Charles Dickens’ Hard Times: Industrialization, Women, Utilitarianism

CHARACTERS Thomas Gradgrind – local teacher and politician, tries hard to exert Utilitarianism and force it on everybody around him Mr. Choakumchild – teacher, teaches children facts and only facts Mr. Josiah Bounderby – rich businessman, banker and salesman, owner of the factory, He has no moral or regard for human suffering, he exploits and…

The Importance of Being Earnest: Characters, Marriage, Comedy

CHARACTERS Algernon (Algy) – a figure of dandy; careless, likes to dress nice, leads a double life, in love with Cecily Jack/John Worthing – in love with Gwendolen, leads a double life, has imaginary brother Earnest Bunbury – Algernon’s imaginary friend, Bunburying – Algernon’s term for leading a double life Lady Bracknell – Gwendolen’s mother,…

Erasmus Exercise: Explained

In 1512, the Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) published De Copia (meaning “on command of language” or “richness of expression”).  Erasmus’s book was one of the most influential rhetoric texts of the European Renaissance. One exercise in De Copia directs students to compose several hundred variations of one sentence.  This exercise has three purposes: (1)   …

Sentence Components: Parallelism & Sentence Layering

Parallelism is the repetition of a grammatical structure to emphasize a relationship between ideas. Parallelism gives balance, focus, and clarity to a sentence. Parallelism establishes a pattern of repetition that writers can manipulate to create a vast array of rhetorical effects. Examples: Writers can reinforce and emphasize their use of parallelism by repeating one or…

Sentence Components: Periodic & Cumulative Sentence, Absolute Phrase

USE A PERIODIC SENTENCE In a periodic sentence, descriptive elements (or details) introduce the sentence, pushing the complete thought to the end of the sentence. This pattern proves quite effective for emphasis or suspense because the most emphatic point of a sentence is the end.  Periodic sentences are usually long, complex sentences, the independent clause…

Essential (Restictive) Adjective vs. Non-Essential (Non-Restrictive) Adjective Clause

USE AN ESSENTIAL (RESTRICTIVE) ADJECTIVE A subordinate clause = a group of words with a subject and predicate, but dependent on the rest of the sentence to make sense. Essential (restrictive) = necessary or essential to meaning. An adjective = a word that modifies a noun or pronoun. An essential (restrictive) adjective clause = a…

Sentence Components: Adjective, Adjective Phrase, Verb

OPEN WITH AN ADJECTIVE An adjective describes or points out a noun or pronoun. It tells what kind, what color, what number, which one, whose. Adjectives allow distinguishing and specification. They add descriptive details. They also limit or make more definite the meaning of a key word. Typically, adjectives immediately precede the words they modify;…