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Feminism: Feminism: We could sum up the feminist project by saying there are actually three fronts a feminist critic: We could sum up the feminist project.

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Presentation on theme: "Feminism: Feminism: We could sum up the feminist project by saying there are actually three fronts a feminist critic: We could sum up the feminist project."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Feminism: Feminism: We could sum up the feminist project by saying there are actually three fronts a feminist critic: We could sum up the feminist project by saying there are actually three fronts a feminist critic: (1) question representations of gender that others have made, (1) question representations of gender that others have made, (2) recover works that have been ignored and undervalued because readers have lacked the proper reading strategies and prior acquaintance, (2) recover works that have been ignored and undervalued because readers have lacked the proper reading strategies and prior acquaintance, (3) celebrate texts that challenge patriarchy or subvert traditional representations of gender. (3) celebrate texts that challenge patriarchy or subvert traditional representations of gender.

3 Feminist criticism is a political act whose aim is not simply to interpret the world but to change it by changing the consciousness of those who read and their relation to what they read." Using feminist criticism to analyze fiction may involve studying the repression of women in fiction. --How do men and women differ? --What is different about female heroines, and why are these characters important in literary history? ---In addition to many of the questions raised by a study of women in literature, feminist criticism may study stereotypes, creativity, ideology, racial issues, marginality, and more.

4 Feminism: 1. What roles are most often assigned to women/men? 2. What attributes or associations are tied to certain behaviors and certain types of women/men? (i.e. in fairy tales beauty is nearly always tied to being chosen, getting rich, getting married, and being happy. External appearance signals inner value.) 3. How and why do female/male characters succeed or fail? 4. What kind of reward do they receive? 5. How are "femininity" and "masculinity" defined? What is a "woman"? What is a "man"? 6. What are the qualities of a "good" or "bad" woman or man? 7. Explore how the role of women in stories, poems, novels, etc. works to support or undermine the social and political system of the past and present readers. In other words, why this text at this time? Why that text at that time? You need to contextualize and historicize the text: How does this particular representation of women function? Does the text reinforce or challenge patriarchy? What does it tell us if it does both simultaneously?

5 A Freudian approach A Freudian approach often includes pinpointing the influences of a character's id (the instinctual, pleasure seeking part of the mind), superego (the part of the mind that represses the id's impulses) and the ego (the part of the mind that controls but does not repress the id's impulses, releasing them in a healthy way). often includes pinpointing the influences of a character's id (the instinctual, pleasure seeking part of the mind), superego (the part of the mind that represses the id's impulses) and the ego (the part of the mind that controls but does not repress the id's impulses, releasing them in a healthy way). Jungian Approach: Jungian Approach: Jung is also an influential force in myth (archetypal) criticism. Psychological critics are generally concerned with his concept of the process of individuation (the process of discovering what makes one different form everyone else). Jung is also an influential force in myth (archetypal) criticism. Psychological critics are generally concerned with his concept of the process of individuation (the process of discovering what makes one different form everyone else). Jung labeled three parts of the self: the shadow, or the darker, unconscious self (usually the villain in literature); Jung labeled three parts of the self: the shadow, or the darker, unconscious self (usually the villain in literature); the persona, or a man's social personality (usually the hero); the persona, or a man's social personality (usually the hero); and the anima, or a man's "soul image" (usually the heroine). and the anima, or a man's "soul image" (usually the heroine). A neurosis occurs when someone fails to assimilate one of these unconscious components into his conscious and projects it on someone else. The persona must be flexible and be able to balance the components of the psyche. A neurosis occurs when someone fails to assimilate one of these unconscious components into his conscious and projects it on someone else. The persona must be flexible and be able to balance the components of the psyche.

6 Psychoanalysts assume that the unconscious exists and that texts contain and reveal (indirectly) the unconscious feelings, desires, aggressions of a writer or speaker or culture. A reader's interpretation can also be studied to reveal a reader's unconscious desires, anxieties, etc. For example, asking you to tell me which fairy tale character you identify with may reveal some kind of psychological concern or preoccupation. In other words, we want to satisfy our desires, but we can't because they are socially unacceptable. As a result, we repress those unacceptable desires and impulses. However, we can never fully repress our cravings, and they are expressed when we interact with people, talk, or write. Your Task To read through a psychoanalyst's lens, you need to make visible and explain the author's (or a culture's) "symptoms," that is, unconscious desires, impulses, anxieties, fears, and pleasures. You also need to explain the source of those initial anxieties, and you need to explain which concepts are operating in a text. Texts give symbolic expression to these inner experiences. Your task is to turn the details of a text into symbols that reflect the workings of the unconscious. In this way psychoanalysis resembles structuralism in that you need to link the manifest content or "parole" with the latent content or the psychological "langue." Put another way, use the theory of psychoanalysis as a kind of "master discourse" to explain the literary text (this means that psychoanalysis is stands above or beyond the literary, not along side with it). You need to locate examples of defense mechanisms and how they function in a text. So, psychoanalytical vocabulary and concepts are important. An easy way to do this is to simplify what characters in the text want to accomplish, what they fear, and what makes them (un)happy. Then, look for "real life" sources of those desires, fears, and comfortable places. Look for symbolic manifestations of the family, personal history, and social structures. Focus on themes having to do with separation, loss, boundaries, coherent identity.

