Presentation on theme: "8 CRITICAL APPROACHES FOR STUDYING LITERATURE"— Presentation transcript:
1 8 CRITICAL APPROACHES FOR STUDYING LITERATURE Biographical – Focuses on connection of work to an author’s personal experiencesHistorical – Focuses on connection of the work to the historical background and period in which the text was written.Formalistic – Focuses on form. Analysis stresses symbolism, imagery, structure, and how parts relate to entire work.Archetypal – Focuses on connections to other literature, mythological/biblical allusions, archetypal images, symbols, characters, themes.Psychological – Focuses on the inner motivations of the characters.Philosophical – Focuses on themes, views of the world, moral statements, philosophy.Sociological – Focuses on man’s relationship to others in society, politics, religion, and business.Feminist – Focuses on female characters, images of women, and concepts of the feminine in myth and literature.
2 Biographical Approach Analyzes the literary work by focusing on the author. It looks at the author’s background and how it impacted the literature.Considers the following:the author’s stated beliefsthe author’s personal life and experiencesthe values of the author’s contemporaries
3 Biographical Approach: Questions for Literary Analysis What aspects of the author’s personal life are related to or important in this story?Which of the author’s stated beliefs are shown?Does the writer challenge or reflect the values of his/her contemporaries?What appear to be the author’s major concerns?Do you see any of the writer’s personal experiences in the text?Do any of the events or characters in the story correspond to real events or people?
4 Historical ApproachAnalyzes the literary work based on the historical time period in which the work was written. Considers the historical conditions and how this context impacted the literature.Considers the following:time period of the writing and/or settingliterature of the timeattitudes and beliefs of a society, especially related to race, religion, politics, gender, society, and philosophymajor historical events, influences, or movementsprevailing societal values (and opposition to the values)
5 HISTORICAL APPROACH: QUESTIONS FOR LITERARY ANALYSIS How does the work (and how accurately) reflect the time in which it was written?What literary or historical influences helped to shape the form and content of the work?How does the story reflect the attitudes and beliefs of the time in which it was written or set? (race, religion, politics, gender, society, philosophy, etc.)What literary works, historical events, or movements might have influenced this writer?How would the writer’s contemporaries view characters and events in the story?Does the story show or contradict prevailing values of the time period?
6 Formalistic ApproachAnalyzes the literary work with its form, structure, and literary elements in focus. The critic looks at the structure and elements of the entire literary work.Considers the following:structure, elements, meaninghow the entire structure is unifiedliterary elements (including repetition, theme, motif, imagery, diction, syntax, plot, figures of speech, paradox, irony, symbol, characterization, plot, style of narration, tone, mood, etc.)
7 FORMALISTIC APPROACH: QUESTIONS FOR LITERARY ANALYSIS How is the work’s structure unified?What are the recurring patterns of words or images? What is the effect?How does repetition reinforce the theme(s)?How does the writer’s diction reveal or reflect the work’s meaning?What is the plot, and how do its parts produce a certain effect?What figures of speech are used? (metaphors, similes, etc.)Note the writer’s use of paradox, irony, symbol, plot, characterization, and style of narration. What effects are produced? Do these relate to one another or to the theme?Is there a relationship between the story’s beginning and end?How does the author create tone and mood? How do tone and mood affect the story at various parts?
8 Psychological Approach Analyzes literature by focusing on the psychology of the writer and characters. This approach evaluates the thoughts, motives, actions, development and subconscious of the characters.Considers the following:motivating forces, emotions, and dimensions of the mindconscious and unconscious behaviorsinternal and external conflictsapplication of Freudian or other psychological theoriestripartite self: id (basic desires), superego (morality), and ego (balance of id and superego)psychological disorders and dreams
9 Psychological Approach : Questions for Literary Analysis What forces motivate the characters?Which behaviors or conflicts are conscious and unconscious?Given their backgrounds, how believable are the characters’ behaviors?Are Freudian or other psychological theories applicable?Do any of the characters correspond to the tripartite self? (Id, ego, superego)What roles do psychological disorders and dreams play?What do the characters’ emotions and behaviors reveal about their psychological states?How is the writer’s personal psychology or unconscious dimensions of his/her mind reflected?
10 Philosophical Approach Analyzes literature by focusing on themes, view of the world, moral statements, and the author’s philosophy.Considers the following:Human natureMankind’s relationships with God and with the universeMorality, good vs. evilReward and punishment
11 Philosophical Approach : Questions for Literary Analysis What view of life does the story present? Which character best articulates this?What moral statement does this story make? Is it explicit or implicit?What is the author’s attitude toward his world? Toward fate? Toward God?What does the work say about the nature of good or evil?What does the work say about human nature?Is good rewarded? Is evil punished?Is the world ordered or random?
12 Sociological Approach Analyzes literature by focusing on man’s relationship to others in society, politics, religion, and economics.Considers the following:Economic power and moneyUrban, rural, and suburban valuesSocietal, race, gender, and class issuesSocial power and forcesGovernment structures and systems, such as dictatorship, democracy, communism, socialism, fascism, Marxism, etc.
13 Sociological Approach : Questions for Literary Analysis What is shown about economic or social power?Who has it and who doesn’t?What is the impact on characters’ lives?What role does money play?How are urban, rural, or suburban values shown?Are societal forces or issues (race, gender, and class) addressed?How do they shape power relationships between groups or classes?Who has power, and who doesn’t? Why?What is the relationship between the characters and society?Does it challenge or affirm the social order presented?Is the protagonist’s struggle symbolic of a larger class struggle?How does the story’s small world (microcosm) reflect the larger world (macrocosm) of the society in which it was composed?Do any of the characters correspond to government structures? What are the attitudes toward these political structures/systems?