For example, one major difference is that both poetry and drama frequently place a strong emphasis on performance before an audience that is physically present, while the short story is more commonly intended for individual reading.
With that said, it is important to remember that all literary works cannot always be easily classified into a single genre. Moreover, literary works which might be classified as belonging to one genre might possess many qualities more typical of other genres. For example, Shakespeare’s Macbeth is classified as drama, but in many respects takes the form of poetry. In other words, sometimes the differences between categories like drama, poetry, and the short story are not so easily defined. Often a short story might contain poetic or dramatic qualities, or a poem might include narrative and dramatic features.
In your post, summarize the major similarities and differences between the forms of drama, poetry, and the short story. Demonstrate your ideas with textual examples from the course readings. In your response, include at least one example of each literary form. If you wish, you may also point to examples which indicate the blurring of literary genres (e.g., the poetic qualities of Macbeth or the dramatic elements of Gift of the Magi).
one response i had previously submitted towards different literary terms (between short story & poem) –
In reflecting on this week’s literary readings and my own personal reading experiences, I can say that one major similarity between the forms of a short story and a poem is the “tone” and one major differences is the “rhyming” between the two literary works.
In their art, poets purposely arrange word sounds and visual images to create physical force; dramatists choose unique clothing and stage set features to establish a captivating perspective; every writer develops a mood or tone designed to fire up feelings (2010, p. 54). I believe that within a short story and poem “tones” are markers that help readers identify with the intent of the author/poet. Whether we are drawn to the literary works of Preludes: I by T. S. Eliot (1910), which draws out the tone of “dreariness and bleakness – [in his descriptiveness with a] winter evening as “the burnt-out ends of smoky days” (comparing them to a cigarette butt) becomes bleakness when he adds the image of “grimy scraps of withered leaves” being blown by the wind. Then, when you encoun¬ter the image of newspapers—normally sources of communication—being blown through vacant lots, you feel total alienation (Clugston, 2010, p. 236). Or that of The Kiss by Julia Alvarez (1991), a relationship between a father and daughter that was tainted by her defiant ways. Sofia, “the other great power in the house,” besides Papi, “tidily – as if she had all the time in the world – buttoned and folded all the clothes, packed all her bags, and left the house forever” (Clugston, 2010 204). Despite her attempts to repent from her past actions, it was clear that her father was still holding a grudge for all her past acts. When the daughter’s baby girl was born, his wife put her foot down. Let him carry his grudge to the grave, she was going out to Michigan…” (Clugston, 2010, p. 205).
Whereas, “rhyming” in my opinion, is mostly seen in poetry rather than in short stories of all genres. A rhyming pattern creates a sense of expectancy as you read; you find yourself anticipating the completion of a unit of thought as you approach each end rhyme. An example given of this was taken from the poem “An Essay on Criticism” by Alexander Pope, we see that the last words in lines 1 and 2 (thing/spring) and lines 3 and 4 (brain/again) have the same rhyming patterns. Poetry is driven to evoke its reader’s emotions and senses to experiencing familiar and unfamiliar territory. Poets can be inspired by their environment and/or personal experiences throughout their lives. Their usage of rhyming is just one of the elements used in creating an emotional connection with their readers. Since we learned that developing rhyming within a poem is done so by incorporating various techniques and not limited to alliteration (Repetition of initial identical consonants: (Showers) beat on broken blinds), assonance (A vowel sound repeated in nearby words that have dissimilar consonants), and onomatopoeia (A word whose sound suggests its meaning or sense—for example sizzle, meow) (Clugston, 2010 p. 248).
In short, I would like to also add that the “length & Style” between that of a short story and poem is quite significant. For example, a short story is in my opinion a mere reflection of a novel but instead with less pages. As oppose to poems that are comprised of four to five lines in each stanzas, which can be five to six in length or more. You won’t have to see yourself turning pages when reading poetry or maybe so. I personally feel that poetry is an intimate look into everyday life’s experiences that can be relatable to us all. The key is finding the poem that connects to you with in an imaginative and realistic form.
another response towards the performance aspects of listen to a poem and/or reading
Adam Roberts bring to mind, and yet, as a teacher and poet, I often find myself strangely identifying with their answer. Yeah, poetry sucks! It’s confusing, it’s pretentious, it’s precious, it’s frivolous and disconnected and has nothing to do with my life. Right on (Roberts, 2010). I would say that there is a poem out there for everyone to connect to and enjoy.
In listening to an audio selection of a poem of interests, you are given a brief insight into the meaning and depth of the poem by the writer. It’s that very bit of information to which it draws our attention and understanding to what inspired the writer in the first place. When language is spoken, rhythm is expressed through the human voice. In this process, some words, or part of words (syllables), are stressed (emphasized) and some are unstressed (Clugston, 2010 p. 220). I believe that it becomes much more intimate and enlightening for us all. With that being said, although each of the poems I listen to were rhythmically done and created aphorisms as well, there were four poems that captured my attention.
