Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Meme hosted by Bermuda Onion.

This week's words are brought to you by 
Why Buffy Matters by Rhonda V Wilcox


Bildungsroman fashion) grown notably older in many ways:  having dealt with her mother’s death, having explored her sexuality and reacted to attempted rape by her ex-lover, having become a single mom to her sudden sister, having been forced into a drudge job to make ends meet—while Harry [Potter] has gone to the movies.  (76)




Bildungsroman (noun)
in literary criticism, or coming-of-age story, is a literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood
Definition found here.


It's interesting to note that the covers for each of the seven dvd seasons for Buffy the Vampire Slayer seem to evolve.  In the first season, she is pictured alone.  In the second and third, Angel is featured on the cover. Seasons 4 and 6 have friends.  And seasons 5 and 7 have Spike.  I am sure that if I took the time to ponder the significance of each, I would have much to say.  That Riley never features on the cover and four out of seven seasons have a lover is surely significant, don't you think.  Wouldn't it have been interesting if the designers had returned to Buffy alone on the cover for the seventh season?

But I digress because I have to say that I love this word!  Bildungsroman.  What is your favorite coming-of-age novel from your own growing up?  The ones that come immediately to mind for me are:

Are You There, God?  It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

I've ready many others but these are the two that I read while growing up that had the most meaning to me.

Image found here.
Gerry Bloustein quotes Bessière’s comment that “the impossible is a realm of polysemy,” and argues “speculative fictions such as Buffy can resonate with the adolescent experience—albeit nuanced by gender, ethnicity, race and class—even in social context far from their geographic origins” (428).  (99)  I’ve forgotten how to quote a quote so I apologize for my not doing it right, or at least I’m assuming that this is not done correctly.  *sigh*

polysemy (noun)
is the capacity for a sign (e.g., a word, phrase, etc.) or signs to have multiple meanings (sememes)
Definition found here.

I need to remember this word, for certain.  People have a predisposition to ask me to interpret their dreams, something I am loath to do.  Images become metaphor, especially in dreams.  The symbolic meaning of a rose is typically understood to mean "love" and yet I have met many who do not like roses and do not equate them with love.  I know a person who cannot abide a bouquet of flowers because they remind her of funerals and another who hates potpourri which remind her of death.  And so, it stands to reason, that a bouquet of roses to any of these three would mean any number of things.

So it is that the benefit to be gleaned from recording dreams and working with their symbolic meaning is personal.  A dream dictionary may be a way to start, looking up an image to see what the typical interpretation could be but to get to the real meaning, the discipline of looking for your own meaning is necessary.  This is why I prefer not to interpret other people's dreams.  And now I will have a lovely word to throw at the person who next requests my help.

Image found here.
Thus there is a complex tuning of emotional response, with attentive viewers recognizing both the strength of the relationship Buffy and Angel have built, and the adumbration of trouble . . . not to mention, of course, the reiterated danger of a “vampire in love with a Slayer” . . . .  (112

adumbrate (verb)
to foreshadow vaguely
to suggest, disclose, or outline partially
Definition found here.

For those of you who do not write, you  may not quite appreciate why I adore this word and simply had to share it even though I knew its meaning.  Of course, anyone who reads novels or watches a movie knows the joy of reflecting back and finding some evidence of foreshadowing that was overlooked.  But the thing I find so surprising is when I find foreshadowing in my own writing, particularly when I am not even sure how the story is going to evolve.  A character will say or do something that is clearly foreshadowing something pivotal later and I'll just sit there wondering how I could have known.  It makes me wonder if sometimes a writer intentionally inserts some foreshadowing or symbolism because, just a there are times when I am joyfully surprised by some detail I had overlooked, I am all the more disappointed when this sort of thing is so blatant as to be heavy handed.

For those of you who write, what has been your experience?  Have you ever been surprised by a bit of foreshadowing in your own stories?  Or, for those of you who are readers, can you think of an example of sublime foreshadowing that still gives you chills or one that was so blatant you felt you were being bludgeoned by its meaning?

Image:Yojo_Semiotic_Triangle.jpg
Image found here.
Willow’s line from “Reptile Boy” (2.5) is perhaps the most compact example of a pattern common in Buffy:  smaller elements represent larger ones, a kind of semiotic synecdoche (using both sound and picture).  (114)

Semiotics, or semiology, is the study of signs, symbols, and signification. It is the study of how meaning is created, not what it is. 
Synecdoche: a kind of connotation in which a part is used for the whole (as hand for sailor). 
Definitions found here

Again,  find myself collecting words that seem to be intimately and closely related to one another.  The interpretation of symbols, the polysemy especially of that which is merely adumbrated, as in the line alluded to here:  "Guys!  Buffy!  Snake!  Basement!  Now!"  Ahhh . . . the delights of a Freudian interpretation whenever the words "snake" and "basement" appear together.  But then there's the snake in the Garden of Eden and the Native American snake symbolizing rebirth and . . . .

