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AP Literature and Composition

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1 AP Literature and Composition
September 16, 2011 Mr. Houghteling “It’s a Flex-day Friday, and because it’s Friday, you know what that means...”

2 “It’s great to be alive!”

3 Agenda Analysis of The Giving Tree using the different Literary Criticism perspectives

4 Literary Criticism – some types
Historical Criticism Archetypal Criticism Gender Criticism Marxist Criticism Eco-Criticism Reader Response Criticism

5 Archetypal Criticism (1)
Archetypal criticism argues that archetypes determine the form and function of literary works, that a text's meaning is shaped by cultural and psychological myths. Archetypes are the unknowable basic forms personified or solidified in recurring images, symbols, or patterns.

6 Archetypal Criticism (2)
These patterns may include motifs such as the quest or the heavenly ascent, recognizable character types such as the trickster or the hero, symbols such as the apple or snake, or images such as crucifixion (as in King Kong, or Bride of Frankenstein)—all laden with meaning already when employed in a particular work.

7 Historical Criticism (1)
Historical Criticism insisted that to understand a literary piece, we need to understand the author's biography and social background, ideas circulating at the time, and the cultural environment.

8 Historical Criticism (2)
New Historicism seeks to find meaning in a text by considering the text within the framework of the prevailing ideas and assumptions of its historical era. New Historicists concern themselves with the political function of literature and with the concept of power, the intricate means by which cultures produce and reproduce themselves.

9 Gender Critical Perspective
Gender interpretation focuses on relationships between genders, including patterns of thought, behavior, and power in relations between and within the sexes. For example, a gender reading of Cinderella may take into account the idea of power relationships between the men and women of the novel.

10 Eco-Criticism Eco-criticism is a form of criticism based on an ecological perspective. It investigates the relationship between humans and the natural world in literature, including how individuals in society behave and react in relation to the nature.

11 (the Haves vs. Have-nots)
Marxist Criticism Marxist criticism asserts that economics provides the foundation for all social, political, and ideological reality. Examining social groups and their influences is one of the most accessible ways to use Marxist criticism. (the Haves vs. Have-nots)

12 The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Storytime The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

13 Literary Criticism Circles
Meet in groups of four. Review the criticism your group has been given. Solidify your understanding of the criticism. Reread The Giving Tree, analyzing the text through the perspective of your criticism. Write down at least five observations or conclusions that your group has made relative to your literary criticism perspective. On the paper provided, record your group’s observations.

14 Homework Which school of criticism interests you the most? 
Write a short personal reflection about how the criticism affected your interpretation of the story. Which school of criticism did you find most applicable to The Giving Tree?

15 The Giving Tree – Gender Criticism
The female tree can be interpreted as Mother Earth, or simply a mother, sustaining the dominant male first with enjoyment and food and later with the means to provide shelter and transportation.

16 The Giving Tree – Marxist Criticism
When the boy is young, he is content simply to play with the tree: climbing up her trunk, gathering her apples, and sleeping in her shade. However, as he grows older, he becomes increasingly demanding of the tree’s resources. He is no longer content to enjoy the tree’s company, but rather he seeks the tree for financial and materialistic gain.

17 The Giving Tree – Eco-Criticism
Man is dependent on nature for survival: the man systematically destroys the tree in order to get what he wants in order to be happy.

18 The Giving Tree – Archetypal Criticism
The tree—with her branches, her trunk, and her apples—is the giver of life, reiterating the archetype of nature as provider for man.

19 Homework Which school of criticism interests you the most? 
Write a short personal reflection about how the criticism affected your interpretation of the story. Which school of criticism did you find most applicable to The Giving Tree?

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