Archive for March 29th, 2012

March 29, 2012

Penny Debate

penny by chris chuckry

leave a penny

A debate exists within the United States government, and American society at large, over whether the one-cent coin, commonly known as the penny, should be eliminated as a unit of currency in the United States. Two bills introduced in the U.S. Congress would have ceased production of pennies, but neither bill was approved. Such a bill would leave the nickel, at five cents, as the lowest-value coin. The chief argument for its elimination is the fact that pennies are produced at a loss. In 2012, it costs about 2.4 cents to mint a penny. By 2007, even the price of the raw materials it is made of exceeded the face value, so there is a risk that coins are illegally melted down for raw materials.

Additionally, pennies are of limited utility; they are not accepted by all vending machines or many toll booths, and pennies are generally not accepted in bulk. In addition, people often do not use cents to pay at all; they may simply use larger denominations and get pennies in return. Pennies end up sitting in jars or are thrown away and are not in circulation. The purpose of the monetary system is to facilitate exchange, but… the penny no longer serves that purpose. Many countries outside the United States have chosen to remove low-value coins from circulation including Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, and Australia.

March 29, 2012

Unreliable Narrator

Fight Club

An unreliable narrator is a narrator, whether in literature, film, or theater, whose credibility has been seriously compromised. The term was coined in 1961 by Wayne C. Booth in ‘The Rhetoric of Fiction.’ This narrative mode is one that can be developed by an author for a number of reasons, usually to deceive the reader or audience.

Unreliable narrators are usually first-person narrators, but third-person narrators can also be unreliable. The nature of the narrator is sometimes immediately clear. For instance, a story may open with the narrator making a plainly false or delusional claim or admitting to being severely mentally ill, or the story itself may have a frame in which the narrator appears as a character, with clues to his unreliability.

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March 29, 2012



Spoiler is any element of any summary or description of any piece of fiction that reveals any plot element which will give away the outcome of a dramatic episode within the work of fiction, or the conclusion of the entire work. It can also be used to refer to any piece of information regarding any part of a given media. Because enjoyment of fiction sometimes depends upon the dramatic tension and suspense which arises within it, the external revelation of such plot elements can ‘spoil’ the enjoyment that some consumers of the narrative would otherwise have experienced.

The term spoiler was introduced in the early days of the internet, and is often associated with specialist internet sites and in newsgroup postings. Early rules of netiquette insisted that spoilers could and should be normally avoided, but if the posting of “‘spoiling’ information was unavoidable, it be preceded by a warning (‘SPOILER!’), or the spoiler itself has to be masked so that it can not be visible to any but those keen for details and not fazed at the thought of such potentially plot-revealing information.

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March 29, 2012

Tricky Slave


tenzing norgay

The tricky slave is a stock character. He is a clever, lower-class person who brings about the happy ending of a comedy for the lovers. He is more clever than the upper-class people about him, both the lovers and the characters who block their love, and typically also looking out for his own interests; in the New Comedy, the tricky slave or ‘dolosus servus’ aimed to get his freedom by assisting his young master in love. Besides the actual slaves of classical theater, he also appears as the scheming valet in Renaissance comedy, called the ‘gracioso’ in Spanish. The ‘zanni’ of Commedia dell’arte are often tricky slaves, as are Puss-in-Boots in Perrault’s fairy tale, Jeeves in P. G. Wodehouse’s work, and Figaro. In fairy tales, the same function is often fulfilled by fairy godmothers, talking animals, and like creatures.

A female version of the tricky slave would be Morgiana, a clever slave girl from ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’ in the ‘One Thousand and One Nights.’ She is initially in Cassim’s household but on his death she joins his brother Ali Baba and through her quick wittedness she saves Ali’s life many times and eventually kills his worst enemy, the leader of the Forty Thieves. As reward, Ali frees her and Morgiana marries Cassim’s son. In contrast to these positive depictions, the tricky slave is portrayed as the antagonist in another Arabian Nights tale, ‘The Three Apples,’ an early example of a murder mystery. After the murderer reveals himself near the middle of a story, he narrates the events leading up to the murder in a flashback. Within this flashback, a slave convinces him of his wife’s infidelity, thus leading to her murder.

