Gn feminist criticism

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  • 1. FEMINIST CRITICISM The Basics
  • 2. GUYS, BEFORE YOU GO TO SLEEP… • What we’re talking about today is POWER and who has it.
  • 3. A DEFINITION • Feminist criticism is concerned with "...the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforce or undermine the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women" (Tyson).
  • 4. WHAT IT MEANS • Gender issues play a part in every aspect of human production and experience, including the production and experience of literature, whether we are consciously aware of these issues or not. • Feminist criticism looks at what role gender plays in a story.
  • 5. QUESTIONS FEMISIST CRITICS ASK: • Who has power? Who does not? • What is being said about gender? • What is considered masculine in this story? Feminine? • Who has a voice? Who does not? • Overall, what is being said about males & females in this text? • How do the elements of the story, the elements of style, illustrate this point?
  • 6. EXAMPLES OF LEADING LADIES
  • 7. JANE EYRE (1847) • Follows a young woman coming to adulthood as she falls in love with her boss, Mr. Rochester. • One of the earliest representations of an individualistic, passionate and complex female character, Jane Eyre knocks our socks off. Though she suffers greatly, she always relies on herself to get back on her feet — no wilting damsel in distress here. As China Miéville wrote, “Charlotte Brontë’s heroine towers over those around her, morally, intellectually and aesthetically; she’s completely admirable and compelling. Never camp, despite her Gothic surrounds, she takes a scalpel to the skin of the every day.” • Note that the story was titled Jane Eyre, not Mr. Rochester.
  • 8. THE SCARLET LETTER () • Though Hester Prynne, who is condemned by her Puritan neighbors for having a child out of wedlock, is sometimes seen as a victim, she manages to survive with dignity and faith throughout, which we think makes her pretty darn powerful. NPR has described her as being “among the first and most important female protagonists in American literature. She’s the embodiment of deep contradictions: bad and beautiful, holy and sinful, conventional and radical… [she] can be seen as Hawthorne’s literary contemplation of what happens when women break cultural bounds and gain personal power.”
  • 9. HARRY POTTER (1997+) • In the Harry Potter books, Hermione starts as an insufferable know-itall, blossoms into a whip-smart beauty who doesn’t suffer fools (except Ron), and ends up as the glue that holds the whole operation together. Hermione’s steadfastness and sheer intelligence (plus the fact that she’s the only one who has ever read Hogwarts: A History) save her two best friends time and time again, and she’s the only one of the three never to wholly break down in a crisis. Intelligence often translates into strength, but only when wielded by a steady hand — and Hermione just happens to have both, and compassion to boot. That’s our kind of girl.
  • 10. THE HUNGER GAMES (2008) • Sure, Katniss has her boy-related waffling and wailing, but any girl who can shoot like that deserves a place on this list. Not to mention the fact that she survived not one but two 24-person fights to the death, one of which was designed specifically to kill her. Just saying.