What gives me a kick out of this is how I can picture Whedon and the other writers discussing a breathless Willow trying to get the attention of the "guys."  Succinctly blurting out in as few words as she could the urgency of what is happening.  Then let some academic get his/her hands on the same text and it is no longer the gasping cry for help but a semiotic synecdoche.  Anyone who has ever suffered through an English literature class in college knows whereof I speak.  Don't get me wrong.  I get off on this sort of thing.  But I know others who just groan in despair and wonder why a cigar, or a snake in this case, can't just be a cigar.

File:Holbein Danse Macabre 40.jpgThe moment comes when the wise man is formally dispensing his wisdom, in Giles’s touching and humorous overhead projector expository scene, accompanied by his own choice of soundtrack, The Danse Macabrediegetic  music which sounds thin and limited in terms of the texture of the recording, the rhythm, and the instrumentation. . . . (148)


diagesis (noun)
a narrative or history; a recital or relation
Definition found here.

Now, for those of you unfamiliar with this episode, Hush has very little dialogue which, for a show often praised for its repartee, was quite remarkable.  This was the only episode to be nominated for an Emmy, ironically enough for writing.  Go figure.  One of the key features of this episode for me is the music which beautifully evokes the mood, drawing a response from viewers as they watch and listen.  And to undercut the amazing score by having Giles play this sort of canned music is precisely the sort of intelligence one rarely finds on television.  (It is also noteworthy to compare this with the episode The Body which has no music and how silence is used in that episode to say so much.)

And for those of you who are thinking that this may be the nerdiest post I've ever written, breathe a sigh of relief that I chose not to use the Shawn of the Dead image or Star Trek image that almost made the final cut. I really held myself back this time.

Also, I wasted over an hour fighting with blogger's bullshit.  Here is what I saw and even in the html this is what you should have seen but no matter how I edited this post, blogger input spaces and breaks I did not create.  It would have been nice of blogger could just let me create a post and have it show up exactly as I created it without adding gaps and crap.


The irony in this is, of course, that if you should go back to my older posts you will see that blogger took away all of my paragraphing.  It is frustrating to spend time writing something only to have it fractured without any way to modify or correct it.  Blogger has become exhausting.

14 comments:

  1. Excellent words and post, Satia.

    I've had some problems with spacing as well, mainly when I try to arrange photos in posts. It can be very frustrating. I switch from html mode and compose mode, trying to get things to work, and it's often time consuming. But for the most part, I am happy with Blogger.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the new UI. For every minute I spend on blogger, I have to spend at least that much time or more away from my computer and reading altogether. So when I spend an hour trying to fix something that shouldn't be wrong, I lose an hour or two of reading blogs or leaving comments, etc. I can't even curl up with a book I want to read and wait until I feel better. I literally have to find something else to do altogether. And that annoys me because I didn't have this problem with the old UI.

      Delete
  2. What a great post! Seriously! I don't say that to all the bloggers - LOL! But, this was great! I really learned something and loved the examples.

    OK...so a bildungsroman that I loved was "These Happy Golden Years" in the Little House series.

    RE: the paragraph thing, there is a symbol you can put in...I am not positive, but I think it is: OMG...its making me take the code out...It won't publish... try that to re-create paragraphs...its close to that...I'm trying to remember the code.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Libby, you made me LOL! Thanks!

      Whenever I would try to show someone html, I'd use ( instead of the angle bracket. Then I'd say something like, "If you want to do italics type this:

      (i)italics(/i)

      Replace the parentheses with the angle brackets (greater than/less than signs) and you should be good to go.


      If you can show me how to save an two or three hours of my day, I'd be very grateful.

      Delete
  3. I've looked up bildungsroman before and could remember it's meaning but don't think I could ever use it in a sentence. The rest of your words are new to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have no doubt in my mind that the next time I write a book review for a coming-of-age novel, I'll find an excuse to use that word. In fact, I may even go out of my way to read one just to use it. :)

      Delete
  4. Readning these Wondrous Words Wednesday posts is greatly expanding my vocabulary :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's how I feel. Forcing myself to slow down and actually look up words is a great way to ensure I use a word correctly. Now if only creating them in the new UI didn't make me sick . . .

      Delete
  5. It's too funny that you should do a Buffy post this week. I'm listening to an audiobook that makes lots of Buffy references. Gotta love synchronicity like that. What an extraordinary bunch of words that book gave you! Bildungsroman is the only one I've come across before. I've seen it enough now that I always think I know what it means, but never manage to be sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think anything or anyone that makes use of Buffy references is a-okay in my book!

      Whenever I say that I knew a word but don't think I've ever looked it up, odds are it's one of those words I've seen often enough that it feels familiar and understood in context. One of the reasons I take pleasure in this meme is that it does allow me to enjoy the process of slowing down, looking up a word. These posts also get more comments than any of my other posts so I think that's saying something too.

      Delete
    2. I love this meme too for that very reason. I get so much out of my post, and everyone else's too.

      Delete
    3. I haven't had a chance to read blogs as closely as I usually do because demands on my time are pulling me to and fro. Half the fun of this meme is creating my own post and the other half is definitely reading other people's thoughts. I feel like I've missed out on some of the fun but maybe this week will prove to be more gentle with me.

      Delete
  6. Nice choices... I must say I don't think I knew any of these today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm reading another book that's rife with new words. But it will be weeks if not months before I get to that book because I'm still so backlogged from not posting these memes regularly.

      Delete