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Introduction to Criticism

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Criticism"— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Criticism
Some Common Approaches to Literary Analysis

2 What is Literary Criticism?
Everyone knows how to summarize what you read- you tell the basic plot, characters, etc.

3 What is Literary Criticism?
Literary criticism is what you use to go beyond summary and into interpretation. Critical theories are methods of interpretation. There are many different ways to interpret a text.

4 Reader’s Response Criticism
You are already using the first type of criticism we will discuss. Reader’s Response Criticism is based on the idea that texts do not have a set meaning; meanings come from the reader and are personal.

5 Reader’s Response Criticism
Two different readers may have completely different interpretations of the same text. Likewise, a reader who re-reads a work later may find the work shockingly different.

6 Reader’s Response Criticism
Reader-response criticism emphasizes how the reader’s background (including gender, religion, nationality, etc.) affects interpretation.

7 Reader’s Response Criticism
Though this approach rejects the idea that a single "correct" reading exists for a literary work, it does not consider all interpretations correct. An interpretation must be backed up by evidence in the text.

8 Reader’s Response Criticism
Sample guiding question: How do the reader’s experiences influence his or her interpretation of the work?

9 Reader’s Response Criticism
The Lion King Example: Simba’s response to his father reminds me of my own relationship to my dad. . .

10 Formalist Criticism Formalist Critics focus on what the work means (theme) and how it conveys its meaning (form). Formalists believe that all the elements necessary for understanding the work are contained within the work itself.

11 Formalist Criticism Formalists look at the elements of form- style, structure, tone, imagery, etc.-that are found within the text. They try to determine how elements work together with the text's content to shape its effects upon readers.

12 Formalist Criticism Guiding questions: How is the author’s style effecting this text? What techniques are used?

13 Formalist Criticism The Lion King Example:
The director’s use of colors in the sunset help to show the changing mood of Simba. . .

14 Biographical Criticism
A biographical critic uses the information about the author’s life to interpret his or her view of the world and therefore his or her writing. Guiding question: How did the author’s life experiences influence what he or she wrote?

15 Biographical Criticism
The Lion King Example: The author lost his father when he was young, which provided the experience for the story. The author was trying to blame his loss on forces of evil.

16 Historical Criticism This approach looks at the social, and cultural context that existed when the work was written. A key goal for historical critics is to understand the effect of a literary work upon its original readers.

17 Historical Criticism Guiding questions: What was the purpose for this text when it was originally written? How does it reflect society?

18 Historical Criticism The Lion King Example:
The ceremony in the movie accurately represents the tribal ritual of the people of Zimbabwe. The Lion King shows the hopeful nature of the 1990’s when the economy was booming. . .

19 Gender/ Feminist Criticism
Examines how sexual identity influences text. Feminist criticism believes that the sexist, patriarchal attitudes that have dominated the world for centuries have resulted in literature full of male dominance and sexual discrimination.

20 Gender/ Feminist Criticism
Guiding questions: How are women treated in the text and why are they treated that way? How are the gender roles treated?

21 Gender/ Feminist Criticism
The Lion King Example: The movie marginalizes women. Why couldn’t Nala fight the evil? Where is Simba’s mother? Why did they need a man to save the day? This demonstrates the sexism inherent in modern literature.

22 Psychological Criticism
Psychological criticism has a number of approaches, but in general, it is the study of human behavior- whether that human is the author or the characters. It is the study of motivations for behavior.

23 Psychological Criticism
Some common things discussed in psychological criticism include the unconscious, dream interpretations, sexual motivation, the importance of childhood on adult development, neuroses, etc.

24 Psychological Criticism
Guiding questions: What caused the character to act a certain way or the author to write something as he or she did?

25 Psychological Criticism
The Lion King Example: When Simba looses his father he shows classic signs of depression… Scar is a narcissistic character…

26 Mythological Criticism
Mythological criticism studies myths and symbols common to different cultures, including various religions.

27 Mythological Criticism
One key concept is the archetype, "a symbol, character, situation, or image that evokes a deep universal response." Some examples of archetypes are the cross, and colors and what they tend to represent.

28 Mythological Criticism
Archetypal story patterns include various stories of the creation of man, and stories about common social situations, like a first love.

29 Mythological Criticism
Guiding question: What archetypes are present in this text? What is it saying about the universal experiences of men?

30 Mythological Criticism
The Lion King Example: Simba is a reluctant hero. He is Christ like in his ability to ward off evil and bring “salvation” to his kingdom.

31 In Conclusion Any of these critical theories can be used to interpret any given work. This includes novels, poems, short stories, song lyrics, movies, etc. There are also many more critical approaches and they go into great depth.

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