing lips that seem to be constantly twisted into a sensual smile, but it is the combination between her mouth-smile and eye-smile that brings the audience to their knees. She has long, wavy hair and a lean, athletic body. She always knows how to dress to impress; she favors long, classy, black dresses that accentuate her figure. She loves children and has many of them, some of her own and some adopted. She is very culturally-aware and respects other cultures and appreciates that every culture has something special and unique. She is involved in many charities and projects around the world. She uses a lot of her money to help those people who really need help.
It’s not just that she is beautiful, has an amazing body and grace but it is the way she commands the room when she is in it. She can easily go from playing the action-woman hero to playing a worried wife searching for her kidnapped husband. It is the combination between her charm, beauty and talent that make her a true icon and one of the most desirable woman in the world today. By all means, she is today’s Mona Lisa. (Angelina Jolie)
Trees in a storm
The storm has caught the magnolia trees by surprise. The slender trunks are being shaken violently by the raging wind. The magnolia trees are slim, easy to bend but they resist heroically to each violent gust. The branches are flailing around like the arms of a madman as the wind continues to whip the trees. The lightning strikes and the branches throw ghostly shadows against the dark grey sky. Soon drops of rain start falling and the leaves look oppressed by the heavy drops. The trees seem to cower under the booming of the thunder. The leaves shiver, shake, the white flowers quiver in the wind. Finally, as the wind intensifies some of the flowers are defeated and land on the ground like fallen, white and pink warriors.
A pair of peacocks
At the zoo, a pair of peacocks is casually walking among the visitors. One of them has its tail fanned out and the other, more humble, walks alongside it like a submissive companion. Both birds are lean, slender looking and their stride seems confident, arrogant even. The tail of a peacock is one of the most beautiful things one can observe in nature. The green of the plumes reminds of the deep, turquoise waves of a summer lake. The green seems streaked with highlights of silky smoothness that gleams in the light. The two birds create a fascinating duo as they are moving together along the path. They both display long, thin, elegant necks of a dark, intensely blue color, light-blue covered heads and white beaks. Their intelligent, proud eyes seem to tell the viewer that these birds are aware of their superiority in the bird world. When one of the peacocks fans its tail, thousands of “eyes” of a light and dark blue appear suspended on beautiful dark-green plumes. At the base of the tail, the birds have a cocoon of emerald-green rings from which the plumes seem to be stemming in the air. What a magnificent sight!
Even before I stepped inside, the restaurant made a great impression on me. Outside, framing the door, in two imposing brown planters there are two lemon trees that give out an enticing, citrus smell. The place is small but it has great personality and atmosphere. All the tables are dressed in dark red and white tablecloths and the chairs resemble antique, European furniture. The dance floor is abandoned for now but there is music in the background which mixes beautifully with the constant clinking of silverware, the muffled conversations and laughter. There is something very soothing about a full restaurant, with its cozy atmosphere, the rushed movements of the servers and the enticing smells coming from the kitchen. And boy, the smell is unbelievable. A combination of spices, well-done meat and hints of sweet deserts are tantalizing the nose and make your mouth simply water. Dinner is served!
The Sunday service always seems to draw a colorful crowd. I can always pick out the truly pious from those who come to church out of obligation. The pious are usually the older people, the ladies with the flowered hats who look enraptured by the preacher’s words and those people who look like they have just suffered a great tragedy. The older ladies usually sit close to the front looking ready to absorb the preacher’s every word and they nod a lot when the preacher says something they find particularly enlightening. Then, there are the “sinners,” or those who perceive themselves as really guilty in the eyes of God and mankind. Those people sit with their heads down as if they are aware of the fact God is seeing them and judging their every move. The teenagers and the younger children usually look uncomfortable on the wooden benches, trying to stay still out of respect for their parents. The faces that always attract my attention are those of the people who look like they just suffered a major tragedy in their life or who look and are sick. Those people’s expressions usually range from angry to resigned and it is those expressions that truly break my heart.
A farmers' market
Every Sunday, after church, I stop by the farmer’s market to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables. I know many people have the same routine because the majority of people I see at the market are too dressed up to be just out shopping. What I find most amusing is watching the younger children shop along their mothers. The mothers usually have lists and shop in a very organized manner while the children are running around sizing each other up, smiling, giggling and making disgusted faces when they look at vegetables they hate, such as broccoli. No matter when you go to a farmer’s market, you can look around and find the “fruit and vegetable expert.” This is usually an older person who walks around treating the produce as if they are part of some perfectly scientific experiment: they knock on watermelons, smell the apples, oranges, tomatoes, weigh the peaches, etc. But, most people are like me: get in and get out as quickly as possible. They make up their minds fast, pick up fruits randomly and hurry up to the cashier. I agree with this system, after all, grocery shopping is supposed to be a chore not a pastime.
DESCRIBING AN ABSTRACT IDEA
They say nothing else matters if you have it in your life: the things you want just come to you, arranged like pieces of a complex puzzle to form a big happy picture. Your teachers love you and your schoolmates look up to you for no particular reason. The best candidate for the job for which you just applied gets the flu, and you get the job instead. The prettiest girl smiles at you from across the street, marries you shortly after. You even win the lottery. You only need a drop of it at the right moment, in the right place, and your whole life smells like success and your every step lands on a bed of roses.
Nobody knows exactly where it comes from. Fairy-tales say that if your fairy godmother bestows it on you at birth, you are set for life. The Romans prayed to the goddess Fortuna to smile on them and protect them from the anxieties of bad choices. The Chinese swear by number 8, and phone numbers and addresses containing this auspicious number are coveted by those hoping for wealth and prosperity. In the western culture, many rabbits had to sacrifice their legs, because people wore them as charms to help them win poker games or find gold. But the western culture has produced the most puzzling idea of all: wishing an actor or a dancer to break a leg is supposed to convey just the opposite and to help them deliver a stunning performance. All these random, bizarre concepts embody how desperate people are to lay their hands on it: some organize their whole lives around it. They would not take a step under a ladder, open an umbrella inside, and would take extreme care when handling mirrors. It is those who think it does not exist, however, who have the best lives: they think they can make their own, by using strength of character and perseverance to get what they want and live accomplished lives.