- Slides: 18
The Literary Sandwich ALSO KNOWN AS THE SYLLOGISTIC METHOD
Introduction: Think Theme When you are a young child, more than your teachers, more than your peers, you want to impress your parents. Rita Dove, in the poem “Flashcards, ” successfully conveys the feeling of a child desperately trying to gain the approval - and therefore love – of their parents, and the catastrophic effects that a parent’s high expectations can have.
Introduction: Think Theme • In the court of law, the lines between abuse and love are typically unblurred – it’s a black and white affair. Sometimes, however, as in the case of “My Papa’s Waltz, ” these lines cross. It is in these moments that love is disguised as abuse, while abuse masquerades as love.
Introduction: Think Theme Sometimes a parent’s love is disguised cruelly. Despite the better intentions of the parent, their love comes out sideways. This idea is displayed in the poem “The Portrait. ”
Revisiting the Literary Sandwich • (Top Layer) A statement that contains a literary term • (Meat & Veggies) Textual Support in the form of a direct quote or paraphrased statement • (Bottom Layer) Textual Analysis whereby you “tear apart” the language of the quote
“Flashcards” By Rita Dove In math I was the whiz kid, keeper of oranges and apples. What you don’t understand, master, my father said; the faster I answered, the faster they came. I could see one bud on the teacher’s geranium, one clear bee sputtering at the wet pane. The tulip tree always dragged after heavy rain so I tucked my head as my boots slapped home. My father put up his feet after work and relaxed with a highball and The Life of Lincoln. After supper we drilled and I climbed the dark before sleep, before a thin voice hissed numbers as I spun on a wheel. I had to guess. Ten, I kept saying, I’m only ten.
The Literary Sandwich • The syntax in the opening line immediately reveals the narrator’s conflict – • “In math I was the whiz kid, keeper of oranges and apples. ” • Our narrator qualifies his “whiz kid” status with a past tense verb. He “was” the master of simple addition and subtraction equations. But now, under the pressure of his father’s high expectations, he is lagging behind and is no longer a whiz kid.
The Literary Sandwich • The imagery in the second stanza reinforces the child’s self-conflict. • We are told that there is “one bud on the teacher’s geranium” and “one clear bee sputtering at the wet pane. ” Much like the bee, the child is slapping against the “pane” trying to escape the high expectations of his father. But the child is also lonely, like the one bud.
The Literary Sandwich • The double-entendre in the last stanza further displays the narrator’s conflict with his father • “Ten I kept saying. I’m only ten. ” • While “ten” is the random and confused guess to the flashcard being shown, it is also a desperate plea for help. The narrator is begging his father to acknowledge the fact that he is just a kid, a kid of only ten years old. Furthermore, the narrator is pleading with the father for him to relent the endless barrage of flashcards.
The Clasp by Sharon Olds • She was four, he was one, it was raining, we had colds, we had been in the apartment two weeks straight, I grabbed her to keep her from shoving him over on his face, again, and when I had her wrist in my grasp I compressed it, fiercely, for a couple of seconds, to make an impression on her, to hurt her, our beloved firstborn, I even almost savored the stinging sensation of the squeezing, the expression, into her, of my anger, "Never, never, again, " the righteous chant accompanying the clasp. It happened very fast-grab, crush, release-and at the first extra force, she swung her head, as if checking who this was, and looked at me, and saw me-yes, this was her mom, her mom was doing this. Her dark, deeply open eyes took me in, she knew me, in the shock of the moment she learned me. This was her mother, one of the two whom she most loved, the two who loved her most, near the source of love was this.
