Four Types of Reader Response Theories HistoricalMythologicalSociologicalGender
Historical Strategy 1.Assumes that every work is a product of the historic moment that created it 2.The work itself is an interpretation of history and it is reflected in the literature 3.The work examines cause/effect relationships 4.3 tiers: history, author, & reader (simultaneous) 5.We cannot look at history objectively; rather we interpret events as products of our time and culture
Historical Theory: Cinderella Revealed 1.Let’s apply the historical strategy to Disney’s Cinderella. 2.How did the events of 1950 impact Walt Disney’s interpretation of Cinderella. 3.Post World War II a.Push for conservatism and traditional values b.Separate but equal is established as the best way to educate white and minority students. c.Rigid social/gender norms are enforced
Analysis of Historical Impact: Cinderella 1950 Push for conservatism and traditional values Conformity Separate but equal Rigid social/gender norms Cinderella Cinderella’s role –Pious, chaste, modest –Seeking an acceptable marriage partner Cinderella-does not challenge norms –She waits quietly until her prince rescues her Social class –Mice, can be seen as minorities in the text –Assist her but are not equal to her; relies on them to work for/along with her
Historical Response: Questions to Consider 1.What language/characters/events present in the work reflect the current events of the author’s day? What can we infer about society? 2.How are events' interpretation and presentation a product of the culture of the author? 3.What social, cultural, political events were occurring at the time the piece was written? How do they contribute to the product? 4.Does the work's presentation support or condemn the event? Can it be seen to do both? 5.How does this portrayal criticize the leading political figures or movements of the day?
Mythological Strategy 1.Interprets hopes, fears, & expectations of entire cultures 2.Uses universal symbols to which people from all cultures can relate: account for characters’ lives symbolically 3.Focuses on a culture’s perceptions about itself 4.Looks for underlying, recurrent patterns in literature that reveal universal meanings and basic human experiences 5.Explains how archetypes are embodied in literary works 1.Archetypal characters 2.Archetypal images 3.Archetypal situations
Explains how archetypes are embodied in literary works –Archetype: prototype, prime example, and model –a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, etc., universally present in individual psyches
Mythological Strategy: Cinderella Revealed Archetypes: –Mother Figure Usually an older character –The Innocent –The Hero –The Evil Figure Cinderella –Fairy Godmother Cinderella The Prince The Stepmother
Mythological Response: Questions to Consider 1.How does the story resemble other stories in plot, character, setting, or use of symbols? 2.Are archetypes presented, such as quests, initiations, scapegoats, or withdrawals and returns? How are they presented? 3.Does the protagonist undergo any kind of transformation such as a movement from innocence to experience that seems archetypal? 4.Are there any specific allusions to myths that shed light on the text?
Sociological Strategy 1.Examines social groups, relationships, and values 2.Emphasizes the nature of social forces that shape power relationships between groups or classes of people 3.Documents (reflecting) social conditions or a product of those conditions
Sociological Strategy: Cinderella Revealed Applying the theory to the film: –When using social theory, we are attempting to see in social class is at play in the film. –How does social order impact characters and their outcomes in the film.
Social Class Class Norms Hierarchy of class –Upper, middle, lower class norms, examples Social Class and Marriage Cinderella Cinderella’s hierarchy –Part of upper/noble class until father’s death –She is a servant in her home, above only her animal servants –Stepmother and sisters part of noble class. Relationships –Cinderella has to dress up to attend ball –Prince uses shoe to identify Cinderella –Prince is an acceptable mate based on his social class
Sociological Response: Questions to Consider 1.How are class differences presented in the work? Are characters aware or unaware of the economic and social forces that affect their lives? 2.How do economic conditions determine the characters’ lives? 3.What ideological values are explicit or implicit? 4.Does the work challenge or affirm the social order it describes? 5.How are men’s and women’s lives portrayed in the work? Do the men and women in the work accept or reject these roles?
Feminist Strategy 1.Feminist critics look to see how male dominated cultural and economic institutions have alienated women, giving them the “other” status in our society. 2.Feminist critics hold these traits in common: a.Our civilization is patriarchal b.Gender is socially/culturally constructed by patriarchal biases in our civilization c.Patriarchal ideologies are represented in “great” literature d.Authentic female characters, voices and experiences are left out of literature. Most literature is written by men towards male audiences.
Feminist Strategy: Cinderella Revealed Applying Gender theory to the film, we would be examining the portrayal of men and women in the text. How do the characters reinforce gender bias and stereotypes?
Cinderella’s Gender Biases Gender Stereotype Women: –Nurturing, kind, passive, non-logical, not powerful –Beautiful, skinny –Willing to marry, waiting for Marriage –Manipulative, catty Men –Logical-problem solvers –Strong –Handsome and powerful Cinderella –White, beautiful, passive, kind, waiting for a Prince to rescue her Stepmother/sister –Ugly, vindictive, evil, cruel and jealous of Cinderella’s beauty Prince: –Handsome, strong –Figures out how to solve the problem –Rescues Cinderella
Gender Theory Questions to Consider How is the relationship between men and women portrayed? What are the power relationships between men and women (or characters assuming male/female roles)? How are male and female roles defined? What constitutes masculinity and femininity? How do characters embody these traits? Do characters take on traits from opposite genders? How so? How does this change others’ reactions to them? Does the work challenge or affirm traditional ideas about men and women?
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