Literary Analyses


#1 Slaughterhouse Five (or the Children's Crusade) by Kurt Vonnegut

1. This novel inside a novel follows the adventures of Billy Pilgrim, a man unstuck in time. BIlly can time travel and he routinely travels to the planet Tralfamadore where he is kept in a zoo like habitat for the locals to view him and his companion Montana Wildhack. Here on Earth he is a luckless optometrist-turned-soldier who meets many people (including the author of Billy's story).

2. This novel has many themes but some of them have to be disarray and the fact that war destroys and I believe it also speaks to the human condition and how we barely scratch the surface of reality and life is so very different than the way we see it, and also that life happens and there is no way to stop time from moving forward.

3. "So it goes." Possibly the best example of not just this author's tone, but mankind's tone, there is no way to stop time or change things in the past (even if we can see all events as the Rocky Mountains). The casual way the "destruction of Dresden" is mentioned really speaks to the fact that chaos and calamity happen but it's nothing to make a big deal about.

1. Repetition "So it goes." This is Vonnegut's battle cry throughout the novel and gives us insight to how he thinks we should react to terrible things in our lives
2. Rhetorical questions "Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything?" (pg. 73) This is probably the most insightful thing that an alien that holds his eyeball in his eye has ever said and it is very thought provoking.
3. Illustrations (pg. 199) Little sketches throughout the book give it more of a personal feel which is important when trying to connect to the reader.
4. Factual excerpts (pg. 202) While this has the opposite effect as the illustrations, it is still constructive because it reminds the reader that war is real, the tragedies are real and we need to be aware of that true fact.
5. Sarcasm "Oh, boy- the sure picked the wrong guy to lynch this time." (pg. 103) In the face of very real and serious issues, Vonnegut is able to make jokes and poke fun at the reality of how strange and cruel this world is.
6. Descriptive Language [when talking about the Russian] (pg. 79) Vonnegut describes his characters with immense detail and odd ways of painting pictures with words.
7. Simile/Allusion "He was like a poet in the Parthenon" (pg. 41) Every author in the history of literature uses similes and although he is very unique, Vonnegut stays true to this stigma.
8. Juxtaposition "Billy went from total dark to total light..." (pg. 86) Vonnegut uses this to establish a spectrum and let us know about the complete opposites of life.
9. Colloquialism "...he was sort of glassy-eyed" (pg. 116) Vonnegut wrote as he would speak, he uses words that all readers can understand and it is really interesting to see how he establishes his voice in an incredibly unique way, using his vernacular.
10. Italics "How did I get so old." (pg. 42)  Throughout the book Vonnegut uses italics for emphasis on certain points.

Taylor Duguran

#2 Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

1. Catcher in the Rye is a Post Modernistic novel that follows the adventures of Holden Caufield as he navigates the streets of New York and also his own angst and feelings. Holden flunks out of college (for the second time) and on his way back to his parents' house he wanders and meanders through the city. While simultaneously trying to gain the courage to "phone up" one of his former girlfriends and reconnecting with old friends he meanders through the streets of New York. In the end he goes to his parents' house and spends a day with his sister so he can get a new outlook on life.\

2. The purpose of this novel is to capture teenage angst and the struggles of adolescence and adulthood. The theme of the novel is struggle and the pains of growing up.

3. The author's tone is very casual, Salinger writes in the time's vernacular using phrases like "phone up" and "creep" to refer to annoying people. The story is told by Holden so you hear his most familiar phrase "phony" constantly.

1. Repetition- the repetition of the word "phony"
2. Irony- Holden buys a prostitute just to talk to her
3. Sarcasm- Holden is constantly sarcastic
4. Stream of Consciousness- the way this story is told is reminiscent of the way of writing popularized in the Modern time period.
5. Italics- Salinger uses italics to emphasize specific points and topics
6. Flashbacks- they once in a while flashback to Holden's past
7. Characterization- Mostly direct
8. Opinionated language- Holden tells you how he feels and why he feels that way
9. Imagery- Salinger uses descriptive language when talking about his characters and New York city.
10. Simile- "She acted like a pig"

Kendall Villa

#3 Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

1. Cannery Row is less of a novel with a plot hill or anything hackneyed such as that but it is rather a glimpse into the life that exists in Monterey. The stories of the men and women who work on that cursed row lining the coast is the reason that the book was written. Steinbeck does a great job of creating this glimpse in the novel.