Literary Sandwich • The litany in the opening line reveals a • confessional tone and the mother’s awkward sense of acknowledgment • From the beginning the mother attempts to justify • her actions – “she was four, he was one, it was raining, we both had colds” The mother lists the events leading up to the clasp as if she is talking to a priest, slowly confessing her wrong doings. Each reason she offers is an attempt to justify her actions and to ease her conscience •
The Literary Sandwich • The diction within the confession is very ambivalent in the sense that the clasp can be interpreted as either an act of love or abuse • When the mother admits that she “even almost savored the stinging expression into her [daughter]” • • she is acknowledging the fact that she “even almost” took pleasure in this disciplinary action. By admitting this, the mother is suggesting that she took pleasure in hurting her daughter. This begs the question: is therefore an act of love, or an act of abuse?
The Literary Sandwich • A significant turning point is realized in the last line of the poem. The mother suggests that “near the source of love was this. ” We are left to wonder, however, what “this” is. Is “this” the abusive act that she “even almost savored? ” Or, is “this” the tough love that a mother sometimes must show her daughter? At the poem’s conclusion, I am left to believe that “this” is a rare moment in the mother’s parenting. It is a moment whereby she snapped and showed her daughter her ugly side, a side nonetheless, that the daughter needed to see – a side which is nonetheless a side of love . The diction also supports this conclusion because the mother says that the daughter “learned me” and that “she knew me” in this moment. The daughter “learns” and “knows” that mom has a breaking point and that her actions toward her brother are unacceptable. Within this loving relationship, the daughter comes to realize that she has a certain degree of ownership. She must do her part to live up to the bargain.
“My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke • The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy; But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy. We romped until the pans Slid from the kitchen shelf; My mother's countenance Could not unfrown itself. • The hand that held my wrist Was battered on one knuckle; At every step you missed My right ear scraped a buckle. • You beat time on my head With a palm caked hard by dirt, Then waltzed me off to bed Still clinging to your shirt
Introduction: Think Theme “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke portrays a tale of a father and son whose love for one another exists in the midst of carelessness and neglect. The narrator’s drunken father waltzes with him late into the night, much to his mother’s disapproval, and though alcohol-induced, it is a beautiful symbol of a father’s love for his son. Roethke creates irony in the contradictory nature of the father and son’s relationship. Juxtaposing the intoxication of whisky with the intoxication of love, the author makes an ambiguous social comment about the reality of familial relationships.
Literary Sandwich • The first stanza introduces the relationship of the narrator and his father, displaying the boy’s attachment to his dad despite his drunken tendencies. The author portrays this as he dances joyfully despite “the whiskey on [his father’s] breath. ” The steady sentence syntax and end rhyme scene of ABAB form demonstrates the rhythmic flow of the dance steps as they are waltzing. However, the waltz is a three-step dance – the extra line in each stanza represents the father’s drunken misstep. “Dizzy” and “easy” are a forced rhyme in the ABAB form, displaying the struggle the boy has not only with his father’s clumsy dance steps and bad breath, but also with the way his father behaved and showed love in a way that was hard for him to understand. Strong diction however displays the boy’s powerful love for his father: “[He] hung on like death. ” This can mean one of two things: the boy clung to his father out of fear; or, the narrator wanted this moment to last forever.
Literary Sandwich The second stanza conveys the mother’s disapproval juxtaposed against the enjoyment of her husband son in their late night “romping. ” Their destruction of the kitchen as “pans slid from the kitchen shelf” caused her to frown skeptically. This disapproval is indicated in the forced rhyme of “pans” and “countenance. ” However this is contrasted with a lighthearted diction that is connoted by the word “romped, ” thus a tone of humor and playfulness is juxtaposed against one of displeasure. Tension within the family’s relationships is thus conveyed between both the mother and the father, and the father and the son.
Literary Sandwich The last stanza continues the dichotomy of vulnerability versus strength as it compares the father and the son. He “beat time on my head” has a somewhat rough connotation, as does his “palm caked hard by dirt. ” But yet he “waltzed” the boy off to bed still “clinging to his shirt. ” This displays the ironic existence of irresponsibility alongside unconditional adoration. Love is expressed in many different ways, and the illogical existence of it during the father’s drunken state is ironic and intriguing.