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Literary Conventions

There are many conventions within the literature world. Some of these conventions can be found in poetry, drama and prose writing. This essay will look at conventions used by all three which can be seen to present certain identities. The conventions this essay will look at are: structure; dialogue and theme. The convention of structure can present ideas of identity in many ways. One way within prose and drama is the use of exposition. For example, in the very first chapter of Silas Marner, Eliot presents Silas with the identity of a man disenchanted with his own faith. “There is no just God… but a God of lies” (p14). Exposition is very useful within drama as well. In the opening scenes of A Doll’s House, Nora is presented as deceptive. In the first scene Nora is seen to be eating macaroons. This is something she denies to Torvald a few lines later. Structure within poetry is a little different. In the poem “You’re Beautiful,” Armitage uses the structure of stanzas and refrains to present identities of someone beautiful and himself as ugly. Both the stanzas and refrains use repetition to reinforce this “You’re beautiful because… I’m ugly because…” (Lines 1-3).
Dialogue is another way identity can be presented. In the opening lines of A Doll’s House, Nora is quickly seen as a spendthrift by telling the Porter to keep the change. Here she pays twice as much for a Christmas tree than what it is worth. This immediately suggests that Nora likes to spend, to keep up appearances. The dialogue in Chapter three of Silas Marner also presents very good ideas of identity. In a conversation between Squire Cass and Master Godfrey, Eliot presents a strong master and servant relationship with the continued use of the phrase “hold your tongue” (p25-30). Dialogue within poetry is a little more difficult to pick out. However, Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to his Love,” can be seen as a form of speech to woo his nymph. At first glance this dialogue suggests the identity of a man very much in love, but when looking deeper, it is really a man trying to woo a lady into a night of passion, and nothing else.
The theme of the individual versus the community is one that crops up right across the literary world. In Silas Marner, the forced interconnectedness of the community seeps into Silas’ life through Eppie. This shifts his identity from miser to father. In A Doll’s House, Nora’s struggle is that the community sees her borrowing money behind her husband’s back as wrong, but she sees it as saving his life. On realising this, she shifts from a spendthrift, to an almost mentally unhinged bag of nerves. Armitage also uses this theme in “You’re Beautiful” to challenge the concept of beauty. This suggests the identity of a man who sees himself as ugly, because society tells him so. By using structure, dialogue and theme, Ibsen, Eliot, Marlowe and Armitage have presented many different identities in almost the same way. This can be seen right across the world of literature, and can challenge our own concepts of identity.

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Literary Conventions. (2018, Oct 12). Retrieved from https://thepoetrytrust.org/literary-conventions-essay

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