2. The purpose of this novel is to capture the daily life on Cannery Row and to also serve as a platform for Steinbeck to make social commentaries about sex, addiction, and mundane work.

3. The author's tone conveys a grim reality of the hard work that is forced upon those living on Cannery Row while also depicting these characters in a very positive light.

1. Simile- the ocean moved like a mistress
2. Metaphor- he acted lightly
3. Figurative language
4. Zeigiest 
5. Imagery
6. Allusion
7. Foreshadowing
8. Repetition
9. Characterization 
10. Italics



#1 Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
1. The novel is told from the perspective from the caretaker of an older house to a man looking to buy this house. The story is about the family that used to live in the house, they were a rich family with a caring father who took in a dirty and grimy orphan named Heathcliff. The father dies soon after bringing him home and the rest of the family is mean to him (with one exception) with includes both physical and mental abuse. The one exception is Cathy, his adopted sister, he eventually falls in love with her and is emotionally destroyed when she marries another man. Cathy dies in childbirth and Heathcliff never leaves the property and is always haunted with guilt about Cathy and hatred for most everyone else.
2. The theme of this novel is how differences in social status, patriarchal discrimination, and abuse can cause bitterness and remorse.
3. The author's tone conveys bitterness and remorse. Throughout the novel she uses her characters to express different emotions.
Ex 1: "You loved me- what right had you to leave me? What right- answer me- for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery, and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will did it. I have not broken your heart- you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you- Oh, God! Would you like to lie with your soul in the grave?"
Bronte uses Heathcliffe's anger to portray his bitterness.
Ex 2: "'I'm tired with my journey, and I want to go to bed! Where is the maid-servant? Direct me to her, as she won't come to me.'
'We have none,' he answered, 'you must wait on yourself!'
'Where must I sleep, then?' I sobbed..."
Bronte uses this quote to show how social classes can cause discrepancies.
Ex 3: "He took to Heathcliff strangely, believing all he said... and petting him up far above Cathy, who was too mischieveous and wayward for a favourite."
Bronte uses this quote to show the patriarchal differences and how Cathy was portrayed as a weak character throughout the novel.

#2 The Lord of the Flies by William Golding


1 The novel is about a group of British boys, all from the same school, that crash land on a desolate island. The pilot is dead and they are left to govern themselves, this leads to chaos and anarchy. One of the main symbols throughout the story is this conch that holds power to some and is just a shell to others. By the end of the book this group of mild mannered boys have committed a murder, killed animals for food, called themselves savages, and are on the way to kill another member of the group before their charade is abruptly ended by an unnamed naval officer.

2 The theme of this novel is the breakdown of social convention, it also is considered a commentary on modern religion with each character symbolizing a different element of Christianity and the island itself taking on the role of earth.

3 The author’s tone was very dynamic, but throughout the entire novel it was very frantic and panicked page one is a great example when the boys land and there is just chaos and confusion. Another great example is when Jack places the glasses on the pig head and calls it the Lord of the Flies on page 145. And finally the fear and panic for Ralph as he is about to die at the end of the book gives the reader a good deal of panic and confusion. Even the resolution of a man walking on to the shore causes some confusion and leaves the reader with a lot of questions.

