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Ewrt 1 c class 4
Ewrt 1 c class 4
Ewrt 1 c class 4
Ewrt 1 c class 4
Ewrt 1 c class 4
Ewrt 1 c class 4
Ewrt 1 c class 4
Ewrt 1 c class 4
Ewrt 1 c class 4
Ewrt 1 c class 4
Ewrt 1 c class 4
Ewrt 1 c class 4
Ewrt 1 c class 4
Ewrt 1 c class 4
Ewrt 1 c class 4
Ewrt 1 c class 4
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Ewrt 1 c class 4

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  • 1. EWRT1C Class 4
  • 2. AGENDA • Lecture: Lecture: Introduction to Theory of Literature (part 2). Discussion: Literary Theory
  • 3. Review: Introduction to Literary Theory • Literary theory is a tool box of strategies to help us read, interpret, and understand the many facets of a literary work. The ideas used in theory act as different lenses we can use to view and talk about art, literature, and even culture. These diverse lenses give us new ways to consider works of art based on certain hypotheses and conventions within that school of theory. They also allow us to focus on particular aspects of a work we consider important.
  • 4. Review of Theoretical Approaches • Formalism and New Criticism • Marxism and Critical Theory • Structuralism and Poststructuralism (Deconstruction) • New Historicism and Cultural Materialism • Ethnic Studies and Postcolonial Criticism • Gender Studies and Queer Theory • Cultural Studies • Psychoanalytical Criticism – Trauma Theory • Feminist Criticism
  • 5. Discuss your ideas about feminist theory, deconstruction, and Psychoanalytic theory In Groups
  • 6. Poststructuralism/Deconstruction Deconstruction was inaugurated by Jacques Derrida in the late 1960s and became a major influence on literary studies during the late 1970s; yet, many students and faculty alike continue to misperceive deconstruction as a superficial analysis of wordplay that destroys our appreciation of literature and our ability to interpret it meaningfully. Perhaps one reason deconstruction is frequently misunderstood is that the writing by some of the biggest names in the field— Jacques Derrida, Luce Irigaray, Geoffrey Hartman— as well as the explanations offered by those who attempt to summarize the work of these thinkers, frequently employ such unusual language and organizational principles that they seem to defy our understanding and acceptance. Nevertheless, deconstruction has a good deal to offer us: it can improve our ability to think critically and to see more readily the ways in which our experience is determined by ideologies of which we are unaware because they are “built into” our language. And because deconstruction offers these advantages, it can be a very useful tool for Marxism, feminism, and other theories that attempt to make us aware of the oppressive role ideology can play in our lives. (Tyson)
  • 7. Typical Questions by deconstructive critics 1. How can we use the various conflicting interpretations a text produces (the ―play of meanings‖) or find the various ways in which the text doesn’t answer the questions it seems to answer, to demonstrate the instability of language and the undecidability* of meaning? 2. What ideology does the text seem to promote—what is its main theme—and how does conflicting evidence in the text show the limitations of that ideology? We can usually discover a text’s overt ideological project by finding the binary opposition(s) that structure the text’s main theme(s). *To reveal a text’s undecidability is to show that the “meaning” of the text is really an indefinite, undecidable, plural, conflicting array of possible meanings and that the text, therefore, has no meaning, in the traditional sense of the word, at all.
  • 8. Feminist Criticism Broadly defined, feminist criticism examines the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforces or undermines the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women. However, just as the practitioners of all critical theories do, feminist critics hold many different opinions on all of the issues their discipline examines. In fact, some feminists call their field feminisms in order to underscore the multiplicity of points of view of its adherents and offer ways of thinking that oppose the traditional tendency to believe there is a single best point of view. Yet many of us who are new to the study of feminist theory, both male and female, have decided ahead of time that we are not feminists because we don’t share whatever feminist point of view we have found the most objectionable. In other words, before we even come to the theory classroom, many of us have reduced feminism to whatever we consider its most objectionable element and, on that basis, have rejected it. This attitude reveals, I think, the oversimplified, negative view of feminism that still persists in American culture today. For it is from the culture at large—the home, the workplace, the media, and so on—that we have gathered the antifeminist bias we sometimes bring into the classroom. (Tyson 83)
  • 9. Typical Questions Asked by Feminist Critics 1. What does the work reveal about the operations (economically, politically, socially, or psychologically) of patriarchy? How are women portrayed? How do these portrayals relate to the gender issues of the period in which the novel was written or is set? In other words, does the work reinforce or undermine patriarchal ideology? (In the first case, we might say that the text has a patriarchal agenda. In the second case, we might say that the text has a feminist agenda. Texts that seem to both reinforce and undermine patriarchal ideology might be said to be ideologically conflicted.) 2. What does the work suggest about the ways in which race, class, and/or other cultural factors intersect with gender in producing women’s experience? 3. How is the work ―gendered‖? That is, how does it seem to define femininity and masculinity? Does the characters’ behavior always conform to their assigned genders? Does the work suggest that there are genders other than feminine and masculine? What seems to be the work’s attitude toward the gender(s) it portrays? For example, does the work seem to accept, question, or reject the traditional view of gender? 4. What does the work imply about the possibilities of sisterhood as a mode of resisting patriarchy and/or about the ways in which women’s situations in the world—economic, political, social, or psychological—might be improved?
