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Literary Analysis Ms. Bailey English 12. Literary theories are like different lenses on a camera. Your job is to choose a lens, then picture your novel.

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Presentation on theme: "Literary Analysis Ms. Bailey English 12. Literary theories are like different lenses on a camera. Your job is to choose a lens, then picture your novel."— Presentation transcript:

1 Literary Analysis Ms. Bailey English 12

2 Literary theories are like different lenses on a camera. Your job is to choose a lens, then picture your novel through it.

3 Literary Theory 1: Deconstruction Language is not stable; we can never exactly say what we mean. Literature cannot give a reader any one single meaning, language is too ambiguous. Literature cannot provide any outside meaning; texts cannot represent reality. A deconstructionist critic will emphasize the ambiguities of the language and the variety of meanings and possible readings of a text.

4 Example Questions for Analyzing a Text Through Deconstruction What oppositional pairs are found in the novel? What happens if we reverse them? Is it possible that the author doesn’t want us to believe _____’s story? What is left unsaid? What tensions/oppositions are in the story?

5 Example Text Beowulf Grendel vs. Beowulf

6 Literary Theory 2: Feminist Criticism Tries to correct predominantly male- dominated critical perspective with a feminist consciousness; places literature in a social context. Feminist theories also attempt to understand representation from a woman’s point of view (and roles of women) and analyze women’s writing strategies in the context of their social conditions.

7 Example Questions for Feminist Criticism How are males and females presented in the novel? How does the novel portray men and the effects they have on the women’s lives? What types of relationships do they have? How do boys and girls perceive the males and females in the novel? Stereotypes? What if _______ was male (or female)? Does it matter that the author is a man (or woman)?

8 Example Text Macbeth Cinderella

9 Literary Theory 3: Marxist Criticism Deriving from the theories of Karl Marx, Marxist critics insist that all use of language is influenced by social class and economics; all language makes ideological statements about things like class, economics, race, and power; the function of literary output is to either support or criticize the political and economic structures in place.

10 Example Questions for Marxist Criticism Who has the power in this story? The money? Who does not? What happens to those with/without power/money? What gives characters power?

11 Example Text Animal Farm Hunger Games

12 Literary Theory 4: Critical Race This is a framework that can be used to theorize, examine, and challenge the ways race and racism implicitly and explicitly impact on social structures, practices, and discourses. Three tenets: counter- storytelling; property ownership in the US and the privileging of Whites as a racial group; the continued manifestation of racism in contemporary society.

13 Example Questions for Critical Race Theory How are different racial groups portrayed in the story? Whose values are being presented? Promoted? Whose interests are being served in the story? Who is presented as “normal”? Who isn’t? Why? Who gets to tell their story?

14 Example Text To Kill A Mockingbird The Help

15 Literary Theory 5: New Historicism Focuses on the text as part of a larger social and historical context and the reader’s interaction with that work. Attempts to describe the culture of a period by paying attention to many dimensions of a culture (political, social, economic, aesthetic, etc); texts are not simply a reflection of the culture that produced them, but also as productive

16 New Historicism Cont. …of that culture by playing an active role in the social and political conflicts of an age; acknowledges and explores various versions of “history;” the history on which we choose to focus is colored by our present perspective.

17 Example Questions for New Historicism What view of history is proposed? What was going on during the time period this novel was written? What view of history is proposed? How is it presented? Why did the author choose to tell the story this way?

18 Example Text for New Historicism The Crucible by Arthur Miller Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

19 Literary Theory 6: Border (Culture) Studies The dialogue and exchange among groups of people from different ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds; “multiple acculturation,” the incorporation of different heritages into the identity development process; studies the intersection of cultures and the resulting

20 Border Studies Cont. …effects; Four tenets: both feet in two groups; shifting of foreground and background identities to cross borders defined by race and ethnicity; new or revised identities by sitting on a border; camping in one cultural group for an extended period of time (root)

21 Example Questions for Border Studies How do cultural influences effect the story? Do we have any resistance to reading this text? What do we share in common with the characters?

22 Example Texts The Merchant of Venice Coming to America Talladega Nights

23 Literary Theory 7: Black Feminist A process of inquiry by which scholars and critics read, analyze, and theorize about literary works by black women writers and texts in general, regardless of the race, ethnicity, or gender of the author; a way to critique and challenge notions of womanhood, whiteness, blackness, and “Americanness”; posing questions about race and gender issues

24 Example Questions for Black Feminist Theory How do marginalized characters: (1) redefine, revise, reverse, and resist stereotypes, beauty standards, notions of motherhood, womanhood, and education (2) exercise subjectivity and voice by telling their own stories (3) recognize the intersectionality of race, class, and gender, as marginalized people are often multiply oppressed (4) find strength in

25 Questions Cont. Community, sisterhood, and brotherhood through an understanding of the importance of relationships (5) advocate social action and political intent in an effort to improve social conditions

26 Example Texts A Raisin in the Sun To Kill A Mockingbird Their Eyes Were Watching God

27 Literary Theory 8: Reader Response Removes the focus from the text and places it on the reader instead, by attempting to describe what goes on in the reader’s mind during reading, not a “correct” interpretation or what the author intended; the reader’s individual experience with the text. There is no single definitive reading of a text; this

28 Reader Response Cont. …approach is not a rationale for bizarre meanings or mistaken ones; calls attention to how we read and what influences our readings, and what that reveals about ourselves

29 Example Questions for Reader Response What personal experiences does this text remind you of? What aspects of the story gave you a chance to reflect? What connections did you find yourself making with other stories you know? Can you make connections to bigger issues in school, the community, or the world?

30 Literary Theory 9: Rhetorical Studies Studies why a work affects us the way it does and takes into account the role of the reader and the positioning of the reader relative to the author’s manipulations of the text

31 Example Questions for Rhetorical Studies Is the narrator reliable? Who is doing the telling? Is he/she believable? What is emphasized in the text? Are there clues as to what is more important in a text? What are the values of the narrator? The author?

32 Example Text Grendel “Porphyria’s Lover” “My Last Duchess”

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