Tortilla Flat Essay

2196 words - 9 pages

TORTILLA FLAT by John Steinbeck Henry James wrote that the novel is to be experienced--therefore the reader must completely understand what happens in it. You should appropriate comparisons, contrasts, draw analogies of what is in the novel and one's own experience. While the elements of fiction are important in isolated ways, relating the parts is most important. A novel should show, "a direct, personal impression of life." The form of the novel is so free, so liable to variation, so open to innovation, that an exact definition is not possible. Different things happen in novels; the situation changes. Each connection becomes the province of the plot. The position from where events in the plot are reported is the point of view. What do the viewing characters perceive in Tortilla Flat? Is there omniscience--an all-seeing, all-knowing narrator? The shifts in point-of-view is also common in Steinbeck's novel. The theme is the personal and direct impression of life which Steinbeck projects.The setting in Tortilla Flat shows the story took place in a certain time and place. Setting also reveals character. Symbols, ideas beyond the object itself and images, perceptible to the senses--the novelist's use of concrete objects and events is most important in letting the reader know what is meant and how the writer wants the reader to feel about what is going on. Tone is the result of style [style recommends certain attitudes or conclusions following technical means of diction, syntax and imagery. Serious style employed to recount ridiculous events often helps establish a comic or satiric tone. Sometimes tone is achieved through contradiction. [Some types of tone are: forward, solemn, formal, informal, intimate, pompous, scholarly, angry, contemptuous, humorous, satirical, melancholy, prudish, flippant, cautious, sentimental etc.WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE NOVEL? 1. Literature is a mirror reflecting life.2. Literature can interpret life for us.3. Literature can sustain and console us.4. Literature is a source of moral guidance, and spiritual inspiration.5. Literature is the probable successor of philosophy and religion (Matthew Arnold).6. According to Aristotle and Horace - literature can foster virtue.7. Since the creators of fiction are teachers and artists, they can corrupt morals and undermine religion (Plato).STRENGTHS of the novel: WEAKNESSES of the novel: How the novel is framed, Steinbeck's self-consciousness, Uses of names and initials Ultimate terror of death lurks have meaning, at the edge, [175] More profound than 'knights of Portrayal and treatment of the roundtable: paisanos women, [96, 98, 175] are children of Mother Church, Anticultural inuendo: They recognize distinction "Oh Jew,..." [95, 174], between temporal (value Italians [42, 181], money), and eternal (value of Chinese [179], friendship), Blacks [27, 194], Excellent characterizations: Stereotyping of paisanos and appear humanly paradoxical, women. Women appear to be complex and flexible...

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