First, You, Reader by Billy Collins (2004) – he shares the relationship between his readers and himself. Secondly, Roethke, T. (1950s). My papa’s waltz by Theodore Roethke, (1950s) here there was no intro –nonetheless his tone and pause was appealing. Thirdly, the Boy at the Window by Richard Wilbur (1952) – where he shares his son’s sentiments towards the snowman they had just finished making one afternoon in December. And Lastly Home to Roost by Kay Ryan (2005) – a personal poem that resonates the decisions in her life and for some which were not so great. Her facial expression clearly reiterates her conviction behind each word and lines spoken. Her deliverance was exceptional. I have to say that I enjoyed this one far more than the rest.
Whereas, the others in my opinion fell short in the deliverance of the poem. Each of the speakers’ voice diction was not appealing and/or hard to understand (some word pronunciation, rambling). In order for my attention to be capture the performance of the speaker needs to exhibit certain abilities, such as and not limited by all means, diction, tone and pitch are a few that comes to mind. It is a demonstration of harmonies, in all sorts of ways. More than that, even, the sound of a poem can actually become its meaning, as our ear supplies us with insights and feelings that our other senses might miss (Poetry, 2005-2010 para. 4).
As we know, we each have our own distinct voice, so much so that some voices just exasperates us and we tune them out. The same applies for me in listening to poetry (maybe it comes across weak-not intentional) for instance, poems that in my humble opinion fell short in their deliverance – The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, which honestly was inert to say the least. I would say the same regarding Gwendolyn Brook’s (1960/1987) rendition of her poem entitled: The Pool Players, despite the fact that Brooks was able to read it with pause and affliction, wouldn’t have been enough to continue listening if the poem was 4 to 5 stanzas long. Lastly, “What Do Women Want?” by Kim Addonizio (2007), the sound of her voice (as vague as that sounds, it didn’t have enough emphasized behind each lines) detracted me from appreciating the meaning of her poem. For the selected aforementioned poems, I took away a broader appreciation of the intent of the poems by reading them instead– whether it was “reflecting on a path not chosen and the what if’s,” “kids playing during school-time,” and “a woman who is self-proclaiming her identity, regardless of the critics.”
In short, my belief is that the enjoyment of reading and/or listening to a poem is an individual’s preferences. I for one can enjoy either of the two and even doing both. One thing I would add is that when I read a poem, my mindset gets engulf with the word usage, descriptiveness of the poem – so much so that my imagination begins to run rampant. It allows me to envision the scene in my head (an empty canvas waiting to be filled with color). As oppose to when I listen to an audio version, here I rely on my auditory senses (with partial hearing loss) to heighten my emotions and imagination, which can become hindered if the speaker does not command proper diction, tone and pitch. My imagination may not be so vivid as if I were reading it, even if I had to re-read it over and over again. And, to those with no limitations, it gives another way for readers to connect with the poem. Moreover, your mind and senses will be evoked by each words and/or lines as it flows out – transforming meanings simply by the speaker’s voice (animated/alive), your imagination is created by every breath, gasp, sigh, tone. I think it’s safe to say that the sounds we hear and internalize, will render individuals illumination to any given poem along. How about hearing a poem in person – just another experience that can rendered heighten insight. An excerpt taken from an essay written by Robert Frost (1916) entitled: “On the Figurea Poem Makes” he pointed out that “the object in writing poetry is to make all poems sound as different as possible from each other . . . sound is the gold in the ore.”
In essence, I was able to appreciate both forms with the minor exceptions mentioned earlier. As with anything in life, there are always those who will find reasons of appeal or not. But, in the end, it goes back to our own likings. Everyone using the Poetry Archive will discover their own favourite voices, and their own pleasures in matching sound-meaning with word-meaning (Poetry, 2005-2010 para. 4).
this is my interpretation towards MacBeth
Macbeth’s (protagonist) quest for power is not a new story. In fact, it is at the heart of human nature to desire more than one has in life. It is this green eyed monster that fuels one’s desire to attain more power and wealth, sometimes at all costs. The audience is able to look beyond this individual’s overt behavior and identify internal motivations and psychological conditions that cause particular actions and decisions. This level of insight engages not just audience members’ interest but their empathy as well (Clugston, 2010 p. 331). Macbeth is a tragic hero because he starts off the play as a good man, a general who has just won a key battle for King Duncan against a traitor to the country of Scotland. Even as the witches tempt him with the first set of prophecies, he is still skeptical about the veracity of their statement, stating that he would be willing to let fate and chance play its course, and decidedly did not want to do anything to make the prophecy come true.
In Macbeth’s soliloquy in Act 1, Sc. 7, his internal conflict is evident as he debates whether or not to go through with the murder of Duncan, citing several reasons why he should not: the consequences of such a deed would not be worth the risk; Duncan is at Macbeth’s palace as a guest and as such has an expectation of trust in Macbeth to protect him; Macbeth is Duncan’s kinsman and subject; Duncan has been a kind and fair ruler who has just bequeathed to Macbeth new honors as Thane of Cawdor; lastly, because Duncan is such a good king, angels would sing for him while the murderer would be cursed. As Macbeth weighed his options, the only reason he had to kill Duncan was his “vaulting ambition.” It is at Lady Macbeth’s prodding and challenging of Macbeth’s manhood that he decides to go through with the murder. Even after the murder, it is clear that Macbeth regrets killing Duncan as he is visibly shaken to the point that he forgets to plant the murder weapons on the guards and he begins hallucinating.