March 29, 2012


You Are The Father by Alex Pardee

Anagnorisis [an-ag-nawr-uh-sis] is a moment in a play or other work when a character makes a critical discovery. Anagnorisis originally meant recognition in its Greek context, not only of a person but also of what that person stood for. It was the hero’s sudden awareness of a real situation, the realization of things as they stood, and finally, the hero’s insight into a relationship with an often antagonistic character in Aristotelian tragedy.

In the Aristotelian definition of tragedy, it was the discovery of one’s own identity or true character (e.g. Cordelia, Edgar, Edmund, etc. in Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’) or of someone else’s identity or true nature (e.g. Lear’s children, Gloucester’s children) by the tragic hero. In his ‘Poetics,’ Aristotle defined anagnorisis as ‘a change from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate between the persons destined by the poet for good or bad fortune.’ Shakespeare did not base his works on Aristotelian theory of tragedy, including use of hamartia (an injury committed in ignorance), yet his tragic characters still commonly undergo anagnorisis as a result of their struggles.

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March 29, 2012


oedipus rex

Peripeteia [per-uh-pi-tee-uh] is a reversal of circumstances, or turning point. The term is primarily used with reference to works of literature. The English form of peripeteia is peripety. Peripety is a sudden reversal dependent on intellect and logic. Aristotle defines it as ‘a change by which the action veers round to its opposite, subject always to our rule of probability or necessity.’ According to Aristotle, peripeteia, along with discovery, is the most effective when it comes to drama, particularly in a tragedy. Aristotle wrote ‘The finest form of Discovery is one attended by Peripeteia, like that which goes with the Discovery in ‘Oedipus’…’

Peripeteia includes changes of character, but also more external changes. A character who becomes rich and famous from poverty and obscurity has undergone peripeteia, even if his character remains the same. When a character learns something he had been previously ignorant of, this is normally distinguished from peripeteia as ‘anagnorisis’ (‘discovery’), a distinction derived from Aristotle’s work. Aristotle considered anagnorisis, leading to peripeteia, the mark of a superior tragedy. One such play is ‘Oedipus the King,’ where the oracle’s information that Oedipus had killed his father and married his mother brought about his mother’s death and his own blindness and exile. That plot is considered complex and superior to simple plots without anagnorisis or peripeteia, such as when Medea resolves to kill her children, knowing they are her children, and does so.

March 29, 2012

Plot Twist

usual suspects

A plot twist is a change in the expected direction or outcome of the plot of a work of fiction. It is a common practice in narration used to keep the interest of an audience, usually surprising them with a revelation. Some ‘twists’ are foreshadowed and can thus be predicted by many viewers/readers, whereas others are a complete shock. When a plot twist happens near the end of a story, especially if it changes one’s view of the preceding events, it is known as a twist ending.

Revealing the existence of a plot twist often spoils a movie, since the majority of the movie generally builds up to the plot twist. A device used to undermine the expectations of the audience is the false protagonist. It involves presenting a character at the start of the film as the main character, but then disposing of this character, usually killing them. It is a red herring (a clue intended to mislead).

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March 29, 2012

TV Tropes

tvtropes will ruin your life

TV Tropes is a wiki that collects and expands on various conventions and devices (tropes) found within creative works. Since its establishment in 2004, the site has gone from covering only television and film tropes to also covering those in a number of other media such as literature, comics, video-games, and even advertisements and toys. It is known for approaching topics with a casual and humorous tone.

The site initially focused on the television show ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’ and has since increased its scope to include thousands of other series, films, novels, plays, video games, anime, manga, comic strips and books, fan fiction, and other subjects, including Internet works such as Wikipedia, which is referred to in-wiki as ‘The Other Wiki.’ Some believe that use of ‘TV Tropes’ teaches the user to analyze and dissect works of media. An unanticipated side effect causes some readers to become jaded and cynical, ‘[replacing] surprise almost entirely with recognition.’ This is referred to on the site as ‘TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life,’ referring to the inability to read books, watch films, etc. without identifying each trope as it occurs.