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Breaking Bad as Literature
Unit 1: Breaking Bad - Terms
Catharsis is a release of emotions, usually caused by some intense experience, which ends up purifying or purging you. Tragedy's really good at triggering catharsis—like, better than yoga.
OMG WHAT IS LIFE? Existentialism is all about being in your own head—always pontificating on what your experiences mean. Sound daunting? It is.
A mouthful of a German word that translates to "the total artwork." It's the concept of a work of art that combines all forms of art (like storytelling, music, acting… and on and on forever) into one huge Voltron of perfection.
Hamartia is a mistake or "fatal flaw" that ends up sending everything straight to h-e-double-hockey-sticks. Some people think it means something more like "fatal error" or "mistake"—some unfortunate thing that just happens, which causes a domino-chain of horribleness.
Hubris is out-of-control arrogance that makes you blind to your own flaws and limitations. It's one of the more common hamartias in classical tragedy, and, um, it's generally frowned upon in today's society.
A story structure that involves a hero going on a journey with specific steps in a specific order. It underlies a bunch of major myths across every culture, from Gilgamesh to Beowulf to Harry Potter.
This one goes beyond just seeing the glass as half empty. Pessimism is a full-on philosophical stance that believes that people generally default to assuming false, comforting, rose-colored things about the world.
Hey, look, another unpronounceable German word. This one describes the feeling of getting a kick out of someone else's pain or misfortune. Like when someone falls flat on their face and you can't help but laugh. You jerk.
A smash cut happens when one scene is suddenly interrupted by the next scene—usually in a way that comically highlights the differences between the two.
A tragedy is a story about a person who falls from grace, with lots of sad stuff happening in the meantime. Classical tragedies have a few distinguishing features to them, like tons of people dying (including the hero), violence, revenge, ghosts, the use of many art forms, and so on, but modern tragedies are usually just, well, tragic.
The theoretical physicist Walt names himself after. The guy won the Nobel Prize in 1932. Shoulda been Walt—minus the time-space continuum issue.
Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of a superior, noble person who puts aside conventional morality in pursuit of truth and the "Will to Power." Nietzsche said that humans were basically just a halfway point between monkey and the Übermensch. But then again, Nietzsche said a lot of stuff.