Humanities (Abridged)

Humanities Study Guide inferences about the text. A suitable method for determining the theme is to ask yourself to summarize the writing in a single word or phrase after reading. Then stretch that word into a statement to determine the message that the author was trying to convey. Poetry When we analyze poetry, we are looking at how the poet arranged the poem on the paper. We consider how many stanzas are present, the punctuation, and the breaks in the lines. The diction is the word choice that the author makes. The informal or formal phrases and words can change the tone, characterization, and theme of the poem. Sonic devices are resources used by writers to convey and reinforce the meaning or experience of their writing through the skillful use of sound. These are especially important for poets. After all, poets are trying to use a concentrated blend of sound and imagery to evoke an emotional response. Understanding sonic devices is crucial both for analysis and for one's writing. One sonic device is alliteration , which uses a stream of words that all start with the same first phoneme. For example, "someone sang a song" uses alliteration since four of the words begin with the same "s" sound. The use of alliteration can suggest a humorous or even a threatening tone. These sentences are typically interrupted by required words used to clarify the meaning, like "and," "for," and "to." Assonance is the repetition of a similar set of vowel sounds, typically used to emphasize intensity, mood, and imagery. Examples of assonance include "go and mow the lawn" or "here and there and everywhere." A cacophony is defined as a harsh mixture of sounds. In poetry, a cacophony is the use of words with harsh consonants, usually at the beginning of a word. A poet might use cacophony to set a mood of negativity and unhappiness. An onomatopoeia is a word that attempts to emulate a sound such as bang, zoom, crash, and smack. Poets use onomatopoeias to make their writing enjoyable and to provide variety in their poems. A combination of all these elements can determine the heart and intention of a work of literature. We have now looked at a variety of essential terms across all the humanities. With this understanding of the foundations of literature and humanities, we can build upwards and explore each art form throughout history. In the next part of this book, we will look at each humanity in more detail and learn about specific works of art throughout time.

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