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The paradigms and the possibilities…

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2 The paradigms and the possibilities…
Literary Criticism The paradigms and the possibilities…

3 DEFINITION … Literary criticism is the study, discussion, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Wikipedia rocks :)

4 Let's try again … "Literary criticism is the evaluation of literary works. This includes the classification by genre, analysis of structure, and judgement of value." Beckson & Ganz Ok, that's a bit better …

5 And again … "Literary criticism asks what literature is, what it does, and what it is worth." Encyclopedia Britannica Nice …

6 In my own words … Literary criticism is the method used to interpret any given work of literature. The different schools of literary criticism provide us with lenses which ultimately reveal important aspects of the literary work.

7 Why do we have to analyze everything????
Talking about experiences enhances our enjoyment of them. Talking about experiences involves the search for meaning which increases our understanding of them. Because Socrates said so: "The life which is unexamined is not worth living."

8 To further explain … Literary criticism helps us to understand what is important about the text its structure its context: social, economic, historical what is written how the text manipulates the reader

9 And there's more … Literary criticism helps us to understand the relationship between authors, readers, and texts The act of literary criticism ultimately enhances the enjoyment of our reading of the literary work

Biographical Marxism Feminism Historical Reader Response

11 But there are many more …
Author intention Biological Cognitive scientific Moralist Queer Socio-political Sociological Formalism Psychoanalytic Cultural Criticism Structuralism Post-structuralism Archetypal And so many more …

12 Literary Criticism Map
Where do the theories fall?

13 How do I know how to look through each literary criticism “lens”?
You need to understand the philosophy of the theory. Then you need to know what questions to ask of the literature.

14 The Author’s World Historical Approach
…is based on the idea that the events and culture of the time influenced the work. Biographical Approach …is based on the idea that the writer’s life and intentions influenced the work. Questions: Is the method of composition indicative of the period? Is the subject matter representative of events occurring at this time? Questions: Does the work take on a greater significance because of the writer’s life? What were the writer’s intentions? Who was the writer’s audience?

15 Psychological Theories
The Marxist Approach …is based on the philosophy of Karl Marx, a German philosopher and economist. His major argument : whoever controlled the means of production to society controlled the society – whoever owned the factories “owned” the culture. The Feminist Approach …is based on the idea that the Western world is fundamentally patriarchal (created by men, ruled by men, viewed through the eyes of men, judged by men). Questions: What are the attitudes towards women that are both explicit and implicit? How do the literary conventions(happy ending for example) bring to light assumptions about women? Questions: Do the economic tensions in the text represent those in society? Does the text work to reveal the economic pitfalls of capitalism?

16 The Audience Reader Response
… is based on the idea that the text affects the reader. The reader learns as much about himself as he does about the text. Questions: What is the predominate affect the text had on you? What does your response tell you about yourself?

17 Feminist Perspective Consider: …the potentially misogynist theme of abused-girl-waiting-to-be-rescued-by-prince. ‘’’the values conveyed in the portrayal of the “good girl” as physically beautiful and the “wicked girls” as physically ugly. …the fact that the “good girl” is passive, weak, and submissive and can do nothing (and does do nothing) to improve her own condition. The fact that the powerful woman is portrayed as wicked ( and probably ugly)

18 Let’s get our “feet wet”
Examining Cinderella Discuss the women their roles and the perception of women in Cinderella.

19 Examine the potentially misogynist theme of the courtship ritual of the prince’s ball:
By what standard (other than physical beauty) will he choose whom to marry? Will the chosen woman have a choice in whether of not to marry the prince? What is the basis of the prince’s “love at first sight” with Cinderella?

20 Now what would a Marxist say about the story?
What role do money play? and the hierarchy of society?

21 The Marxist Perspective
Consider: …that Cinderella is a representative of the proletariat (working class) … that she is oppressed by her bourgeoisie stepmother and stepsisters, who have stolen her rightful inheritance and turned her into a servant in her own home. … that she desires to join that ranks of the bourgeoisie by marrying the prince. …the ball gown, glass sippers, and golden coach as evidence of commodification; without these possessions, Cinderella cannot hope to rise out of the proletariat and join the bourgeoisie

22 Upon seeing an orange What weather patterns and harvesting methods at the time influenced the orange? Was the orange a favorite fruit of the grower? What possibilities are available to a woman who eats the orange? to a man? Who owns the orange? Who gets to eat it? What does the orange taste like? What does the orange remind us of? Historical theory asks: Biographical theory asks: Feminist theory asks: Marxist theory asks: Reader Response theory asks:

23 There are so many possible answers …
What does this literary work mean? Different approaches or lenses help us to discover rich and deeper meaning. Each lens has its strengths and weaknesses. Each lens is valuable. Try to become a pluralist rather than an inflexible supporter of one

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