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Critical Discourses in Away

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Presentation on theme: "Critical Discourses in Away"— Presentation transcript:

1 Critical Discourses in Away
Ways to read Michael Gow’s play Away

2 Feminist Criticism Feminist Criticism is concerned with the relationships between literary texts and the place of women in society. Given Coral’s and Gwen’s (two significant female characters) position within the play, a feminist reading could be made For example; Gwen is a stereotypical harassed housewife- she seemingly does “everything” for her family ergo she perpetuates the idea that women should embody the caring role in our society Coral is expected to behave a certain way by her husband, she is “saved” by males in the text, and her reaction to her son’s death is seen as emotional (compared to her husband’s logical reaction). Again this perpetuates gender stereotypes

3 Psychoanalytic Criticism
Psychoanalytic Criticism in concerned with the way in which literary texts represent the unconscious thoughts and desires shared by members of a culture Psychoanalysis is concerned with the fulfillment of desire and the ways in which characters in texts emulate this human notion Feminists can use psychoanalytic criticism as a method for reading texts, as males and females are stereotypically depicted as wanting different desires based on gender-stereotypes

4 Psychoanalysis in Away
Away can be looked at through a psychoanalytical lens in a few ways: Tom desires sexual fulfillment Roy desires for his wife to be “normal” Gwen desires for people to see her as important Looking at these desires alone can develop a psychoanalytical reading of the text Looking at the desires with gender stereotypes in mind can assist in a feminist reading of the text

5 Marxist Criticism Marxist Criticism is concerned with the ways in which literature maintains beliefs and values which support the ruling classes in society. As a play, Away can be viewed as supporting the ruling classes as its genre demands a certain amount of social status to be accessible to people (unlike cinema which is more affordable) This is only the case in terms of viewing professional performances of the play Gow presents multiple classes within his text and doesn’t appear to privilege the ruling class

6 Postcolonialism Refers to the ways in which texts and authors have played a part in the colonisation (literal or metaphorical) of particular cultures It aims to make writers and readers aware that all representations of people and cultures are shaped by particular historical and social perspectives Postcolonialism could be applied to Away to assist a feminist reading of the text in terms of the way that women have been metaphorically ‘colonised’ by men in regard to the expectations set upon them (as seen through Roy’s pressure on Coral to remain “normal”)

7 Postcolonialism cont…
Postcolonialism also applies, as no Aboriginal Australians are represented in Away This means that Gow is perpetuating the idea that Aboriginal people (the colonised) are the “other” and succeeds in unifying the “invading” culture (white colonists) Not only are white Australian families represented but each social class is shown, solidifying the idea that all white Australians are unified and Aboriginal families are very much the “other”

8 Postmodernism Is a broad term referring to both an historical period and ‘style’ in Western culture, based on the merging of artistic and industrial forms of production Postmodern texts can often be identified by the mixing of genres and a resistance to fixed or singular meanings The use of pastiche was widely used in postmodern texts Postmodern texts can be particularly difficult for readers who have been brought up with more traditional values and attitudes, due to the inherent multiple meanings underlying postmodern texts

9 Postmodernism in Away A postmodern reading can be applied to Away when considering Gow’s obvious inclusion of intertextuality and allusion to Shakespeare A lot of the deeper meanings in Away rely on a reader’s knowledge, and understanding of, Shakespeare, in particular A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream and King Lear Gow is not parodying Shakespeare, but rather using his work to pastiche Shakespeare’s as Gow is celebrating the work and “reinventing” it

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