The theme of power corrupts is further developed as the audience sees a significant change in Macbeth’s character particularly after Act 3, he becomes nervous, paranoid, delusional, fearful and even more power hungry. He is jealous and bitter about Banquo’s prophecy that he will have a long line of kings in his lineage, and as such decides to take matters into his own hands by changing fate and hiring murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance. Macbeth’s tragic flaw of being too ambitious leads to his downfall because it is not enough that he killed Duncan to become king, his murderous deeds snowball into murdering anyone in his path including his best friend, Banquo, and Macduff’s innocent wife and child. Macbeth even remarks that “things bad begun make strong themselves by ill” (3.2.62), meaning one bad deed leads to another. At the end of the play, his false confidence that “no man born of woman shall harm Macbeth” leads to his death, as Macduff (antagonist) is born of a caesarian and is indeed the one that exacts revenge for the murders of his family and King Duncan. Macbeth probably got the fate that he deserved, however, it should be noted that he did not surrender, in fact, he went down fighting, which in some respects can be considered noble (unlike his wife who committed suicide over the guilt of taking part in Duncan’s death). Audiences abhor Macbeth’s behaviors, yet we cannot help but feel a certain admiration for him as he is wasted potential, a good man who chose the wrong path.
In short, I believe that Macbeth best fits the definition of a drama as its conflicts and characters perform the events for an audience. Because most of it is written in iambic pentameter –
I wish your hor ses swift and sure of foot
And so I do com mend you to their backs
Shakespeare used the iambic pentameter pattern, a line with ten syllables. One iamb consists of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (Clugston, 2010 p. 330). With the exception for the witches, whose lines are in rhymed couplets – Shakespeare uses two successive lines with end rhymes (a couplet) to indicate the completion of a major speech or a scene. The sound of the couplet, easily distinguishable from blank verse, is an effective signal, an easy one for the audience to recognize. Here is the couplet that ends the scene in which Macbeth gives orders for Banquo’s death:
It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul’s flight
If it find heaven, must find it out tonight.
Therefore, I believe that it fits the structured form of a poem as well when considering the aforementioned syntax.
In Shakespearean tragedy, the essence of the human spirit is communicated strongly through an awareness of the greatness and weakness of the protagonist’s character in the face of defeat (Clugston, 2010 p. 330).
intrepretation towards a drama
Drama is a literary form which is supposed to engage all the senses as they are meant to be performed onstage with lights, sounds and changing scenes to accompany the text. The added elements brought about by the live experience makes the effects of drama immediate to the audience. John Millington Synge’s “Riders to the Sea” is a tragic drama about a mother who lost her sons to the sea. Certain elements of the piece made it interesting to me.
The main character, Maurya (protagonist), is the emotional center of the play. The other characters talk about her even when she is not in the scene. In the opening, the sisters Nora and Cathleen are concerned about their mother’s reaction of their brother’s death. We feel her descent from sadness to grief as she is forced to deal with the deaths, until when she delivers the final lines, “No man at all can be living for ever, and we must be satisfied” (Synge, 2010 p. 323) we feel her resignation and surrender.
The drama uses the foreshadowing element when Maurya talks about how she gave a big price for the finest white boards” (Synge, 2010 p. 313) to make a coffin for Richard even when she has not received conclusive evidence yet of his death. This happens early in the play but it is suggestive to the listener that something bad is going to happen later on since the characters talk of coffins. This clue helps prepare the reader not just to the direction of the plot, but emotionally as well.
Finally, the sea in the plot of the drama is symbolic of nature’s power over humans. Men are helpless over the power of the sea to claim lives. Maurya declares after Barley’s death: “They’re all gone now, and there isn’t anything more the sea can do to me” (Synge, 2010 p. 321). The sea has taken all the men in her lives and proved its power over them and her. However, she feels this sense of release because with her youngest son’s death, the sea has no more power over her emotions. However, just as the sea has less meaning for her now, so does life and living.
In part, the elements of Synge’s drama hold different fascinations for different readers or audience. It has a strong main character in Maurya. It prepares the reader for the impending tragedy through foreshadowing. It also uses symbolic elements such as the sea to express its theme of the helplessness of humans over nature. The drama provides for a rich and emotional literary experience, one that I can truly enjoy. Riders to the Sea, was in my opinion filled with anguish, in relations to the emotions that impacted the mother. Being a mother of a son, I wouldn’t want to imagine ever losing my son to the sea or any way for that matter. It’s drama like this that one can’t help but say, what would I do or think? How would I feel? I have to say, I love reading literary works that can capture my attention from the beginning – middle – and ending. I enjoyed reading this piece, although it was depressing to me.
I was hoping that the above writing selection somehow be useful in comprising a comparing and contrasting of literary forms discuss throughout the weeks leading to my last week and final discussion.
If not, your input and suggestions would be of most value.
Your assistance and time is greatly appreciated.
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