L04 literary theories


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Lesson on Feminist, Maxist & Psychoanalytical Criticism

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L04 literary theories

  1. 1. ·L.O: To focus on how to apply A03 – critical theory<br />
  2. 2. Agree or Disagree?<br />·A novel only means what the author wants it to mean<br />
  3. 3. Agree or Disagree?<br />·A novel has one definite meaning<br />
  4. 4. Agree or Disagree?<br />·A novel has lots of potential meanings but only the ones which the author intended are valid<br />
  5. 5. Agree or Disagree?<br />·A novel has different meanings for the people who read it at the time it was written than for people reading it a hundred years later<br />
  6. 6. Agree or Disagree<br />·Novels don’t mean anything – they’re just a story<br />
  7. 7. Is there only one way to read a text?<br />See things Differently – Toy Story<br />GhostBusters<br />Die Hard<br />
  8. 8. Death of the author.......<br />
  9. 9. Feminist Analysis<br />In groups you will have to read the notes on your theory and then produce a poster to present to the rest of the class, detailing what you have learned and teaching them your theory.<br />Marxist Analysis<br />Psychoanalytical analysis<br />
  10. 10. The struggle of women for social, political, and economic equality<br />What are feminists trying to liberate themselves? <br />Feminists believe that men are privileged <br />that women should fight for equality<br />
  11. 11. A Brief History of Feminism <br />- Mary Wollstonecraft – A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)<br />- Feminism 19th Century (First Wave) <br />Women’s suffrage<br />- Feminism – After WWI I (Second Wave) <br />Reproductive rights<br />- Feminism in the 60s and 70s – Modern Movements.....<br />
  12. 12. Religion<br />·Women clergy, rabbis<br />·Greater equality in participation<br />Economic/ Labor<br />·More women in the workplace<br />·More men at home<br />Language<br />·Ms. v. Mrs.<br />·Gender inclusive language (he/ she) (humanity v. mankind) <br />Effects of Feminism<br />
  13. 13. Feminism’s Goal<br />·Change the degrading view of women <br />·Help make all women realize that they are “significant”<br />·Make all women see that each woman is a valuable person possessing the same privileges and rights as every man<br />·Women must define their voices<br />
  14. 14. What Students Can See With Feminist Theory<br />·How students view female characters and deal with the author’s treatment of those characters<br />·How students evaluate the significance of the female in terms of her influence on the literary work<br />·How students decipher and manipulate patterns in text, especially with the treatment of women<br />
  15. 15. What’s Wrong With This Picture<br />·Feminist critics wish to show society the errors of ways of thinking concerning women<br />·Literature and society have frequently stereotyped women as angels, barmaids, bitches, whores, brainless housewives, or old maids<br />·Women must break free from such oppression and define themselves<br />
  16. 16. How To Apply<br />·The female psyche and its relationship to writing. Freud and Lacan are decent references.(hint, hint)<br />·Culture. Analyzing cultural forces (such as importance and value of women’s roles in a given society), critics investigate how society shapes a woman’s understanding of herself, her society, and her world.<br />
  17. 17. Feminist Literary Theory <br />Essential Questions/ Points: <br />-Develop/ identify female tradition of writing<br />-Interpret texts from a female’s point of view so it is not lost in the male’s <br />-“Rediscovering” older texts<br />-Resisting sexism in literature<br />-Increase awareness of sexual politics of language and style<br />
  18. 18. What Feminist critics do:<br />·(1) Rethink the canon—the accepted “greats” of all-time—to include women authors, poets, directors, actors<br />·(2) Examine representations of women in literature and film by male and female authors & moviemakers<br />·(3) Challenge representations of women as “Other”, as “lack”, as part of “nature” (whereas, men are part of “culture” and better than “natural” or “emotional”)<br />·(4) Raise the question of whether men and women are “essentially” different because of biology, or are socially constructed as different (subjugating women as “worse” than men in the important ways)<br />
  19. 19. A Feminist critic would analyze Twilight. These pictures depict her as: insecure, submissive, dependent, reliant, protected, main but lesser, sustained by, accessory, strong because of, empowered by, obedient, even slavish<br />
  20. 20. What women want..?<br />·Immortality<br />·Different/unique<br />·Romance<br />·Wealth<br />·Super physical powers<br />·Protection<br />·Being fought over (werewolf vs. vampire fight over Bella)<br />
  21. 21. An Important Suggestion <br />One does not have to believe in feminism to use it as a critical lens. <br />The bottom line is that it is a way of looking at texts from a different perspective, whether you are a male or female<br />
