K is always a toughie, so I'm excited to visit other K posts today. If K equally intrigues you, please visit the Blogging from A to Z participant list for some great takes on K.
A literary device that begins with K... hmmm. As hard as I tried, I couldn't come up with anything, so I hit the Internet. I found a few (some were pushing it... like alternate spellings for c words) but decided on...
(Greek, "What others hear about you"): Renown, honor, glory, and fair reputation achieved through great deeds--especially battle but to a lesser extent in Olympic games, poetry contests, and literature. The Greeks thought of kleos as something transferred from a father to a son, and the son would inherit the duty for carrying on and building upon the "glory" of the father. In Greek literature, kleos becomes a predominant concern of epic heroes like Achilles, who must choose between achieving kleos but dying in battle, or having a long and happy life but having his name fade after a few generations.
When I looked this up, the definition redirected me to see fame/shame culture. According to this site, fame/shame culture is the anthropological term for a culture in which masculine behavior revolves around a code of martial honor. These cultures embody the idea of death before dishonor. Such civilizations often glorify military prowess and romanticize death in battle. Typically, such a society rewards men who display bravery by (a) engaging in risk-taking behavior to enhance one's reputation, (b) facing certain death in preference to accusations of cowardice, and (c) displaying loyalty to one's king, chieftain, liege lord, or other authoritative figure in the face of adversity.
Of course, I thought about 300. Then I thought about Gerard Butler's abs and got distracted for quite a while.
But, back to kleos. I found this concept interesting. Is there a modern form of this? Even those in the military, although willing to die for what they believe in, don't often get the respect and "fame" associated with laying their lives on the line.
So, other than authors writing historical fiction or about some Middle East cultures, this literary device is beginning to die a cultural death. Right?
A possible exception... those stories that bring Greek culture to the modern world. Think The Lightning Thief. Or, interpreted loosely, any story about a son feeling pressured by his father's legacy (since the term is male-based). Consider Prince William, a man destined to be King... he has to live up more to his female ancestors (the Queen and his mother) than any man (Prince Charles. Um, no).
Oh, and since I mentioned it, I thought it only polite to share Gerard Butler's abs. I figured it was best to save for the end so my female readers wouldn't be too distracted. Enjoy!