  • 10. 5. What does the history of the work’s reception by the public and by the critics tell us about the operations of patriarchy? Has the literary work been ignored or neglected in the past? Why? Or, if recognized in the past, is the work ignored or neglected now? Why? 6. What does the work suggest about women’s creativity? In order to answer this question, biographical data about the author and historical data about the culture in which she lived will be required. 7. What might an examination of the author’s style contribute to the ongoing efforts to delineate a specifically feminine form of writing (for example, écriture féminine)? 8. What role does the work play in terms of women’s literary history and literary tradition? (Tyson 120) Feminist questions continued
  • 11. Psychoanalytical Criticism • If we take the time to understand some key concepts about human experience offered by psychoanalysis, we can begin to see the ways in which these concepts operate in our daily lives in profound rather than superficial ways, and we’ll begin to understand human behaviors that until now may have seemed utterly baffling. And, of course, 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. The concepts we’ll discuss are based [largely] on the psychoanalytic principles established by Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), whose theory of the psyche often is referred to today as classical psychoanalysis. We must remember that Freud evolved his ideas over a long period of time, and many of his ideas changed as he developed them. In addition, much of his thinking was, as he pointed out, speculative, and he hoped that others would continue to develop and even correct certain of his ideas over time. (Tyson 12)
  • 12. Typical Questions by New Critics 1. How does the work use imagery to develop its own symbols? (i.e. making a certain road stand for death by constant association) 2. What is the quality of the work's organic unity "...the working together of all the parts to make an inseparable whole..." (Tyson 121)? In other words, does how the work is put together reflect what it is? 3. How are the various parts of the work interconnected? 4. How do paradox, irony, ambiguity, and tension work in the text? 5. How do these parts and their collective whole contribute to or not contribute to the aesthetic quality of the work? 6. How does the author resolve apparent contradictions within the work? 7. What does the form of the work say about its content? 8. Is there a central or focal passage that can be said to sum up the entirety of the work? 9. How do the rhythms and/or rhyme schemes of a poem contribute to the meaning or effect of the piece?
  • 13. Typical questions psychoanalytic critics ask 1. How do the operations of repression structure or inform the work? That is, what unconscious motives are operating in the main character(s); what core issues are thereby illustrated; and how do these core issues structure or inform the piece? (Remember, the unconscious consists of repressed wounds, fears, unresolved conflicts, and guilty desires.) 2. Are there any oedipal dynamics—or any other family dynamics—at work here? That is, is it possible to relate a character’s patterns of adult behavior to early experiences in the family as represented in the story? How do these patterns of behavior and family dynamics operate and what do they reveal? 3. How can characters’ behavior, narrative events, and/or images be explained in terms of psychoanalytic concepts of any kind (for example, regression, crisis, projection, fear of or fascination with death, sexuality—which includes love and romance as well as sexual behavior—as a primary indicator of psychological identity, or the operations of ego-id-superego)?
  • 14. Psychoanalytic 4. In what ways can we view a literary work as analogous to a dream? That is, how might recurrent or striking dream symbols reveal the ways in which the narrator or speaker is projecting his or her unconscious desires, fears, wounds, or unresolved conflicts onto other characters, onto the setting, or onto the events portrayed? Symbols relevant to death, sexuality, and the unconscious are especially helpful. Indeed, the use of dream symbols can be very useful in interpreting literary works, or passages thereof, that seem unrealistic or fantastic, in other words, that seem dreamlike. 5. What does the work suggest about the psychological being of its author? Although this question is no longer the primary question asked by psychoanalytic critics, some critics still address it, especially those who write psychological biographies (psychobiographies). In these cases, the literary text is interpreted much as if it were the author’s dream. Psychoanalyzing an author in this manner is a difficult undertaking, and our analysis must be carefully derived by examining the author’s entire corpus as well as letters, diaries, and any other biographical material available. Certainly, a single literary work can provide but a very incomplete picture.
  • 15. Psychoanalytic 6. What might a given interpretation of a literary work suggest about the psychological motives of the reader? Or what might a critical trend suggest about the psychological motives of a group of readers (for example, the tendency of literary critics to see Willy Loman as a devoted family man and ignore or underplay his contribution to the family dysfunction)? 7. In what ways does the text seem to reveal characters’ emotional investments in the Symbolic Order, the Imaginary Order, the Mirror Stage, or what Lacan calls objet petit a? Does any part of the text seem to represent Lacan’s notion of the Real? Do any Lacanian concepts account for so much of the text that we might say the text is structured by one or more of these concepts?
  • 16. Homework • Review the reading and theories we have covered this week.

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