Imagery, Golding here describes the conch (Page 179)   
Diction, Golding here uses the word “giggled” instead of laughed, snorted, chuckled, or anything else to describe the twins’ immaturity (Page 62)
Modernistic techniques, Golding makes the last scene so frantic that the ending becomes very surprising (Page 287)
Imagery/diction, “the savage moaned again”, here Golding refers to a young boy as a savage who is in pain doesn’t cry but moans (Page 279)
Personification, Golding says that Ralph’s voice “spoke for him” an impossible feat for someone’s voice, but it shows the fact that he had no control in the words coming out of his mouth. (Page 175)
Repetition “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood” (numerous pages)
Imagery, Golding describes Ralph’s injured eye as a slit (Page 222)
Vernacular, Golding always has the characters say the word “P’rby” instead of probably to show their dialect. Also other examples of this. (numerous pages)
Repetition/irony, the words “beast” and “savage” are used to describe small animals and young boys. (numerous pages)
Ethos, the naval officer has a dominant authority that the boys desperately needed. (Page 288)

#3 A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

"Collaboration is not a crime"-Dr. Preston

1& 2. Kylie Sagisi 
3. Lindsey Wong

1. The first page is ridden with juxtaposition, the first line “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” is an iconic use of placing two very different things next to each other for emphasis. (pg. 3)

2. The wine spilling at the beginning of chapter five is both foreshadowing and a euphemism because it sets up the reader for all the blood that will be spilled during the revolution and since it is a delicate way of talking about a very serious topic it constitutes as a euphemism. (pg. 27)

3. Lucie is the ultimate combination of imagery and symbolism, her yellow hair, that Dickens describes and alludes to countless times throughout the novel, is the “golden thread” that connects her father to the present. (pg. 78)

4. The entire novel is a zeitgeist because the entirety of the story embodies the time period and the problems that occurred during Jerry Cruncher’s lifetime and beyond.

5. When Madame Defarge is asked why she is knitting she answers, “Pastime” which is an aphorism because she is commenting on the political turmoil rather than why she really knits. (pg.172)

6. Dickens uses other characters besides Lucie to serve as extended metaphors. Monseigneur serves as Dickens’ platform for commenting on the upper class of the time, he constantly stereotypes Monseigneur for example saying that he is “extravagant”. (pg. 229)

7. Charles Dickens was also a fan of alliteration and he described the revolutionaries as “fast, fierce, and furious”. (pg. 195)

8. Dickens used a lot of irony throughout the novel; one of the most important was when the lying, stealing, cheating Jerry Cruncher described himself as an honest man. (pg. 315)

9.Another example of imagery and an incident of a simile was when Dickens said that the wine shop looked “like a walnut cracked on its side”. (pg. 139)

10.The very last line uses repetition to drive home Dickens’ final points “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to that I have ever known.” This is one of the most well-known endings to a novel of all time. (pg. 364)

1 & 2. Kristen Crockett
3. Lindsey Wong
4. Kendall Villa

#4 Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway

1. There is an old man that meets a young orphan boy and he teaches him the ropes so to speak of fishing and how to be a man. I believe the inciting incident is when the old man latches the marlin and begins his battle for life with this fish. The author used foreshadowing in the beginning when the boy and old man are talking about how he was once a great fisherman but he is on cold streak if you will, also when they are talking about baseball and how the fear the “Indians of Cleveland”. I could imagine this story happening to me or someone I know because we all have success and we all feel failure but the most important thing we can do is just persevere.

2. The theme, very simply, is man versus nature. We are born with nothing and we leave with nothing, but the choice to fight is always there.

3. The uses a very simple style and syntax, this makes his tone very deliberate, whether it is the repetition of the Cleveland Indians, or the imagery used when he describes the fish, or the fact that the climax of the story is when the old man catches a fish.

1. The author uses mainly direct characterization since the story is so short and concise, he hardly has time for extensive indirect characterization.,

2. No the author's syntax or diction doesn't change as he focuses from character to character, his tone is very consistent and he does a very good job of staying impartial when describing his characters throughout the novel.

3. The main character is very dynamic, he changes drastically from the beginning of the novel, what really caused him to was his fight with death.

4. I met a person, I met the fisherman, I was in the boat with him, learning along with the orphan, it was a very powerful experience that Ernest Hemmingway created when he wrote this book as an extended metaphor or allegory.

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