7 Psychoanalytic: To read through a psychoanalyst's lens, you need to make visible and explain the author's (or a culture's) "symptoms,“: What are the character’s unconscious desires, impulses, anxieties, fears, and pleasures? What is the source those initial anxieties? How do these ideas work in the text? Texts give symbolic expression to these inner experiences. How do the details of the text become symbols that reflect the workings of the unconscious? What are the characters repressing? What unconscious desires appear? Can you make an argument that any actions or beliefs or words have become a neurosis because a character has repressed something too long? Simplify what characters in the text want to accomplish, what they fear, and what makes them (un)happy. Then, look for sources of those desires, fears, and comfortable places. Look for symbolic manifestations of the family, personal history, and social structures. Focus on themes having to do with separation, loss, boundaries, coherent identity.

8 Be specific about FORM and CRAFT Consider how Metaphors Tone Point of view Imagery Paradox Juxtaposition Irony Influence the text AS A WHOLE Focus on Connotative Language Pay extra close attention to individual words and their multiple nuances, ambiguities, associations, allusion, metaphor, symbolism, etc. A FORMALIST looks at only the text and uses the style and structure of the text itself to make an argument about the text’s effect

9 Focus exclusively on "literary" concerns like narrative strategies and structure, setting, character, figurative language, allusion, rhyme, point of view, diction, syntax, meter, tone, etc. Explore the form or structure of the work. How do form and content work together? How does each little part connect with other little parts and how do they all connect with the whole?

10 "[The author] uses imagery, rhyme, and repetition to suggest that one must lose one's life to gain one's life.“ "A core theme in [the text] is the struggle between innocence and knowledge.“ "The battle between the universal and the particular is resolved in the form of the poem itself.”

11 Premise: most symbols in a text are Universal symbols, or archetypes, that have the same significance in many cultures. As a critic, you find these symbols Analyze and test them against the traditional archetype Decide what argument the author makes by using these symbols and About these symbols

12 Archetype: a symbol, usually an image, which recurs often enough in literature to be recognizable as an element of one’s literary experience as a whole. Another way of thinking about archetypes is to imagine that in some way it is possible to plot the important aspects of a story onto a graph. If enough points from several stories were plotted a pattern would start to appear. If one then drew a line that approximated the pattern that emerged in the points, that best fit line would be an archetype. No story perfectly matches the archetype, and some stories will diverge from the archetype more than others. Still, recognizing that a pattern exists can be a powerful tool in understanding and comparing literature. tm tm

13 The archetype is also a concept of psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. In this context, archetypes are innate prototypes for ideas, which may subsequently become involved in the interpretation of observed phenomena. A group of memories and interpretations closely associated with an archetype is called a complex, and may be named for its central archetype (e.g. "mother complex"). Jung often seemed to view the archetypes as sort of psychological organs, There are four famous forms of archetypes numbered by Jung: The Self The Shadow The Anima The Animus The symbols of the unconscious abound in Jungian psychology: The Syzygy (ie Adam and Eve) The Child (ie Arnold Shortman) The Superman (ie the Omnipotent) The Hero (ie Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter) a prototypical hero In many myths and folk tales, a hero is a man or woman, traditionally the protagonist of a story, le The Great Mother (manifested either as the Good Mother or the Terrible Mother) The Wise Old Man (examples: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Gandalf, Albus Dumbledore) The Trickster or Ape (examples: Brer Rabbit, Otto Rocket, Bart Simpson, Bugs Bunny)

14 Evaluation of an Example: Examines how a specific text compares with the archetype. The focus here would likely be in finding insightful variations from the traditional archetype and analyzing how these function. An examination of a text that simply pointed out how the narrative meets the criteria for a specific archetype would be flat and uninteresting. Textual Analysis: Since the archetypes offer insight into typical traits that are present in different types of writing, they are useful in explicating a text in the reader’s mind. By using the archetypal traits as a guide, select interesting or unique traits and discuss their function in the work. This could easily be applied to plot, characters, symbols, and setting.


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