  22. 22. Marxism<br />Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) were the joint founders of this school of thought. Together they wrote The Communist Manifesto (1848). Marx claimed that a classless society will prevail – as capitalism replaced feudalism, socialism will replace capitalism leading to a classless society (pure communism). Marxists look for concrete, scientific, logical explanations of the world. <br />Marxist literary criticism is a loose term describing literary criticism informed by the philosophy or the politics of Marxism. Its history is as long as Marxism itself, as both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels read widely (Marx had a great affection for Shakespeare, as well as contemporary writings like the work of his friend Heinrich Heine). In the twentieth century many of the foremost writers of Marxist theory have also been literary critics, from Georg Lukács to Fredric Jameson.<br />
  23. 23. Marxist Criticism<br />An Introduction<br />
  24. 24. Marxist Critics<br />·Apply the economic/social principles and ideas of Karl Marx to film and the film industry. <br />·Believe that society is based on a dialectic (or conflict) between employers (capital) and employees (labor). The ruling class and workers struggle for economic power.<br />·Believe that the values of capitalism, such as the primacy of profit and consumerism, infuse all aspects of our society.<br />
  25. 25. Marxist Critics<br />·See the individual as a product of society’s value system (The individual is constructed by class and society.)<br />·Emphasize the role of class and labor as they analyze films.<br />
  26. 26. Society<br />·The beliefs, attitudes, and values of a society form an ideological base which influences the superstructure of a society, its laws, politics, religion, education, art, literature, film, urban development, etc. <br />·The ideological base influences the economic base of society, the way the society produces materials, the economic organization of a group: capitalism, socialism, barter and trade. <br />
  27. 27. Base and Superstructure<br />Base Ideology: system of beliefs, attitudes, and values<br />
  28. 28. Capitalism<br />·Capitalism is the ideological base of the United States and much of Western culture. <br />·Discussion: What are the values and beliefs of capitalism?<br />
  29. 29. Exploitation continued . . .<br />·Profit: driving force of capitalism; private investment and control of profit; money left over after fixed costs and labor costs; many make product (and earn wage); only one makes profit (net proceeds)<br />·Profit loss: Market saturation, lower demand for product, raise in fixed costs, raise in labor costs, a change in supply and demand can all “eat into” the profit.<br />
  30. 30. Exploitation leads to Alienation<br />·Alienation: a withdrawing or separation of a person or a person's affections from an object or position of former attachment <br />(Merriam-Webster Online)<br />·Discussion:From whom or what might workers feel alienated from?<br />
  31. 31. Employees feel alienated . . .<br />·From product: soul not in it; not sure what product is; no sense of “ownership” or pride in work<br />·From self: drug addiction; insanity; lower self-esteem; loss of identity; just a number<br />·From others: other employees; employers; family<br />·From time: 9-5; watch the clock; no rest or relax; clock in and out<br />
  32. 32. Marxist critics may also analyze . . .<br />·Marginalization of lower classes<br />· (placed at edge of society socially, economically, and politically)<br />·Violence between the classes<br />·Dehumanization of the lower classes<br />·How all the above is tied to race and racism<br />
  33. 33. How to . . .<br />·Look for evidence of how the values of capitalism influence the characters and society are represented in a film.<br />·Analyze the conflict between labor and capital in a film.<br />·Analyze the effects of capitalism in the film.<br />·Focus on working conditions of workers as represented in a film.<br />· Analyze exploitation of worker as represented in a film. <br />·Note instances of alienation in a film<br />·Note the marginalization of lower classes . .<br />
  34. 34. Key Terms<br />·Capitalism: the economic ideological base which values private ownership and profit for individuals<br />·Labor: employees, workers<br />·Capital: employers, owners, major investors<br />·Base: beliefs, attitudes, and values of a society <br />·Superstructure: laws, politics, education . . . which reflect the base<br />·Exploitation: the difference between the value of production and what a worker is paid by the owner<br />·Alienation: the results of capitalism on the worker; the separation between the worker and others due to exploitation on the job.<br />·Marginalization: placing lower classes and people of color on edges of society socially, economically, and politically<br />
  35. 35. Psychoanalytical<br />
