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223 physiognomy
 

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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223 physiognomy

Physiognomy is the outward appearance or facial expressions of an individual. When broken down into smaller parts, physis refers to facial appearance while gnomon means “interpreter.” When discussing physiology, it refers to the features of the face that reveal more about the person’s inner or perhaps even hidden personality. Many of these specific features include the location and configuration of features such as the eyebrows, nose, mouth and forehead. Although mostly associated with the face, physiognomy can also refer to skin and hair texture and color.

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Many people have tried to disprove this theory; however, in many ways it can be seen that perhaps a person’s outer appearance can help to “decode” him. For instance an elderly old man in the picture located to the right. By just looking at his wrinkles along his forehead, it can be seen that he has lived a long life. The position of the mouth helps to reveal that he is in a calm state. The narrowing of the eyes can be read as either lost in thought or as a representation of lost thoughts. This picture is in fact a  famous picture of “The Old Man” who has Alzheimer’s disease. Now that one knows this information, understanding and decoding his facial expressions has become much easier to do.







Usage in Text: “The ironies of a smiling black man with a neat moustache, an altogether cheerful and forthright physiognomy, were too delicious for the caption writers to resist . Smile of a killer, they said”(223). In this scene, the reporters were talking about Coalhouse and how normal he looks but how evil that he really was. 


http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gnomon?show=0&t=1315918136

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/physis

http://face-and-emotion.com/dataface/physiognomy/physiognomy.jsp

http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/File:Old-man.jpg



Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2011 15:53  

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