36 terms

English - Unit 2: Understanding the Human Condition

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Terms in this set (...)

The Human Condition
"the characteristics, key events, and situations which compose the essentials of human existence, such as birth, growth, emotionally, aspiration, conflict, and mortality."
Cultural Universals
- Experiences people of all cultures have regardless of time or place.
- (In other words, things that make people of all backgrounds part of the human race)
Life in a Day
1. Emotions
2. Challenges
3. Aspirations
4. Relationships
5. Experiences
Adversity
- Challanges, hardship, difficulty, misfortune
- Adversity is, and always has been, a culturally universal fact of life, but how individuals respond to adveristy is one of the most defining aspects of an individual's character
Resilient
the ability to become strong, healthy, or succesful again after something bad happens
Cultural Conflict
- "differences in cultural values and beliefs place people at odds with one another"
- "when people's expectations of a certain behavior coming from their cultural backgrounds are not met, as others have different cultural backgrounds and different expectations."
Setting
Time: late 1800's - early 1900's
Place: Nigeria, Africa
9 villages of Umofia (all Ibo)
- Mbanta, Mbaino, Abame
Social Context: Colonialism and introduction of
Christianity to the Ibo tribe at the turn of the 20th Century
Ibo Tribe (Igbo)
Villages in Ibo Tribe: Umotia, Mbanta, Mbaino
Nigeria Today (book written 1959)
- Most populous African country
- 250 ethnic group
- 521 languages
- Religion: 48% Christian and 50% Muslim
Third Person Omniscient POV
the narrator describes the thoughts and feelings of multiple characters (Okonkwo, Nwoye, Ikemefuna, Ekwefi, Obierka, etc.)
Allusion
a reference to a person, place, thing or idea of historical, cultural, literary or political significance
Ambiguity
uncertainty or vagueness; subject to more than one interpretation
Foreshadowing
hints at coming events; builds suspense, interest, or anxiety in the reader
Flashback
the author describes an event from the past
Diction
author's choice of words
Allegory
a story in which an aspect of the story has a symbolic meaning outside the tale itself. *Okonkwo's personal story is an allegory for what happened to the Ibo culture.
Verbal Irony
a person says or writes one thing and means another
Situational Irony
what actually happens differs from what might be expected to happen in a way that seems absurd or laughable
Dramatic Irony
when we as the audience know things the characters do not
Tradition
a long - established action or pattern of behavior in a group of people, often handed down generation to generation
Ritual
tradition connected to religion
Polygamy
multiple wives
Polytheism
multiple Gods
Oracle
a place through which the Gods speak (message interpreted by priest or priestess)
Taboo
something socially unacceptable
Characters
Okonkwo: protagonist
Unoka: Okonkwo's father
Ikemefuna: Okonkwo's "adopted" son
Nwoye: Okonkwo's son
New Characters in Chapters 4-6
Ekwefi: Okonkwo's second wife
Ezinma: Ekwefi's only daughter/child
Chielo: Priestess of Agbala (Oracle of the Hills and Caves
Obierka: Okonkwo's best friend
Mr. Brown
...
Mr. Smith
...
District Commissioner
...
Fables (the Oral Tradition)
- Often contain animal characters
- Short with a very clear moral/lesson
- Often explain natural phenomenon
Proverbs (the Oral Tradition)
short sayings that convey a lesson or truth about life
- "When a man says yes, his chi says yes also."
- "A man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his own greatness."
- "If one finger brought oil it soiled the others."
Tragic Hero
has the potential for greatness, but is doomed to fail. He is trapped in a situation where he cannot win. He makes some sort of tragic error in judgement and this causes his fall from greatness. Even though he is a fallen hero, he still wins a moral victory and his spirit lives on.
Tragic heroes are:
- Born into nobility or attain it in some other way
- Responsible for their own fate
- Endowed with a tragic flow
- Doomed to make a serious error in judgement
- By an unfortunate chain of events, for which they are not wholly to blame, this mistake leads to a catastrophe
Eventually, tragic heroes...
- Fall from great honor (public esteem or self esteem)
- Realize they have made an irreversible mistake (called an EPIPHANY)
- Face and accept death with honor
- Meet a tragic death
For all tragic heroes
- The audience is affected by pity and/or fear
- Pity based on the understanding of how easy it is to make a mistake
- Fear based on realizing how easily our lives would come apart if we were tested
Why do we need tragedy?
- It is an account of how good people can end up in disastrous situations
- According to the ancient Greeks, who invented tragedy, you could be good and still fail. This was in the hands of fate.
- Tragedy is a corrective to easy judgement and counters our tendency to moralize.
- Without tragedy the world is far crueler and more judgmental.
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