  36. 36. Psychoanalytical Analysis<br />·What they do<br />·They give central importance to the distinction between the conscious and the subconscious mind. Therefore, the subconscious in a text is what it is really supposed to be about.<br />·They may pay great attention to unconscious motives and feelings in texts. (Consider anger, resentment, jealousy)<br />
  37. 37. Psychoanalytic Criticism<br />
  38. 38. The Rationale of Psychoanalytical Literary Criticism<br />·If psychoanalysis can help us better understand human behavior, then it must certainly be able to help us understand literary texts, which are about human behavior<br />·Psychoanalytical Criticism shows how human behavior is relevant to our experience of literature<br />
  39. 39. Freud’s Theories: The Origins of the Unconscious<br />·The goal of psychoanalysis is to help us resolve our psychological problems (called disorders or dysfunctions)<br />·Psychoanalysts focus on correcting patterns of behavior that are destructive<br />·One of Freud’s most radical insights was the notion that human beings are motivated by unconscious desires, fears, needs, and conflicts<br />
  40. 40. What is the Unconscious Mind?<br />·The unconscious is the storehouse of those painful experiences and emotions, wounds, fears, guilty desires, and unresolved conflicts we do not want to know about<br />·We develop our unconscious mind at a very young age through the act of repression<br />·Repression is the expunging of the conscious mind of all our unhappy psychological events<br />·Our unhappy memories do not disappear in the unconscious mind; rather, they exist as a dynamic entity that influences our behavior<br />
  41. 41. Family Conflicts<br />·The Oedipus Complex: young boys between the ages of 3-6 develop a sexual attachment to their mothers. The young boy competes with his father for his mother’s attention until he passes through the castration complex, which is when he abandons his desire for his mother out of fear of castration by his father. <br />·The Electra Complex: young girls compete with their mothers for the affection of their fathers.<br />·Freud believed all children must successfully pass through these stages in order to develop normally. Freud also believed that a child’s moral sensibility and conscious appear for the first time during this stage.<br />
  42. 42. Dreams<br />·Our defense mechanisms do not operate in the same way while we are asleep as they do when we are awake. This is why psychoanalysts are so interested in dream analysis<br />·When we are asleep, the unconscious mind is free to express itself and it does so in the form of dreams<br />·Dream displacement: when we use a “safe” person, event, or object as a “stand-in” to represent a more threatening person, event, or object.<br />·For example, dreaming about a child almost always reveals something about our feelings toward ourselves, toward the child that is still within us and that is probably still wounded in some way.<br />
  43. 43. The Meaning of Death<br />·Freud theorized that death is a biological drive which he referred to as the “death drive”<br />·The “death drive” theory accounted for the alarming degree of self-destructive behavior Freud observed in individuals<br />·Our fear of death is closely tied to our fear of being alone, our fear of abandonment, and our fear of intimacy<br />
  44. 44. The Meaning of Sexuality<br />·Sexual behavior is a product of our culture because our culture sets down the rules of proper sexual conduct and the definitions of normal/abnormal sexual behavior<br />·Society’s rules and definitions concerning sexuality form a large part of our superego. The word superego implies feeling guilty (even though some of the time we shouldn’t) because we are socially programmed to feel guilty when we break a social value (pre-marital sex, for example).<br />
  45. 45. The Meaning of Sexuality<br />·The superego is in direct opposition to the id, the psychological reservoir of our instincts and libido. The id is devoted to gratifying all our prohibited desires (sex, power, amusement, food, etc.) <br />·Because the id contains desires regulated or forbidden by social convention, the superego determines which desires the id will contain<br />·The ego plays referee between the id and the superego; it is the product of the conflict we feel between what we desire and what society tells us we cannot have.<br />
  46. 46. How to Read a Text using Psychoanalysis<br />·The job of the psychoanalytical critic is to see which concepts are operating in the text that will yield a meaningful psychoanalytic interpretation. For example:<br />·You might focus on the work’s representation of oedipal dynamic of family dynamics in general<br />·You might focus on what work tells us about human beings’ psychological relationship to death or sexuality<br />·You might focus on how the narrator’s unconscious problems keep appearing over the course of the story.<br />
  47. 47. Use the characters in the text!<br />·A great way to practice psychoanalytical criticism is to analyze the behavior of the characters in the text.<br />