Let's Talk About Overlap

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"Poetry is usually divided into three main types: EPIC, DRAMATIC, and LYRIC.  All three types of poetry share certain common traits: an emphasis on the connections between the sound and sense of words; controlled patterns of rhythm and syntax; vivid, often figurative language; and close attention to the visual and other sensory effects of the arrangement of words on the page.  Although many of these characteristics also apply to FICTION and DRAMA, and even to ordinary prose, they are particularly concentrated in poetry" (Hamilton 13). 

What I find amazing, is that there are like ten billion categories for drama, fiction, and poetry and most of them overlap with each other anyway.  My particular favorite was on page 15 of Sharon Hamilton's Essential Literary Terms.  Here she explains the details of a dramatic monologue in a section about poetry.  Now maybe I got confused here or misunderstood the text, but wouldn't a dramatic monologue take place in a...well, I don't know...a drama?  So why conform it to poetry?  Wasn't Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech a dramatic monologue?  Now, most of Shakespeare's plays were all written in poetry, so it would make sense for Hamlet's monologue to be poetic.  But why create all of these categories that will ultimately confuse the reader if a piece of literature can be poetry and drama at the same time?  Perhaps I am too picky about these things. 

Though we are supposed to compare a piece of literature that we have read so far in this class to these terms, I would not consider "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll to be a dramatic monologue by any means.  Even though it seems like it could have been made into a drama, there is more than one perspective involved and there is not a sense of just one person speaking to the audience.  There is a bit of dialogue, but it is mostly description.  In the exercises in the text, most of the examples seem to be pulled from larger literary works, like a play.  There are dramatic monologues that can stand by themselves, but I do not understand why we have to be so specific in our literary categories. 

Poetry is drama, drama is prose, and prose is poetry.  Ha!  Now I just broke all the rules.     

2 Comments

Katie Vann said:

I really liked your blog entry, especially the last line. I really struggled with commenting on this assignment's reading just because I always get myself confused with all the terms. After reading everyone else's blog entries, I still had no ideas or opinions to write down. It was easier to read and comment on yours because you actually displayed how the terms do overlap each other and at times can make things very confusing. This is how I usually feel about these terms.

Katie Vann said:

I really liked your blog entry, especially the last line. I really struggled with commenting on this assignment's reading just because I always get myself confused with all the terms. After reading everyone else's blog entries, I still had no ideas or opinions to write down. It was easier to read and comment on yours because you actually displayed how the terms do overlap each other and at times can make things very confusing. This is how I usually feel about these terms.

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